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Handling tambays

By: Editorial June 19,2018 - 10:05 PM

In order to shore up his all out war against illegal drugs—and by extension other crimes like illegal gambling—President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to police to round up istambays or loiterers isn’t as simple as one may expect.

But just what are loiterers/istambays/tambays and why would the President, who’s supposed to look into and act more decisively on other problems piled up on his plate like the territorial tensions with China, concern himself with local peace and order situations that are best handled by the recently elected barangay officials whom he recently reminded to crack down on drug pushers?

Loiterers or tambays are commonly defined by police and maybe by the public at large as those unemployed or have no visible means of livelihood that hang out in eateries, sari-sari stores, gambling dens and other areas that are deemed as magnets for trouble, crime or violence.

Usually these tambays can be seen drinking, shirtless and picking fights with each other or catcalling any woman or girl that passes them by.

Or if they are the secretive type, they can be spotted inside a rundown shanty deep in stupor after an hour or so of a private pot or drug session.

Again that’s something the barangay officials or at most the mayors are expected to remind their local police chiefs time and again and not by the President who should be more focused on bigger problems like the continuing economic toll endured by the public due to the TRAIN law, the inadequate wage increase and as mentioned before the territorial tensions with China which the country’s neighbors have handled better than this administration.

But the country elected a mayor as President and aside from having a one track mind when it comes to dealing with criminality—ruthless violence without addressing the root cause of the problem and raising the salaries of law enforcers a good number of whom still resort to coddling and conspiring with drug lords—it seems he has to remind the police and the barangay officials about their most basic duties which is to keep the streets safe.

So having been issued this reminder by the President, the public expects the police to exercise prudence and due diligence in rounding up the tambays, who may or may not be up to something criminal and may only be hanging out since they need to cool themselves off from the oppressive weather or the dismal conditions of what constitutes as their home.

And the public needs to be reassured of immediate police response and action should these tambays do make trouble and can no longer be handled by the neighbors or the tanods who are in the frontlines in keeping the peace within their communities.

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