ROUGH CUTS| Cockpit safety and security

ACCORDING to the City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) of Davao three weeks after the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao there is no more cancellation of bookings for events slated to be held in the city.

Yes, because there is nothing more to be cancelled.

But we agree that the cancellation of the previously planned holding of certain events in the city just because of the Martial Law declaration in Mindanao could be a “misperception” of those who are tasked to organize the affairs here. It could be some kind of a knee-jerk reaction.

Had they waited for a few days after the declaration they could have easily observed that there was nothing unusual in Davao City to merit entertaining some fear like it was during the years of the Marcos military regime.

However, no one really can blame those event organizers because it’s to their detriment if they gamble with the safety and security of their clients.

But just the same, Davaoenos would have been elated if the announcement of the CTOO about the stop of booking cancellations was followed by disclosures of the reinstatements of previously cancelled bookings and the coming in of new ones.

Unfortunately, none of those sort. So the CTOO announcement still leaves some chills in the city’s tourism sector.

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Councilor Edgar Ibuyan Jr. was quoted in a news item as saying that the City of Davao is serious in its desire to have all cockpits operating here in safest condition.  Ibuyan Jr. who is chair of the Council Committee on Games and Amusements, said during his guesting at the forum “Pulong-pulong ni Pulong” that a multi-office team is conducting inspections on the city’s cockpits to check whether these have complied with the building standards.

We appreciate this councilor from Bankerohan for making the initiative. Cockpits, as many are well-aware of, are patronized by the ever growing number of cockfight enthusiasts who are coming from all walks of life. And cockpit owners are doing everything that their Sunday and holiday cockfight schedules can draw bigger numbers inside the arena.

So, if indeed the city is serious in protecting the limbs, and of course the lives of cockpit patrons it is only proper that it has to make sure that cockpit buildings and facilities are far from dilapidated and can withstand the weight of people expected to come and gamble their money away.

But wait, maybe we have to remind the son of our good friend former councilor Edgar Ibuyan Sr. that his committee seems to be concerned only of one aspect of safety and security of cockpit habitués.

What about the aspect on safety and security of cockpit clients from attacks of terrorists or mentally-disturbed loser cockfight gamblers? After all we have no way of knowing if there are certain individuals in the city who might be suffering a state of mind similar to that of the lone attacker of Resort World Manila whose act resulted to the death of 38 people?

We strongly recommend to the younger Ibuyan to include the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) and the Central 911 in the team of inspectors. We are certain they can easily pinpoint the loopholes in that aspect of the safety and security of cockpits.

The local police can very well take care of spotting the areas of vulnerability of the cockpits from attacks of terrorists and other bad elements. The DCPO can also offer strategies to thwart any attempt by terrorists groups and related crime gangs to gain entrance to the crowded cockpits.

On the other hand, the City’s Emergency Response Group from the Central 911 will just be able to figure out the appropriate movements of people inside the cockpit should there be incidents attributed to terrorist action or simply by simple criminals who find satisfaction in perpetrating their acts in heavily crowded places like cockpits.

Hence, the city’s Central 911 can suggest relocation of exit doors or gates inside cockpits, or for the operators to add more exits.

Again, we take our hat off councilor Ibuyan Jr. for this initiative. But adding the safety and security aspect of cockpits as among those to be considered in the inspection  objectives would clearly be a leveling up of the over-all intention of the team’s mandate. More power!

Posted in Opinion