by Junelie Anthony Velonta | Feature Writer
From July 2016 to June 2018, there have been more than 23,000 recorded Homicide Cases Under Investigation (HCUI). HCUIs are murder and homicide cases combined. Drug-related killings are tallied differently since they are carried out by cops in the line of duty. According to Senior Superintendent Benigno B. Durana Jr., only around 2,600 of the 23,000 is drug-related.
If this raw data is analyzed, in the span of two years, 33 Filipinos are killed daily in average. However, according to the PNP data released publicly last July 1 and published by GMA News Online, the numbers have been boiled down to 3,435 cases of murder and 990 cases of homicide.
The PNP prides itself in the decreased number of cases in most of its “8 Focus Crimes.” For homicide, a decrease of about 2% in recorded cases has been observed. In average, there has been a 49% decrease in average for the focus crimes.
The same could not be said for the murder statistic, however. Comparing the June 2014 – July 2016 data with the June 2016 – July 2018 data, there has been a 112% increase in recorded murder cases. That is more than twice the number of the past record.
There has been an increase in killings in the country. While the bulk of it could not be felt in Dumaguete, the city has had its fair share of the incidents. Last April, the journalist Edmund Sestoso was killed by hitmen riding in tandem. Just this July, Artemio Molas Zerna was killed and Maria Cristina Rubio was injured through similar methods.
These seemingly random killings have to stop. While there is no tangible proof that these killings are directly or indirectly related to the president’s latest campaign against illegal drugs, a correlation could not be avoided that the recent increase in criminal killings is a by-product of the attempts of the national police force with subduing illegal drugs. That is not to say that the campaign against drugs has to stop. If these are indeed related, the citizenry needs to know. The police force and the government, having started the said campaign, should take responsibility in doubling their efforts to stop the killings. It is, after all, their responsibility.
The rising numbers are both a concern both for the police force and for the local citizen. Emphasis must be put on pinpointing the source of these killings. The protection of the citizen must be reinforced both as an idea for the officers in service but also for the unknowing civilian. To solve the problem, one must first acknowledge that it exists. The common folk must be informed of the situation but not in a way that would incite panic and confusion. Information must be provided on how to react to such situations and what to do during and afterwards.
For the common citizen, aside from the necessary physical alertness, one must be acquainted with the local political climate. While the sudden increase in killings these past two years may or may not be related with the president’s campaign against illegal drugs, knowledge and understanding of both the local and national issues must be maintained and updated.
Stay alert. Be safe.