NEWS: “Tagum is safe, peaceful” – Police Chief Gunabe

Tagum City Police Superintendent Dario Gunabe has allayed fears of city residents saying that the city is generally peaceful and safe in the wake of the escalation of armed attacks staged by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front groups in Sarangani and Lanao provinces.

In Monday’s session of the city council where PSupt. Gunabe was one of the invited resource persons, he assured the Tagum public that the 100-strong city police force has been exerting all efforts in their continued vigilance to counter any terrorist threats in the city.

“We’re doing our best and always ready,” said the city police director, who was invited to shed light on the reported existence of the youth gangs who are preying on even minors and high schoolers in the city.

In his situationer, Gunabe informed the city council that the extent of the youth involvement in gangs in the city has not yet reached an alarming level adding that the problem is still manageable.

He bared that the police has already identified the gangs which he said operate yet in Tagum City Comprehensive High School while they are still identifying other gangs in schools at Madaum and Manga districts.

At least one case of a gang war near the Freedom Park had already been probed by the police at the recent.

He added though that the police could not apprehend gang members especially the minors or those below 15 years old as it is contrary to law unless they are on the process of committing or have committed a crime.

On the same session, he particularly called on the parents and the schools to take care of the children explaining that the “root cause” why membership in youth gangs increased is brought about by the failure to guide and take care the children at home.

But he said this should not be left unchecked as he called on all sectors in the city to address the problem adding that the teachers have difficulty also in addressing the problems on one-on-one basis owing to the high student to teacher ratio.

He said that the Dept of Social Welfare and Development has also great role in responding to this emerging problem of the city.

For his part, PSupt. Gunabe said he has also alerted his women and children desk to finetune ways in handling and the police referral system for youth offenders and delinquents.

The city police is also deploying police patrol that would regularly takes in its itinerary the identified places where youth gang members are reportedly grouping at nighttime, and has scheduled series of symposia in schools in schools in the city in coordination with the office of councilor Maria Lina Baura.

Several councilors also took turns in giving their respective proposals. Councilor Nicandro Suaybaguio Jr called for coordination with the school principals and administrators with the end view of inviting the identified student who are gang members and their parents and possible meting out of disciplinary actions such as student suspension and expulsion.

Meanwhile, Councilor and ABC president Alfredo Pagdilao has called on the city council for a passage of ordinance for the city government to make a 9:30 P.M. warning siren for loitering youths to be already at their homes before a proposed 10:00 P.M. curfew time for them (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

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