Guingona initiates joint peace council meeting

GINGOOG CITY — Mayor Marie Guingona initiated a joint peace and order council meeting on Thursday with the officials of the provincial government of Misamis Oriental at the Penthouse, City Hall, here.

Guingona’s initiative was prompted by the series of unsolved killings raising the number to 47 in the “City of Goodluck” which has tarnished such reputation to an alarming state after the recent slaying of former City Councilor Marc Anthony “Archie” Bagaipo, a former mayoralty candidate, here in 2013 Elections and a man of potentials for running the same position in 2016.

The joint meeting of the City Peace and Order Council (CPOC) headed by Guingona and Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) Chaired by Governor Yevgeny Vicente “Bambi” Emano, was attended by the officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Misamis Oriental, the 58th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (PA) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Northern Mindanao.

Preventive measures and the immediate resolutions of unsolved killings topped the agenda of the meeting with the PNP giving its assessment on the current peace and order situation of the province with emphasis on the alarming crime rate, here.

“Our city is known for its relative peace, despite the presence of rebels belonging to the New People’s Army in our hinterlands. But what’s alarming is the disturbance that transpired recently where a number of people, civilians got killed one after the other,” said Guingona who opined that both the local government and law enforcers – the military, the police and the PDEA cannot do it alone, but in unity and concerted efforts of the community that only then the situation can be addressed.

Police Inspector Ismael Virgil Gundaya, for the intelligence, investigation and operations of the Gingoog City Police Station, reported that based on the recent statistics for the past two months, out of the 38 unsolved killings 23 were illegal drug-related. These 23 crimes were also reflected by the PDEA’s statement that illegal drug trade and use are prevalent, here.

For the deterrent of such crime, Gundaya proposed for the passing of a resolution amending Republic Act 9165, otherwise known as the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,” suggesting for the imposition of stiffer penalties to both pushers and users.

“Illegal drug users should also be meted stiffer penalties because without the users, illegal drug trade will not become lucrative, and yet the penalty for the users is too light.”

Gundaya’s observation was agreed by Guingona and Emano who set aside their political differences for the attainment of peace and order, here.

Northern Mindanao PDEA Director Emerson Margate bared that as much as they want to conduct more operations against illegal drug trade, they only have limited logistics and they still have to ask from the PDEA central office for the purpose.

In recognizing the PDEA’s limitations, Emano immediately offered monetary assistance of one million pesos to support the PDEA’s efforts to conduct more anti-illegal drug operations, here.

Then, the joint peace and order council meeting moved for the drafting of the resolution to amend RA 9165. It will be endorsed to the Congress of the Philippines through Misamis Oriental Representatives Peter Unabia and Juliet Uy including Senator TJ Guingona.

Lor Villa Encenzo

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