Tackling Peace and Order in the City

Opinion Sideglance

Newly elected city mayor Benjamin Magalong made a commitment to come up with an innovative peace and order program for our city.

The commitment is part of his 10-point agenda that he campaigned for in winning the nod of the voters during the recent local elections.

Now how innovative the peace and order program will be is a matter that will have to be shown and implemented when Mayor Magalong will sit down in office as the chief executive of the city for the next three years, at the minimum.

But talking about the present peace and order of the city we have to appreciate the efforts of our policemen as well as those concerned groups and individuals in the barangays who contributed a lot in maintaining the peace and tranquility of the locality.

In fact just recently the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) was commended by the city for being recognized as one among the safest cities in South East Asia.

This is by no means a small feat and minor accomplishment for everyone concerned considering the effort expended in the collaboration and cooperation towards the achievement of that recognition.

Nonetheless our new city mayor believes that there is still room for improvement in this vital aspect of governance hence his promise for an innovative peace and order program.

We have to agree with that belief. Peace and Order is a very dynamic and fluid concept and situation especially considering that people are involved.

The more people in a community the more difficult it becomes to preserve and maintain peace and order. The City of Baguio at any given time of day can have somewhere between 300 to 350 thousand people occupying its landmass.

These people comprise both the locals and visitors with the latter further comprising local and international tourists. The City of Baguio is also home to people of foreign nationalities such as Koreans, Chinese, Africans, Americans and British to name a few.

This is a lot of people to be taken care off by the city government. With the ever present threat of terrorism even a peaceful city such as Baguio is not immune from such depredations and can become a target for these radical extremist groups or individuals once an opportunity will present itself which can be exploited by them.

In this light an innovative peace and order program for the city becomes a necessity, one that is adaptive, proactive and brutally efficient if the locality is to deter any type of terrorism  or other local crimes that will attempt to rear its head in the locality.

Relative to this the barangays have a vital role to play in the maintenance of peace and order in the city and at this early juncture it must be suggested that barangay officials should start identifying and recording all residents, whether permanent or transient, within their respective jurisdictions.

A computerized database of all their constituents, with their addresses, age, gender, occupation should be established by all of the 128 barangays and made available to the city government as a first step in their collaboration and cooperation for an innovative peace and order program that will be implemented by the new city mayor when he sits down as the chief executive of the city.