Cotabato City mayor to police: Stop illegal drugs to ensure peaceful holidays

COTABATO CITY, Dec. 14 (PNA) — The local government here wants a peaceful and joyous Christmas and New Year’s celebration.

To attain this, Mayor Japal Guiani Jr. directed the Cotabato City police office on Sunday to contain illegal drugs in the wake of increasing cases of gun and bomb attacks in the city and its environs.

Guiani said he wants the police to intensify its campaign against illegal drugs, which he considers as the root of most crimes taking place in the city.

A local executive order was also issued to impose firecrackers and gun ban under City Ordinance No. 2144 which the City Council passed in 2003.

Senior Supt. Rolen Balquin, city police director, said local authorities backed by a composite Army-Police task-force will implement absolute ban on firecrackers and gun firing, especially during the Christmas season.

Policemen and Army soldiers have been placed on heightened alert to watch on public safety and thwart security threats, including bomb attacks.

Since Nov. 19, Cotabato City has been hosting a series of festivities. These include the Karmul Makhdum Festival, which was celebrated by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; the Feast of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral (ICC) on Dec. 8, and the month-long ARMM Founding Anniversary celebration, which will culminate on Dec. 19, when the city government jointly celebrates with ARMM the Shariff Kabunsuan Festival.

Balquin said that so far, revelries have been peaceful and entertaining to residents.

He stressed the military has been on-guard providing back-up support to the city police in frequenting crime- prone areas around town.

Guiani believes that once the problem of proliferation of illegal drugs is solved, crimes against life and property could be reduced, if not eradicated. (PNA)