The Inbox

Crime rate soars in Abra, 'the murder capital of the north'

Photo sourced by VERA Files
As if living up to its moniker "murder capital of the north," shooting incidents in Abra in the first quarter of 2011 have almost tripled compared to those recorded  in the same period in 2010, an election year.

Based on records from the Abra Provincial Police Office (Abra-PPO), there were 14 shooting incidents from January to March in 2010 as against 36 cases recorded from January to March 27 this year.

Statistically, this means that at least one shooting incident takes place every three days in this northern province.

Abra is a landlocked province in northern Luzon, which is consistently listed among hotspots during elections because of intense political rivalry and the presence of private armies.

The current number of shooting incidents this year is more than a third of the 102 recorded shooting incidents for the entire year of 2010. (See table below.)

Data from the Abra Provincial Police Office

Shooting incidents have resulted in various crimes such as murder, homicide, frustrated murder, attempted murder and physical injury.

It is not known if all shooting incidents have been documented by the Abra PNP. Early last year, several patients who sustained bullet wounds and checked in hospitals for treatment were not listed in police records.

According to a short analysis in the Abra PNP report, the lower number of shooting incidents in 2010 was attributed to the Commission on Election's (COMELEC) gun ban "implemented prior to the conduct of the National and Local Election."

"This fact denotes that Total Gun Ban in the province is beneficial to the reduction of crimes committed with the use of firearms," the report said.

Murder victims in the first quarter included: Montano Inon, incumbent Sangguniang Bayan member of Tineg who was gunned down on Jan. 18; Warlito Balmaceda, former Dolores barangay captain, shot on Feb. 11; and Loreto Barbosa, incumbent Dolores barangay captain shot on March 18. Tineg Barangay Captain Leonard Idao was not included in the list because he was killed in Ilocos Norte last March 28.

Perry Carl Benedito, the 14-year-old nephew of Ang Ladlad Chair Bemz Benedito, was killed by a stray bullet meant for Barbosa. He was at that time playing a computer game in a nearby establishment in Zone 5, Bangued when he was shot in the forehead.

According to Divine Word Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian, the diocese sponsored a peace dialogue between the Abra Multi-Sectoral Group (AMSG) and the provincial leaders last March 22 at the Parish Pastoral Center.

The bishop said that the clergy will also meet to discuss about having an oratio imperata (mandated prayer) for peace in Abra.

Bishop Jaucian also said that he had instructed Police Provincial Director Amando Lagiwid  "to subject all Abra police and other law enforcers to a refresher course on police operational procedure."

He also called on Abrenians "to stand against violence and denounce personalities, who are coddling cold-blooded murderers" and asked support for "total gun ban in Abra."

A 2009 survey conducted by the Ateneo School of Government of 150 individuals from different towns in Abra showed among other things that 44.7 percent of respondents agreed that life can be equated with money or money is more valuable than one's life, while 24. 7 percent agreed that they needed to arm themselves as protection against enemies.

Late last year, an essay writing contest was held for inmates at the Abra Provincial Jail during the Abra Week for Peace. The inmates were divided into six groups then asked to write about why there is violence in Abra.

The output of the White Group, entitled Abra Ipatpateg Ka (Abra I Care for You), stated that many politicians in Abra employed goons especially before elections because goons are used to "scare voters and kill leaders of political opponents so they (politicians who employ goons) have a greater chance of winning."

"Poverty and lack of job opportunities are the reasons why being a 'hired killer' has become a profession," the essay written in Ilocano read.

The White Group's essay also said that politicians from nearby provinces import hired killers from Abra because they are known to be brave and good.

Abra is where the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS) and the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) congregations were first founded in the Philippines. SSpS considers Tayum municipality (where Major General Carlos Garcia hails) as its home while the cradle of SVD is San Isidro, one of the Virginia tobacco-producing towns in the province.

***

VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • High spirits battle: Asia tycoons vie for cognac maker Louis Royer

    * Louis Royer valued at about $150 mln - sources * Suntory selling cognac maker as part of portfolio reshuffle * Asia cognac demand seen rising 13 pct in 2015-19 -Euromonitor (Adds graphic link) By Denny Thomas and Khettiya Jittapong HONG KONG/BANGKOK, May 30 (Reuters) - Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is considering buying cognac maker Louis Royer, people familiar with the matter said, potentially locking horns with a Philippine tycoon for the French firm amid a forecast …

  • OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF
    OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF

    The Philippine government is asking the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to finally complete the tripartite review process of the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The review – snagged  for several years as government had its hands full with the peace process with rival faction Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – tackles how the 1996 peace pact with the MNLF has been implemented and centers on the three remaining …

  • Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe
    Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe

    Eight of the resource persons ordered arrested by the Senate finally attended the 21st public hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee into the alleged anomalies involving Vice President Jejomar Binay, but the proceedings turned out to be a review of matters previously presented. For over three hours, the subcommittee heard presentations regarding the alleged hidden assets of Binay and the issue regarding the supposed P200 million in kickbacks he received from a deal between the Boy …

  • DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe
    DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is wrapping up its investigation into the “massacre” of 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A joint team of prosecutors and NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) investigators is about to finish the second part,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has told congressmen. She was responding to questions raised by former senior police officer and now Rep. Samuel Pagdilao of party-list …

  • APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism
    APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism

    BALANGA CITY, Bataan – More than 2,000 delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and international media outfits are expected to enjoy the splendid coastline of Bagac town, which faces the West Philippine Sea, as they converge for a workshop in this province next month. …

  • DOST opens P54-M research facility
    DOST opens P54-M research facility

    A P54-million research and development facility of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was recently opened in Bicutan, Taguig for scientists and researchers to develop technology and techniques to allow Filipino fashion and clothing designers and manufacturers to produce more mainstream products from local, tropical fabrics like piña, banana and abaca. Science Secretary Mario Montejo said the Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles (ICYT) is the DOST’s flagship effort at reviving …

  • DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights
    DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights

    Philippine embassy officials in Doha have raised their concern with Qatari authorities over coercion and human rights violations in the alleged forcing of three Filipino workers convicted of spying to provide information and confess to the crime. Speaking to reporters, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose yesterday said the embassy has raised the matter during several high-level meetings with Qatari officials and the national human rights committee in Qatar. “Our embassy …

  • US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl
    US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl

    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that Washington’s pledge to defend the Pacific nation remains “ironclad” and called for an end to land reclamation in the South China Sea, officials said. In talks in Hawaii with Voltaire Gazmin, Philippine secretary of national defense, the Pentagon chief “reaffirmed” the strong ties between the two countries and discussed territorial disputes in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has been …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options