Tell it to SunStar: Court duty allowance for cops

(This is an open letter to Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and the Cebu City Council)

WE are at war and I will not join in your debate on whether the giving of rewards to police officers who kill suspects in anti-drug operations is good or not. But there are three things that the Council and the mayor may consider:

1. Court duty allowance. Our police officers who act as witnesses in drug cases spend their own fare and money for fuel, meal and many other incidentals. The battleground in drug cases is the courts, and it is the duty of the government to support our anti-drug warriors to ensure that drug cases are won. An ordinance may address this long-time proposal.

2. Exempt cops from parking fees. It is very illogical that police officers who attend court hearings at Quimonda, which houses our courts, are required to pay parking fees. I do not know the extent of the contract entered into by the Supreme Court and the building management, but the city government could fight for and in behalf of hundreds of government witnesses who pays parking fees in a public establishment. They do not go there for leisure but for official business, thus they must be exempted from paying parking fees.

3. Bullet-proof vests, not body cameras. The city government should not fall for the insane program of the Philippine National Police national headquarters of purchasing body cameras. We should not be ignorant. The critics of the war on illegal drugs will never be satisfied even if our operations are televised live or are led by Pope Francis. Body cameras will not prevent the lawyers of drug syndicates from filing harassment suits against our anti-drug warriors but bulletproof vests will prevent bullets from killing them.--Clarence Paul V. Oaminal, Drug Free Philippines Movement.

Save our agricultural lands.

AS everyone knows, most of the people here in the Philippines are poor or on the borderline of being poor. Most of us depend on farming and fishing to earn income to survive.

Agriculture is the bigest employer of people and it is also supporting others like vendors for fertilizers, parts for tractors, fuel, tires, farm tools and so on. Our prime agriculture lands are slowly being developed into subdivisions and industrial parks.

The gorverment needs to move faster to save these lands by putting in place laws or guidelines protecting agriculture lands and pushing the building of subdivisions to marginal and non-agricultural lands. Did we not learn our lesson in the seas where we only moved to stop dynamite fishing after 90 percent of our reefs were destroyed?

We need to elect people who can make changes and not people who are popular or can give you money for your votes more. We must remember the basis of development: With work, we will end poverty; with good teachers, we will get healthier children; with training, we will get more responsible people..--Alfred Acopan.