Neighborhood watch eyed in Cebu City

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita |August 14,2016 - 09:26 PM
Call center agents like those at the Asia Town IT Park in Lahug will be prioritized by the proposed neighborhood watch of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña. (CDN FILE PHOTO)

Call center agents like those at the Asia Town IT Park in Lahug will be prioritized by the proposed neighborhood watch of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña. (CDN FILE PHOTO)


After losing operational control over the city police, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña plans to tap volunteers for a neighborhood watch in the city’s barangays.

“As soon as I get home, I will begin the process of creating a neighborhood watch in our barangays. Just because I don’t have a police I can work with doesn’t mean I can’t fulfill my duties,” Osmeña posted on his official Facebook page yesterday morning.

The mayor arrived yesterday afternoon from his annual check up in Texas.

He said he plans to start in areas where there are a lot of call center agents and then expand the neighborhood watch in other areas in the city.

Osmeña said he would prioritize call center agents since they are “at high risk” due to their jobs.

He said he will call for a meeting with representatives of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry for this purpose.

The mayor said he will ask the management of BPO companies to map out where their agents live and also to ask their employees on their specific safety concerns.

Osmeña said the city will recruit retired tanods, policemen, soldiers, private citizens and others willing to volunteer for the neighborhood watch in their barangays.

He said he will then ask for help from the private sector in providing things like snacks and coffee and even bicycles if they will be generous enough to provide them, he said.

“This will be good for both our citizens and the economy because many people are unwilling to take on a call enter job because of safety concerns. By making it safer, more people will have the opportunity to earn more,” Osmeña said in his Facebook page.

Since a lot of call center agents work at night, they are more exposed to criminal elements, the mayor said.

Osmeña said if more people will be willing to work in call centers, BPO companies will also be encouraged to expand their operations and invest in Cebu, which he added is already becoming one of the major BPO industry hubs in the world.

Tapping local volunteers to help within their immediate community is also advantageous since they are more aware of their area and may even know who are those that may get involved in crimes as well as those areas considered dangerous.

“They will also be very motivated, because instead of just being assigned there from somewhere else, they have a personal stake as they are taking care of the areas where their own families live. They won’t have powers of arrest, but many times, that’s not needed. Just establishing a real presence in the neighborhood is enough to deter most crimes,” he said.

Osmeña said he got this idea during his flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong.

He then solicited for suggestions from other Facebook users who commented on the post.
One suggested to also tap the help of habal-habal (motorcycle-for-hire) drivers who can also patrol areas like the IT Park in Barangay Lahug.

Osmeña welcomed the tip and said willing drivers can be provided with fuel allowances if they want to patrol.

Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak said Osmeña’s idea is good.

“That will be a force multiplier. Aside from the police and other authorities, having locals helping against crime will always be good for the community,” Tumulak said.

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