Oro biz sector tells police to improve intel work

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/20 September) — Business leaders here are alarmed over how the recent abduction of prominent trader Manny Boniao would affect the local business climate with some pointing out the ‘wanting’ intelligence gathering capability of the local police.

In a text message Tuesday, Ruben Vegafria, chair of Promote CDO Foundation and Northern Mindanao Regional Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council said the biggest challenge the local police is facing now is its capability in intelligence gathering.

“The kidnapping of Manny Boniao is a big challenge to the local police, particularly intelligence gathering. It will erode investors’ confidence and bring fear in the hearts of business movers,” Vegafria said.

Jaime Rafael Paguio, Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Oro Chamber) immediate past president agrees with Vegafria that the local police could do better by improving its intelligence gathering.

“Business thrives when investors feel they have a protective mantle over them. In order to maintain business confidence the swift and safe recovery of Mr. Boniao is anticipated. Proactive intelligence gathering is needed to prevent such incidents in the future,” Paguio, who also serves Oro Chamber as its trustee on manufacturing and industries sector, said in a text message.

Senior Supt. Gerardo Rosales, Cagayan de Oro City police director, said in an interview over a local radio station Tuesday that they are on top of the situation but could not divulge anything since the investigation is still ongoing.

“We checked the CCTV in the building but the cameras were wet and were defective kaya walang nakuha na usable data sa CCTV. The security guards have given description to our sketch artists and we already have the cartographic sketches of the suspects. Our manhunt for the suspects is still ongoing, especially in the neighboring towns of the city,” said Rosales.

“We have talked with the family and they have been cooperative so far. We cannot divulge anything yet since the investigation is still ongoing,” he said.

In a text message, Jerome Soldevilla, president of the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Industry (COCI) said: “It is a big blow to the city’s peace and order drive. Boniao’s reported abduction, though admittedly a relatively isolated case, brings a chilling effect that security is no longer guaranteed in this city. We hope this case is resolved with dispatch as we implore local authorities to intensify further its drive against lawless elements.”

Senator Aquilino Martin Pimentel III, in a text message, said the “kidnapping yesterday morning of (Boniao) raises vital concern of the city residents about the poor quality of the maintenance of law and order in the city and nationwide.”

“Aside from rescuing Boniao, local officials and PNP should manifest readiness to use strong arm of the law to prevent or respond to criminal challenges that undermine the security of our people,” said Pimentel.

For his part, Chief Insp. Reynante Royo Reyes, Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG 10) chief, said that crime prevention should not only be the police’s job but also the community’s in general.

“But I have confidence that the local police are doing its fundamental job to solve this case. Even our local government (is) working closely with other government agencies. Moreover, it’s an eye-opener once again to enhance our individual security, with the help of the law enforcement people and the media as well,” he said.

“We are on our exhaustive investigation right now with the PACER (Philippine Anti-Crime and Emergency Response). You cannot define intelligence only with that kind of perspective. Police intelligence (is) so discreet that you cannot feel it, but is working to impede major (crimes) in the city,” Reyes said in a text message Tuesday.

“Everything in the police force is working: patrols, police visibility, investigation, follow-up of cases, arrest of suspects and up to prosecution of cases in court. These are police mandates and every seconds count, police are watching the entire locality. Even you and your family. Crime is a social (phenomenon), but it can be prevented in many ways (e.g. good police undertakings, community’s cooperation, professional media participation, individuals assertions which are all equal to helping one another),” his text message added.

“Crime can be monitored, studied, and even minimized but categorically, crime can emerge anytime even without warning. Even how you lock your doors during the night, if the criminal has the will, opportunity and desire–crime occurs. Police are working so hard to stop the occurrence of crime.

“(Teachers) are working so hard to teach students but still there are morons. Media is working so hard as a medium for communication but still there are many [who are blind] blind to the truth of what is happening around them.

“Yes, poor intelligence contributes a lot of failures in police endeavors, accepted. But sometimes, it’s the responsibility also of the aggrieved victims to watch his or her back. To stop crime (is) everyone’s first lookout but is the mandate and responsibility of the police in general.” (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)