A lawmaker has called on the Chinoy community to be more proactive in the campaign against kidnappings by taking precautionary steps that will make it difficult for their families to fall prey to kidnap gangs.
Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian made the statement in the wake of an upsurge in kidnappings, particularly among Chinese-Filipinos who appear to be a favorite target among kidnap-for-ransom or KFR syndicates.
“We cannot rely on the police too much because they are under manned and under equipped. The Fil-Chi communities have no choice but to strengthen their own support groups,” Gatchalian said.
“These groups can discuss and brainstorm various methods in preventing KFR’s from happening in their own communities. Coordination and liaising with local government units is also very vital in fighting criminality,” the former Valenzuela City mayor said.
From the early 1980s to mid-1990s, notorious Red Scorpion Group abducted many Chinoys in Valenzuela City.
A three-part Inquirer series reported that seven of 10 KFR victims in Manila this year are Chinoys—Chinese-Filipinos with every right to live in peace as much as the next Pinoy; Filipino citizens and ethnic Chinese, not aliens.
Chinoys constitute only 1.2 percent of the population but they, nevertheless, are kidnappers’ victims of choice.
Recorded Chinoy KFR cases: 18 in 2012; 26 in 2013; 28 as of August 2014. And the numbers keep rising, according to the Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO) headed by Teresita Ang-See.
Among the most recent KFR victims was a 69-year-old owner of an umbrella factory, Benito Chao, who was abducted in Caloocan City the night of August 27.
The next evening, an MRPO leader received a text message: Chao had been found dead in Santa Maria, Bulacan province, shot through the head. After Chao, three more Chinoy KFRs were committed on Aug. 31.
As mayor of Valenzuela City for nine years, Gatchalian has many times been consulted by families of kidnap victims and his advice was for them to be proactive and this include the employment of close-in security, the avoidance of a set pattern in going to the office, and to the school and the bullet-proofing of vehicles to those who can afford it.
Gatchalian said it is important that Chinoys who are potential targets for kidnap gangs make themselves “hard targets” by employing such proactive measures and reliance on the Philippine National Police for protection should be the last thing that Chinoys should do.
“If Chinoys have the resources, it is best that they use it to make themselves hard targets for kidnappers since these lawless elements prefer the easy ones as this involves lesser risk for their group,” the lawmaker said.
Gatchalian is one of several congressmen who filed a bill requiring the registration of all prepaid SIM cards since it has been an open secret that criminal elements have been using untraceable SIM cards to ply their illicit activities, including kidnapping. (R. Burgos)