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San Jacinto, Masbate nowadays is facing the toughest challenge ever sown to its soil after its battle with the Spaniards 200 years ago and after surviving the wrath of World War II in 1945. We are talking of the forms of hostilities chasing the days and nights of our beloved municipality nowadays. In a span of two months, San Jacinto Masbate had a gruesome taste of series of killings. Last August 26, SPO4 Rommel Borromeo, a retired policemen, and his companion Tony Barsaga, former security guard were ambushed in Brgy. Washington in the municipality.Two days after the incident, and at the break of dawn of September 28, Pablo Dilao, a “buko” vendor was also shot dead, in Sitio Maduga. Similarly, Romulo Alcala, a former Baranggay Captain in Roosevelt, suffered the same fate. And on September 26, ex-councilor in Baranggay Luna also succumbed to his death by the same cause.
All of these happened in San Jacinto. Not only that, in the morning of October 26, 2015, Pontino Dejumo, former CAFGU, was also murdered right in front of their residence in Amican St., San Jacinto, Masbate.The incidents stand with several horrifying realizations. The killings happened out in the open, some in broad daylight and others early in the morning when everyone looks forward to a bright and peaceful day. The victims were all riddled with bullets. Sign of impunity, leaving them with the smallest chance to live. And the culprits are nowhere to be seen. Months earlier, our country, especially in its key cities, also faced the same situations.
News of the assassination of Tanauan, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili while attending a Flag Raising ceremony shocked the Filipinos last July 2018 and days later we felt the same for the murder of Cavite Mayor Ferdinand Bote by two unidentified riding in tandem. Records have it that they were two of the 10 mayors killed in our country since 2016 along with four vice mayors who suffered the same demise in the hands of anonymous assassins.The gruesome details and the gravity of reasons why these horrendous incidents happened may not be related, however one thing is common among them, these are glaring proofs of the culture of impunity that is continuously hounding the streets of our country today.
Everyday these forms of calculated violence have become the talk of the town, sowing panic among its people, raising concerns among them and asking the burning question, “Is San Jacinto still a safe place for everyone to live in? Is it still a haven for everyone to walk around from dusk till dawn without fear that someone will fall prey again to the clutches of this public display of hostility which we were ignorant of many years ago? Is it the same municipality which has always been touted as a peaceful place in the province of Masbate?”
It is undeniably evident that fear has now engulfed the mind of our citizens. Everyday they would wake up to the sounds of bullets and while scouting the scene, sure enough they’ll find a dead body, killed for no apparent reason. Victims are ranging from common individuals to old and new politicians. Assassins are causing mayhem. They strike everywhere, whether their victims are travelling or sleeping soundly at their own homes. Once the perpetrators enter and gun shots are heard, the victims are sure to be dead, leaving grief and utter sadness behind to remind people of their power. With weapons in hand, they pose a very prominent threat to the peace of our community
As a result, citizens cower for their safety day and night. They are afraid of the hours at night. When before they could enjoy their leisure times at night and houses were open wide and welcoming until 9pm, now windows and doors are locked up and shut tight at the strike of 5:30 pm, scared of what new danger lurks the community and praying and hiding to keep their loved ones and precious children safe.Even in schools they now make security tighter, installing more barriers and imposing stricter rules and regulations to make sure no threat enters the school grounds.
People around are indeed becoming more and more aware of their surroundings as heinous crimes engulf parts of Ticao Island, specifically the one serene and peaceful place San Jacinto. If this is happening then What is more alarming is that there are reports that some of the suspects were dressed as students when they assaulted their targets. Some of them were seen wearing uniforms and backpacks. Take the case of Dejumo who was killed by three unidentified men who pretended to be students of San Jacinto National High School as they were seen by the security guard exiting the school’s main entrance also while the flag raising ceremony was going on. Up until now the suspects are still at large. As to when these series of killings in our municipality will end nobody knows exactly. What fears us more is that these incidents might cascade into a culture of violence. That it may be turned into a violence-always-begets-violence scenario. That if our children are exposed to any form of agression.
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