First District Residents Have Simple Demands

May. 12, 2007

First District: From street crime to lack of water supply, the residents of the first congressional district have problems that they hope their politicians would address. But theyre not holding their breath.

By Marilou M. Aguirre

DAVAO CITY As a vendor of coconut juice who roams around the city, particularly the First District where he lives, Eusebio Pulgo knows only too well the problems brought about by juvenile delinquency.

A resident of Barangay 23C, more known as Mini-Forest Boulevard, Pulgo, 41, considers these delinquents, who are mostly minors and members of gangs, as a pressing problem that should be addressed by the city.

“There have been many instances that these kids are compelled to rob and commit petty crimes to sustain their addiction to drugs,” Pulgo says, adding that rugby boys are aplenty in their area.

Rep. Nograles (right), shown here with son Karlo, has a firm grip on the first district. ( photo by Barry Ohaylan)

For a city that takes pride in a mayor, Rodrigo Duterte, who is supposedly tough on crime, public order seems to have taken the backseat in his district, Pulgo says. And he wishes that whoever City Hall in next weeks elections would try harder.

“It remains to be seen whether the candidates can solve our problems, Pulgo points out. Even the mayor who is already tough has not solved the problem of juvenile delinquency.

A mother of nine, Maria Tundaon, 47, sees the same problem in her area. She recalls one instance when four minors were sniffing rugby at the back of the nearby chapel, in broad daylight. “They won’t mind doing it anywhere. My house was even used when nobody was here,” she says.

But Tundaon says there is a bigger problem. “There is a series of killings against suspected drug addicts or pushers, and even those who are suspected as gang members,” she says.

Her eldest son, Benjie, the second among her nine children, was stabbed to death last January, along Uyanguren Street. “He was doing different kinds of jobs to help our family. His other source of income was driving a pedicab while working in a store in Uyanguren as an errand boy,” Tundaon narrates. “But he was killed for no apparent reason, she says. All I know is that he was a good and responsible son.

Tundaon’s son was the last in their neighborhood who was killed. There were four others, mostly minors, who were killed by the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS). The families of the victims have not filed a case, since they didnt have money. Moreover, they could only attribute the killings to the DDS, whose identities are not exactly known.

“It is such a horrible law when they kill minors, especially when they are just suspects. If they are really guilty of any crime, they can put them in jail. But why do they have to kill them?” Tundaon asks.

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