Thursday, January 1, 2009

25 Hurt In Gensan Blast

At least 25 people were injured when a grenade blasted the Oval Plaza of General Santos City at 9PM New year's Eve, December 31, 2008. What's new?

What makes this blast a lesson learned is that it was too near the city playground where kids abound. We were there with kids when we went home last September. We would have been there in the afternoon of December 24 had it not been closed down temporarily I hope for security reasons. We would have been in the Oval Plaza to look at the Christmas lights which supposedly gave Gensan a Disneyland feeling (some family members decided not to go though since they were not so impressed with the display they saw in the afternoon and after they got worried about safety issues).

One of the issues that we would often discuss in the family when going home to Gensan is Mall-avoidance and public-place-avoidance because this city has been infamous for the lack of security not only in the malls but also in other public places and in the whole city generally. It is difficulty to make a commentary on this considering that anything negative will surely affect how visitors will perceive the city in the future. However, turning a blind eye will not change things and will perhaps only worsen it.

When blasts like these become almost a regular thing then one would suspect that there must be something wrong with how the city officials of Gensan are treating the city's security or lack of it. Of course, other places get bomb threats and have their own bombing and grenade incidents too but not as regularly as Gensan.

I have always been vocal about the lack of political will on the part of Gensan's politicians and under command responsibility principles, it is always the head of the city who will be held accountable for anything that happens. City mayor Acharon has been mayor of Gensan for several years and people should consider the continuous threat to their lives as a sign that come 2010, they should already elect new leaders.

Security in General Santos is pretty lax. Security guards in Davao City malls would bother you just so they can check all your belongings and would even frisk you until you want to shout at them. Here in Gensan, the security guards at the KCC Mall looked even annoyed when I opened my bag to let them peek inside. Were they too heavily relying on those canines stationed on the front doors? So much for security.

The officials in charge of the overland terminal are also very lax with security procedures. Anyone can just go in and out of the terminal without being frisked or even their baggage checked. The city officials have been elected by the people to make sure that everything is spic and span not only economic and social -wise but also security-wise. This is too much of a responsibility that is why it is called public service. Anybody who could not respond to the demands of his job should step down.

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