GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/26 November) -The Filipino-Chinese business community here and in nearby South Cotabato province lauded local government officials, police and Army units based in the area for the swift recovery of a kidnapped Filipino-Chinese businessman in the city earlier this month.
In a resolution, the South Cotabato Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (SCFFCCCI) specifically commended city officials led by Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, City Administrator Jose Mariano Gonzales, the General Santos City Police Office, the Philippine
Army’s 1002nd Brigade and the Joint Task Force GenSan for being “instrumental in the early solution” of the William Go kidnapping last November 4, 2010.
The resolution cited the contributions of city police director Senior Supt. Cedric Train, Barangay San Jose chair Alfredo Belgica and Police Officer 2 Dante Sasi to the safe recovery of Go, who is a member of the SCFFCCCI.
At least four armed men seized Go inside his office in Barangay Dadiangas Heights here last November 4 but he was recovered three hours later by pursuing policemen and village watchmen led by PO2 Sasi at the outskirts of the city.
A police report said the kidnappers were forced to abandon Go at a portion of Barangay San Jose due to the mounting pressure from pursuing policemen, the village’s watchmen and other law enforcement units that responded to the incident.
Paul Gaisano, SCFFCCCI president, said Go’s abduction showed that “while the danger of kidnapping is still present, it placed more emphasis on the close cooperation between the victim’s family who reported the incident immediately to the authorities.”
He cited that the close coordination between the city government, the Philippine National Police, Philippine Army and various local government units resulted to the immediate release of the victim without the payment of any ransom.
In a press statement, Custodio said she has been regularly coordinating with the SCFCCCI, the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., other business groups and local peacekeeping and law enforcement units since assuming office last July to address the sector’s various concerns, especially on security.
“Our lines are always open for them and generally for other sectors and local stakeholders,” she said.
Following Go’s kidnapping and successful recovery, Custodio directed all local business, peacekeeping and law enforcement units as well as other concerned sectors to remain vigilant and urged the city council to expedite the passage of a proposed ordinance on the carrying of firearms within the city.
Two weeks ago, the city council passed a gun control ordinance, which set a ban on the carrying of firearms inside private and public establishments and imposed specific sanctions and penalties for violators.
The measure, which was authored by Councilor Dante Vicente, was passed “to reinforce the implementation” of Presidential Decree 1866 or basic firearms law and the declaration of the entire city two months ago as a “no firearms zone.”
In issuing EO 23, Custodio cited as main reason the prevalence of armed violence and crimes involving firearms in the city since January 2010 that has reportedly reached an alarming level.
“This is mainly to achieve a firearm-free city until such time as the security situation permits the introduction of an appropriate and effective ordinance regulating the possession of firearms within the city,” the mayor said. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)