Apartment security checks
There is much to deliberate on the proposal by Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella for additional regulations on renters and owners of apartments in order to monitor illegal drug activities.
The discovery of two multi-million peso drug stashes in two apartments in Barangay Sambag II last Friday and in Barangay Tisa last month during police raids supports the passage of such an ordinance which will certainly be a burden for both renters and apartment owners alike.
Still, the significance of these two incidents cannot be underestimated especially last Friday’s raid in Barangay Sambag II which resulted in the confiscation of P41.8 million worth of high grade shabu from apartment renters Michael Carabaña, Jemuel Enrile, Arnold Arquiza and Agustin Quijano.
The first shabu stash found in the possession of a certain Jeffrey Cabaron in Barangay Tisa was valued at P39 million and was confiscated by police two weeks before last Friday’s raid in Sambag II.
And it is also not uncommon to find tenants engaged in pot or drug sessions in their apartments as can be seen in the recent shame campaign done in rundown apartments in Lapu-Lapu City.
That said, it is understandable that there will be reservations on the vice mayor’s proposal with Councilor Dave Tumulak saying that this will be a burden on the students, who are already hard pressed to pay for tuition and boarding without having to pay and wait for clearance from either the police or the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
And how exactly will landlords or apartment owners conduct background checks on their tenants is something that public hearings on the vice mayor’s proposal should touch base on without losing sight of the reservations and questions on its validity by stakeholders.
One way is to set up a one-stop help desk at the barangay hall which can help process all necessary security clearances for the renters in order to spare them and the landlords the inconvenience of lining up for hours, even days to apply for one from the police office or the NBI.
Whether or not barangays spare people and resources for this is something to be looked into though it can even be a revenue source for them if one were to consider the number of renters from the hinterland barangays and the provinces that flock to Cebu City to study and work in.
It is understood that community involvement is essential in the war against illegal drugs but law enforcement agencies and local officials should not unduly burden their stakeholders with regulations without providing alternative win-win solutions that will achieve both their goals while sparing others the trouble of having to shoulder more than what they can bear.
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