PRRD’s war on drugs recently claimed its youngest casualty in 5- year old Danica Mae Garcia of Barangay Manobo in Dagupan City. It was reported that the child was on her way to school when an unidentified man barged into the eatery of her grandparents and shot her grandfather who was reputed to be a drug pusher in their neighborhood. A stray bullet fatally struck Danica in the head while his grandfather survived. It was heartrending for Danica’s neighbors to see the child took a bullet for her grandfather. It was a scene sure to linger in their memories for a long long time. Ironically for Danica’s family, her senseless death had brought together her estrange parents in a sad reunion at her wake. But more so, Danica’s death highlights once more the growing number of unnecessary victims of the drug war either brought about by policemen themselves or by vigilantes obviously on a rampage of their own. Looking at the manner law enforcers deal with most of their prey, it would seem that the slightest resistance or provocation are enough justification for a kill. Either the suspected pushers became suddenly suicidal to shoot it out with the police or the police finding their targets with maximum precision, whichever, we have dead bodies to count day in and day out. There is just too much death by presumption in this raging war .
And the death of Danica is a grim reminder that anyone who might be in the wrong place and time could end up as a collateral damage in the growing statistics of the war on drugs.
The call of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for the abolition of Barangay Councils all over the country is one proposal bound to be dead before it could even see the light. The Speaker’s off – the – cuff statement must be one of those things that entered his mind without the benefit of a thorough study. Abolishing Barangay Kagawads is politically risky for PRRD’s administration that’s fast gaining critics for its war on drugs. If ever, the Speaker’s idea is a perfect lesson in “How to Win Enemies and Outrage People”. It is certainly unfair to brand kagawads as do – nothing officials unworthy of public expense. Kagawads provide the check and balance to the power of the Chairman in the barangay. As barangays have its own share of the Internal revenue allotment, it is the kagawads who appropriate the funds. To me, being guardians of the purse is an indispensable function.
But our worst fear may just come to pass, that by removing kagawads from public service , we pave the way for the rise of petty tyrants with unhampered access to public funds, a situation we cannot tolerate in our smallest unit of government.