A safe Cebu
VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez (The Freeman) - July 14, 2018 - 12:00am

That Tuesday was unforgettable. We were just coming out from the Cebu City Hall after finishing an interview with newly appointed councilor Erik Espina when I received a phone call to proceed to the Archbishop’s Palace. Why? A man was killed inside, the caller said. How come? Find out, the voice prompted.  So I did. It was a shock. An armed man who was looking for the archbishop allegedly fired at policemen who were trying to pacify him. The church blessed his body and wished that the incident had not taken place; otherwise he would have still been alive.

A few hours later, a four-year old boy was carried by responding policemen asking for forgiveness after the boy was hit by a bullet during their operation. This phone call was followed by another. Barangay Kalunasan Councilor Roel Mabano was also shot dead point blank despite the many witnesses. That night more shooting incidents transpired and the following day too.

How safe is Cebu today? I’ve asked a few people and they said it isn’t safe anymore. Those who used to loiter in the streets at night now prefer to stay home just to be sure that they are safe. But even those inside their homes are potential victims of being killed for reasons we don’t understand. The authorities are swamped on how to solve these crimes. As one incident transpires after the other, all the more the investigation is delayed.

It is saddening to note that even residents don’t have the sense of security today with the many killings that occurred, despite the increase in police visibility by the new city director. She said she wants to imitate the pattern of Davao City, but I doubt the people here want the same pattern. Let’s give her a chance. She deserves it more than anybody else right now.

The church urged the public to pray for peace. But if you were to ask me, it will be more than asking for peace. We all need that discernment to think before we act and speak. We need a society today that is critical of what is happening and does not readily accept that killing a person who is tagged to be in the illegal trade has become normal.

The future of Cebu is very uncertain with the way things are. Can we change the way it is? With the many factors hounding the local and national government plus their quest for power, it can be very blurry. Yet as citizens we can stand up for what is right and wrong. We can choose to be critical thinkers, making sure our sympathy goes to those who deserve it more. We all want a safe Cebu, let’s make it one. A safe Cebu is a place where I can freely go where I want where I would not have to be in fear. A safe Cebu is a place where my heart lies; it is where I want to stay.

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