Police invisibility in Pasay

IN my one-and-a-half years of stay in Pasay City, I have almost never seen a policeman in the streets—in the vicinity of Libertad and Harrison Streets, at least—except a few days ago when a policeman blocked his motorcycle along Tramo Street where Mayor Calixto, accordingly, was inaugurating a newly-constructed road.

All I see in the streets are traffic enforcers in green shirt who, for one reason or another, have a rather cozy relationship with jeepney drivers, so cozy that whenever a traffic enforcer approaches a driver, the latter automatically hands out some amount of money to him. One dictionary’s definition of “cozy” was exactly how I would interpret such show of intimacy between the two, so exact that I couldn’t control giving out a smirk as I read it—“convenient or beneficial, usually as a result of dishonesty or connivance.”

Whoever thought of the definition surely had in mind the cozy, beneficial relationship prevalent in the world of corruption.

If low police visibility increases the opportunity to apprehend criminals, then one can only imagine what the total absence of police visibility could do to a place. In some of my articles here I have written about an incident when my daughter’s hair was pulled by a teenage girl who jumped in and out of a jeepney that she was riding from Pasay West High School, and how my son dropped to the ground unconscious when his face was hit by an icepick bearing man along Libertad Street.

Whenever I flag a taxi down, I know there is more likelihood that I would be refused because of the notoriety of my address, apparently the most notorious in Pasay City, if not in Metro Manila. In the rare times that taxi drivers agreed to drive me home without any question, most of them still had their own stories to tell, tales of how they or their fellow drivers became victims of “bukas-kotse” teenagers along Harrison and Libertad Streets.

The absence of police visibility has made criminals in Pasay City bolder and more daring.  I wonder if such absence is attributed to the benefits derived from the already cozy relationship between the unfortunate PUV drivers and the traffic enforcers acting as pseudo-policemen.


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