Nearly three weeks since Dasmariñas City Mayor Elipidio “Pidi” Barzaga Jr. imposed stricter motorist security measure following the drive-by shooting incidents around the city which began to transpire on August 15, Mayor Barzaga confirmed that the imposed security protocols were effective in lessening crime.
In an interview with HERALDO FILIPINO, when asked if the No-helmet Policy has been effective, Barzaga said all implemented rules following the shooting incidents were effective resulting in reduced crime incidents, “Yes, No-helmet Policy plus the checkpoint. No crimes at night starting from each implementation.”
On August 24, Barzaga took to Facebook to announce the implementation of the Sangguniang Panglungsod Resolution No. 155-s-2017 with provisions like the 20-40 km/h motorcycle speed, random checkpoints, and the prohibition of face concealment among motorcycle drivers across all Dasmariñas roads except in Aguinaldo Highway, Governor’s Drive, and Paliparan-Salawag-Molino Road. This was after three people died and 13 were wounded in random shootings from August 15 to 23.
However, Barzaga said carrying out the checkpoints around the City wasn’t easy as he recognized that frequent and numerous checkpoints may cause traffic congestion, which may eventually prompt citizens to lash out on the municipality.
To avoid this, checkpoints were placed in “strategic areas” which were previously observed in the Salawag intersection, Bagong Bayan, and Paliparan, randomly inspecting motorcycles and cars.
“We transfer the checkpoint to different places para ‘di alam ng motorist na rito may checkpoint dito, iiwas tayo rito,” Barzaga explained. On the other hand, in cases when the No-helmet Policy might take its toll on the motorist such as during rainfall, Barzaga clarified that there has always been limits to every policy and the observation of the No-helmet Policy varies from “case to case.” Although the mayor didn’t explicitly clarify the exceptions of the policy, Barzaga furthered, “The law should not be applied harshly.”
On August 31, CALABARZON Regional Police Chief Supt. Ma. O Aplasca, deployed 100 policemen from the regional headquarters in Imus and Batangas to Dasmariñas City.
Barzaga said the police reinforcement is set to stay in the city until the emergency is no longer present, “We were provided by some policemen coming from the region in order to cope with the existing emergency. As to how long they will be staying there, then when the emergency is no longer existing I think, they will be going back to the region.”
The City police was earlier criticized by netizens for its policemen’s non-visibility across the city after the CCTV footage of an August 19 snatching incident of a certain Melanie Clomaat San Agustin II surfaced on Facebook. In the said video, the victim had her bag snatched by a man who quickly took off afterwards at around 4 in the morning.
On August 21, Barzaga posted on his Facebook page to clarify the situation as the city only has 220 policemen divided in different departments and sub-stations making it hard for them to be visible across the city.
“Dala sa kakulangan ng pulis ay kulang talaga sila para maging visible sa buong Lungsod ng Dasmariñas. Makikita lang ang police visibility sa mga strategic area,” Barzaga stated.
Moreover, Barzaga said the municipality plans to add CCTV cameras across major highways to enforce security before 2018. “We will be adding additional CCTVs, hopefully before the year ends, we will be having CCTVs in the entire Aguinaldo Highway coming from the boundary of Imus-Dasmariñas up to the boundary of Silang-Dasmariñas. . . in the entire stretch of Governor Mangubat and on top of that, starting from Kadiwa up to Area F.”
He added that the CCTV camera footage will feed in the community channels 2 and 3 for the locals to see and utilize the equipment.
Dasmariñas, which has an estimated 200 CCTV cameras across the City according to Barzaga, has also been criticized with the effectiveness of security cameras. In response, Barzaga in the same Aug 21 Facebook post concerning the snatching case of Melanie Cloma, refuted the netizens’ claim that CCTV cameras are “useless.”
“Hindi rin totoo ang sinasabi na useless ang CCTV. Kung hindi dahil sa CCTV, hindi natin makikita ang pag-snatch sa bag ng kanyang (woman victim) kapatid na si Melanie Cloma. Maraming krimen na nakikita sa CCTV. Hindi lang namin ito inilalagay sa Facebook sapagkat iniimbestigahan ito ng mga pulis at sinasampahan ng kaso ang mga kriminal,” the post read.
The City mayor also announced the reward of 500,000 to anyone who can provide significant information which can lead to the arrest of the riding-in-tandem perpetrators. However, information is yet to be disclosed as the investigation is still ongoing.
Meanwhile, Barzaga encouraged citizens to provide information to help curb the proliferation of criminals to the Dasmariñas police. “Any information leading to the apprehension of drug dealers, hold uppers, notorious criminals, are welcome, and they would be treated in the strictest confidence,” the mayor said.
Until the emergency is completely ruled out, Barzaga said Sangguniang Panglungsod Resolution No. 155-s-2017 will still be in effect. As of press time, he calls out to the citizens and Lasallians to take part in supporting the municipality’s pursuit to restore peacefulness in the City.
“In order to have an ideal peace and order situation, we have to have the support of our community, especially the students coming from De La Salle,” Barzaga said. With an interview by Yna Marisse Sodoy.