Lawmaker declares ‘war’ vs gangs in Kidapawan City

Piñol made the declaration during his radio program "Gobyerno sa Maluntarong Agrikultura" (Government for Sustainable Agriculture) over dxND Radio for Peace on Monday.

He said residents who were alarmed by the stabbing incidents had sought his assistance.

The congressman said he had referred the problem to the Cotabato Police Provincial Office.

He said the gangsters usually show up during nighttime along major streets of the city.

In March alone at least five individuals were stabbed by suspected gang members while walking along the national highway. Two of the victims died.

A hot pursuit made by members of the Special Weapons and Tactics team of the local police failed to arrest the suspects.

Piñol said he will personally roam around the major streets of Kidapawan next week to monitor the activities of the gangs.

"I am very optimistic that we can solve this dilemma not by using force or any aggressive move," he said.

He claimed that when he was president of the Parents Teachers Community Association of the Kidapawan City National High School he was able to convince four major gangs to stop their criminal acts in exchange for livelihood and sport activities.

The gangs, identified as Ninga Paka, Kamandag, Stag and Barbwire, were reportedly engaged in various petty crimes, robbery and stabbing.

Piñol said he gathered all members of these gangs and brought them to a beach outing.

"We cannot win the hearts of these people if we apply force for them to reform. What we need is to patiently convince them to stop being involved in petty crimes by offering alternatives such as sports activities," he stressed.

He also appealed to city officials to help solve the problem by prioritizing the needs of the out of school youth in the city. (MindaNews)