By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
A GRAVE concern over security has been the staple of Facebook postings since last week among Mambulaoans, both overseas and those in town.
The deluge of outraged comments was sparked by three incidents of armed robberies last Thursday night at sitio Tumbaga, San Rafael just outside of Mambulao town proper.
They were more incensed over reports that the local police did not bother to send a team to investigate, despite a request for such after it was reported at the police headquarters in town.
Rodel Bang Occiano, who is based in Taytay, Rizal, said his sibling’s family in Tumbaga, San Rafael, just outside of Mambulao town proper, was among the three families held up by armed, bonnet-wearing, hooded men.
Occiano posted a brief report on the incident on the Facebook account of Jose Panganiban, CamNorte.
He said the suspects broke into the house of his sibling and took everything of value.
Occiano described the men as “wielding firearms and wearing bonnet-hoods”.
“Mata lang po nila ang nakikita,” he said, quoting a member of his family whom he talked to over the cellphone.
“Ngayon lang po nangyari ito sa aming lugar … sana po maaksyunan ng kapulisan ang insidente…(this was the first time it happened in our area … I appeal to the local police to do something about the incident.”
Occiano said in follow up postings: “Hindi ko po alam kung bakit walang police na pumunta (I did not know why police did not come to investigate).
“Ang sabi po ng mga pulis (in Mambulao) matapos na ireport kagabi sa headquarters ay: “bahala na raw po ang mga tanod na magronda”.
Occiano said he learned from his family that the local police beefed up its check points along the baranggay road from Sta Rosa, Norte.
“But my point is that the police should have sent a team to investigate the incident … that’s the first job they have to do…”
He said he did not believe that the local unit of the New People’s Army in CamNorte had something to do with the robbery.
Earlier reports had it that a similar modus operandi – armed men wearing bonnets --- was carried out by culprits in Gumaus, a baranggay at the neighboring town of Paracale, which shares borders with Barangay Tedi.
Most victims of break-and-enter were families of overseas workers, according to some postings.
Facebookers suspected that the incident was linked to the nearing baranggay (village) election.
“Maaring malalaking tao ang involved dito para may pang-finance sila sa kanilang mga kandidato para sa baranggay chairman… kung totoong linked ito sa eleksyon,” says one Facebooker, who is using the name “Kasandra Et Robin”.
Rhea Gallardo Bagapuro posted in mocking tone: Kulang sa dunong po anu ang mga pulis… patabaing baboy … ala mga silbi… very funny sila.. sweldo lang ang inaatupag…”
Saul Bermas posted an appeal: “Parang awa na ng mga pulis kahit ngayon lang umakyat sila ng San Rafael para maimbestigahan nila ang kaso… hindi na biro ang mga nangyayari ngayon … nakakabahala na…”
Richard R Grutas posted: “Sana nga makarating ang ating kapulisan diyan sa San Rafael… hindi na sila maglalakad pa tulad ng dati …ngayon pwede nang gumamit ng sasakyan .. hindi na mahirap puntahan ang lugar na ito… bigyan naman ng pansin yan kahit malayo sa bayan … sana ang mungkahi ng taong-bayan ay tugunan…”
Baguio City-based Nvr Rodelas observed in his posting that “we don’t have that much police force to cover the whole of JP (Jose Panganiban) … yung iba ginagamit pang security ng mga (gold mining) financiers.”
He also suggested the creation of baranggay ronda (village roaming security team).
Facebooker Chelsie Ramiel expressed his surprise: Madami na palang nangyayari diyan sa ating bayan…”
He advised residents to take extra precaution always…”
Some Facebookers suspected that the culprits could be those who settled in Mambulao with no regular source of income and were allegedly engaged in criminal activities.
Facebookers have suggested that there should be more police visibility in crime-prone areas across the municipality to be complemented by baranggay ronda teams, especially at night, who will check every unidentified individuals seen in the area.
Mambulao is estimated to have more than 50,000 residents spread across the municipality’s 27 baranggays.
On the other hand, the local unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP) has about 20 men who work in shifts.
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