State of the Neighborhood Around (SONA)

Have you read Ceres Doyo's column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer today? It goes by the title "A Small Scary Story" and it talks about a mother, her 7-year old daughter, and their yaya being held up while eating at Pancake House at Quezon Avenue at 9:30pm last June 3.

Can't you even eat dinner in peace? PGMA, in her State of the Nation Address last July 25, proudly talks about the drug menace being cut in half, about kidnappings being a thing of the past -- only to be disputed by police officials a few days after.

I don't know about those big, serious crimes but shouldn't we also focus on petty crimes and thievery that happen to people we know day in, day out? Your bus is held up and all the passengers' cell phones are taken. You attend a birthday party at some Jollibee outlet and the branch is held up. You cross the street and your necklace or bracelet is snatched.

The following is a true story. Taxpayer 1 boards a jeep to get to work. The jeep waits a bit for other passengers. Soon, 4-5 big guys board the jeep one after the other. They position themselves in different parts of the jeep. As they board, two of them fall down and bump into the other passengers, Taxpayer 1 included. Taxpayer 1 thinks: "Are they going to hold us up?" One of the guys who just came on board, looks decent and normal, comments to the other guys: "Bakit kayo ganyan? Lasing ba kayo?" After awhile the decent, normal looking guy comments to Taxpayer 1. "Tinatawag ka nung nakaputi. May nahulog ka ata. Baka yung cellphone mo." Taxpayer 1 checks his pocket and true enough, his few months' old cellphone with a camera is gone. Taxpayer 1 gets off the jeep, tries to see if he dropped his cellphone somewhere and realizes that ang daming nakaputi. Cellphone gone. Jeep gone. Whodunit? The weird guys on the jeep? What's your proof? And if they did get it and even if you can prove it, what would you do? This is beginning to sound a lot like election fraud.

Can't eat in peace. Can't commute in peace. Can't walk in peace. Sure, crimes happen in other countries too but don't they happen too much around us? How can we expect people to not do such things when Garci is nowhere to be found? Imagine how much havoc this whole Garci thing has wrought and can anyone find him?

President Arroyo in her SONA also said that we are on the verge of an economic take-off. These things and crimes continue and we will just be on the verge. Period. The only take-offs we shall see are our countrymen taking off in disgust or because of a real financial need and leaving me here. Sigh.

[By Angelica Viloria | Thursday, August 4, 2005]

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