Zubiri sets deadline vs illegal activities in Bukidnon

Zubiri, in a statement aired over radio stations in Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro City, directed his warning to the provincial police director and the local police chiefs.

“If you can’t stop these illegal activities, sad to say, I will replace you with those who can stop illegal gambling and other illegal activities in the province,” he said in the vernacular in his two-page paid appeal aired starting May 18.

Among the illegal activities in the province, he said, are gambling, peddling prohibited drugs, cattle rustling, illegal logging, land grabbing, white slavery and child abuse.

Zubiri's statement came three months after 421 church workers, including Bishop Honesto Pacana of the Diocese of Malaybalay, issued a pastoral statement denouncing wrongdoings in the province, including some of those cited by the governor.

Zubiri said it is possible that the illegal activities such as gambling can be stopped.

"With no buts by the authorities, this can done," he told reporters.

Zubiri reminded municipal and city mayors that if they cannot stop all illegal activities in their areas, they would be accountable to the people in the 2010 elections.

He appealed to radio listeners to report to him via text messages, telephone calls or letters any illegal activities or wrongdoings in their barangays.

Zubiri told MindaNews the appeal stemmed from the unsatisfactory performance of crime prevention and control efforts which he described as "satisfactory at the beginning but dwindling soon after".

He said he has also received complaints about the recurring illegal activities, prompting him to go on air.

His appeal on radio has apparently reached his target audience as he claimed he already received at least 80 reactions, through text and letters, from Bukidnon residents as of May 20.

Zubiri made public telephone and cellphone hotlines, recording calls from his constituents.

He stressed he is not accusing any particular police official or mayor of any wrongdoing.
"But their not putting a hand to stop the activities might be misinterpreted," the governor stressed.

He said he would use the public's reports as basis for appropriate action and also as grounds for dismissal of negligent officials. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)