Dumaguete Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria yesterday said his administration and the Philippine National Police are coordinating to ensure that the perceived resurgence of the street gang problem in the city, does not blow out of proportion.
Sagarbarria was reacting to recent shooting incidents in the city allegedly involving members of the warring gangs, Bloods and Crips, some of whom are minors.
He said he goes on patrols at night with Dumaguete police chief, Supt. Crisaleo Tolentino, and, in fact, after midnight on Tuesday, they flagged down some motorcycles whose drivers looked like minors.
Verification showed that the drivers did not have drivers’ licenses and their units did not have registration papers, prompting the police to impound the motorcycles. Sagarbarria said they sent the drivers home and told them to let their parents take care of the paperwork for the motorcycles.
Sagarbarria admitted that while there is a curfew ordinance for minors, what officials do these days is not to round up the minors but to send them home instead.
He acknowledged that the possibility exists that the minors will just return to the streets or hang out at business establishments later, but, he also said, at least city and police officials are taking steps in instilling discipline among the youth.
As to suggestions to revive and review a master list of suspected Bloods and Crips members, Sagarbarria said he believes the city police already have it.
Former Dumaguete police chiefs had also admitted that the street gang rivalry and the proliferation of illegal drugs were inter-related.*JFP
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