CDO traders worried over bombings, criminality rise

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 26 Nov) – The spate of explosions, bomb threats and the general rise in criminality in this city have taken their toll on the local business community, especially the city-run Night Café and its downstream industry.

Jerome Soldevilla, president of the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Industry, said Monday the spate of bombings has affected the local business community’s trust and confidence with local government’s wanting performance in securing the city.

“The spate of explosion(s) in (the city) is really a major setback and we look forward for the speedy solution of these cases and this time, a more aggressive, relentless, (integrated) and sustained efforts of law enforcement agencies in crime prevention,” said Soldevilla.

“The city government must also exert more efforts now in proving that it is in control, otherwise the public’s confidence will erode,” he added.

This city’s information officer-in-charge, Ian Fuentes, said in a text message that City Hall has yet to issue a statement on the issue.

For his part, City Councilor Edgar Cabanlas said in a phone interview that the series of bombings will definitely slow down the entry of more investments in the city.

“The wait-and-see attitude has set in. It is the local government that will have to absorb the blame for not doing more to prevent these series of attacks,” said Cabanlas.

One of the more visible signs of how the spate of blasts has affected this city is the decrease of customers in this city’s “Night Café,” a local flea market at the town center, Divisoria, every Friday and Saturday evenings.

Even the downstream economy is also affected. A trisikad driver who wants to be identified only as Beryong, 42, has noted a decline in his passengers going to and from the Night Café.

“Before the bombing of Maxandrea Hotel and the grenade explosion near Camp (Vicente) Alagar, I used to have a lot of passengers but now it is becoming more difficult in even reaching my boundary,” Beryong said in the dialect.

Lourderico Pedimonte, a motorela driver for at least 25 years, said that there are lesser people going out at night these days. “Since the bombings, I have observed that there are lesser people going to public places in the city,” he said.

About 2 a.m. on Oct. 11, an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded by the entrance of Maxandrea Hotel, killing two onlookers and injuring two responding policemen. On Nov. 21 an MK2 fragmentation grenade rigged as a booby trap on the accordion-type door of Golden Sun Finance Corporation exploded when employees tried to open for business around 8 a.m., seriously injuring eight persons, including two of the lending firm’s employees.

Golden Sun Finance Corporation is located beside the entrance of the Police Regional Office (PRO 10) Headquarters, Camp Vicente Alagar in Barangay Lapasan, this city.

The Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (COCPO) has been receiving flak for its perceived inaction to the rise in petty crimes in the city.

Last week, Chief Supt. Gil Hitosis, police regional director, placed “floating status” Senior Supt. Gerardo Rosales, the city police director, and Chief Insp. Lemuel Gonda, chief of the Lapasan police station.

After the bombing incident in front of Maxandrea Hotel, Hitosis had ordered that should another bombing or similar incidents occur again, the chief of the police station will be relieved if the incident happens within its area of responsibility. (Cong B. Corrales / MindaNews)