Rough Cuts: Containing the rise of rape cases in Davao

What’s happening to Davao City, ladies and gentlemen of the local government administration?

From the latest figures released by the Philippine National Police the city has one of the lowest crime rates. In the case of the prevalence of illegal drugs many among us would want to claim that Davao is almost immaculately clean although every now and then we heard or read of news reports that drug dealings are still happening.

Even the President, who used to be mayor of the city for so many terms, prides himself of having a Davao where anybody can walk throughout the night and remains unmolested by criminal elements.

We, too, also take pride of this peaceful environment, as we personally have experienced in our many years of stay in the city, except during the heydays of the communist insurgency in the eighties.

But what is this we hear from no less than Davao City Police Director Alexander Tagum in a nationwide television interview confirming that Davao City has recorded the most number of rape cases during the past few months of this year? The unusually high number of rape cases, as culled out in the national police headquarters, has made Davao City number one in recorded rape incidents beating Quezon City and Manila.

But CD Tagum was humble enough to admit that the police are literally helpless in preventing such incidents. This is because, according to the good Police Director, most of the rapes that happened in the past few months were perpetrated during group activities among combined male and female “barkadas” or close friends in parties, drinking sprees, and inside households where perpetrators are family members.

We agree with Police Director Tagum that potential rape victims become more vulnerable when they are enticed to join parties and other gatherings among friends where drinking of intoxicating liquors are freely done. The vulnerability becomes more enhanced when illegal drugs are added to the “menu” making such parties even “wilder.”

In rape cases that happened inside households we assume that family values or the lack of these could be the primary cause. For how can we imagine that certain male family members who are supposed to be protectors of women in the household become the crime perpetrators?

On the other hand, rape cases happening outside households or group parties, are the ones the police role as protector must come in. But again, the potential victims have always the bigger role for their protection. They should not give would-be rapist any chance to entertain the devilish idea or even a whiff of opportunity for him to execute his evil intention.

Hence, we are strongly supporting the plan of Colonel Tagum for the police to adopt a different tact in dealing with the increasing number of rape cases in the city.

In that same television interview PD Tagum said the Davao City Police Office will be launching programs that will improve personal values side by side with appropriate police action. That, to us, is one preventive measure that may succeed in deterring rape incidents if done with professionalism and with strong engagement of the public.

As they say, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. In other words, if the police intend to stop rape incidence there has to be consistent effort to kill the seed of such an idea. Where rape has happened it’s now the time for the police to pursue the perpetrator relentlessly until he is brought to the bar of justice. And there should be no “ifs” and “buts.” Any convicted rapist must be given the harshest punishment allowed by law.

oOo

The speech of President Rodrigo Duterte during the commemoration of the National Heroes Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani last Monday was the first time that we hardly heard a deviation from his prepared script.

If at all there was any semblance of deviation, it was at the start of his message. That was, when he talk of Lapu-lapu, the first Filipino to subdue a foreign invader in the island of Mactan in Cebu.

Joking with seriousness in his tone the President told his audience that somehow, the first Filipino hero is being forgotten, or if not, being relegated to a name of a fish that has become an important dish on the dining table.

The President also said that while there are a few monuments of the Cebuano hero, these are installed in hardly noticeable locations. And if we are to add, these monuments are considered by some pedestrians as road obstructions or even some kind of “photo bombers.”

Well, maybe it is time the President put his weight on the issue so that Lapu-lapu as a hero will be given more premium. And his space in history books be expanded for better appreciation.

Posted in Opinion