Rough Cuts | Issues that require expert handling

THE street drama that unfolded late last week at a section of Quezon Blvd. specifically at Barangay 26-C in Davao City actually has more to it in the inside than what can be seen on the surface.

We mean the barricading by predominantly Maranao residents in the area whose houses are ordered demolished by the court.

Subject to the demolition are some 180 houses occupied by 280 mixed Maranao and Christian families and built on a 3,350-square meter lot at the corners of Quezon Blvd. and Lizada streets.

According to reports, a certain Datu Bahjin Marcos Mahadili who is reportedly from Zamboanga has claimed ownership to the property. However, it is not clear whether he is the one who filed a case in court which case may have already been decided on the favor of the claimant based on the order allowing the demolition.

A highly reliable source, however, told us that the owner prior to the one who have gone to the court is a businessman also from Zamboanga whose family had been residing in Davao for the longest time and made a humongous fortune in the city.

We were told by the same source that the new owner (he may not be the one who showed up at the site to claim ownership), being a Muslim from Zamboanga, is presumed to be a Tausug. This person is reportedly well-connected to certain powers. So the person knows his way around.

Because of the ethnic origins of the owner and the majority of the residents who will be affected by the court-ordered demolition, some observers are saying that if the booting out is not handled properly by those tasked to implement the job, it could further heat up the historical animosity between the Maranao and the Tausug Moro tribes.

The sad thing is that the venue of the brewing conflict is transplanted in Davao City. And worst, there are Christians who could easily be drawn over to one side of the protagonists, they being long-time residents of the area also.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, a lawyer that she is, could not be wrong in saying that she would not anymore intervene in behalf of the lot occupants because it is the court that has issued a writ of demolition.

But can she really distance herself from the issue? She is mayor and the affected families are her constituents. And as reported, both the protagonists have already approached her office for support of their cause.

To quote the late Davaoeno Senator Alejandro “Landring” Almendras, “Let us to see.”

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We strongly agree with the proposition of Sen. Ralph Recto that ships carrying contraband goods into the country be destroyed. That is, it has to suffer the same fate of the smuggled merchandise like luxury vehicles that had been flattened recently on orders of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Yes, Recto’s proposal may be harsh. But we believe that it could be the most effective way of curbing smuggling of goods into the Philippines. This is one way of implicating the owners and officials of the vessels bringing in the contraband.

Destroying the vessel loading smuggled cargoes will definitely send chills to the boat owners. Thus, they would be compelled to implement the strictest of policies to their boat officials not to load cargoes that do not have the necessary permit for entry to the Philippines.

And given such strict instructions from the owners of the ocean-going vessels, officials on board will have to have not just second, third or fourth thought before allowing their vessels to transport contraband goods. The vessel owners’ policy may most likely include immediate termination of their employment contract causing a blot in their work behavior record.

Yes, the ship officers on board will surely have to do a lot of soul-searching before allowing his boat as the transport means of contraband to the Philippines if they know that doing so could cost them their job and their life of ease and plenty. Imagine a ship captain is now earning an average of $12,000 to $15,000 a month! And he’d just trade that regular income with one or two successful smuggling runs that could earn him may be not as much but just add-on to his monthly take home pay?

Of course we know that Recto’s plan may have some diplomatic ramifications. Ocean-going vessels are actually extensions of the country whose flag they are carrying. It is like an embassy; a small piece of property that is an extension of the territory of a country in another republic. Any attack on that piece of land and building could be taken to mean as an attack on the country’s main land.

That too, could be the case if the government considers Senator Recto’s proposal. So, there has to be a great deal of studying should such plan be elevated to the proper government authorities for discussion.

Posted in Opinion