I HAD the surprise, nay, bewilderment of my life in this benighted Philippines when very recently, on my way to a hotel near Adriatico from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport 3, while the taxi we were riding in was waiting at an intersection on Remedios Street for the go signal, I saw three black-shirted cops on three motorbikes fully armed just ahead of us. I thought there might be a police operation in the Ermita area, where less than a year ago a doctor-businessman carrying millions of pesos was ambushed and killed and robbed of his money. There were also reports of frequent petty crimes against tourists who congregate in Ermita. Indeed, notwithstanding the lures of Boracay, Palawan and Cebu beaches, tourists still find its more fun in Ermita.
My wife and I are frequent guests of a hotel in Adriatico, near the condo unit of our daughter who is studying medicine in UP. On our past visits, we observed zero police visibility in the area, except for one or two police outposts where cops are seen sanguinely sitting in front of desks.
The following day, I observed that the fully armed black-shirted cops aboard motorcycles were regularly cruising around the Ermita-Malate area. In a sense, this is a welcome development, accentuating police visibility to deter crimes.
In New York City, fully armed cops astride horses are an ubiquitous presence in crowded areas. In contrast, in Singapore which I recently visited with my family, I did not see a single, fully armed cop in public places. There were even no armed security guards in their malls, and yet Singapore appears to be crime-free.
Significantly, these cops-on-bike are a good and effective countermeasure to assassins riding bikes in tandem.
—EDWARD B. CONTRERAS, St. Francis Park, Tanque, Roxas City