PAMPANGA, Philippines – Pampanga officials, including former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, are supporting the military’s suggestion to implement an ID system in the province.
Arroyo, now congressional representative of Pampanga’s second district, welcomed the plan aired by Colonel Gregorio Catapang, commander of the Army’s 703rd Brigade.
"Maganda iyang ideyang iyan. Nung ako ay isinangguni yan, maraming nag-object. Dinala pa kami sa Supreme Court," she said.
The proposal was made following allegations that carjackers have made Pampanga their base of operations.
The body of a carjacking victim, Venson Evangelista, was found in the province.
Police have raided several alleged safehouses of the Dominguez carjacking group in Pampanga and recovered at least 9 vehicles and possible pieces evidence related to the Evangelista case.
Governor Lilia Pineda called for an emergency meeting with local government officials on Wednesday to tackle the situation.
“Ang Pampanga kasi nakikita nila, maayos ang business dito. Maunlad siya atsaka maraming lusutan. Yung Quezon at Bulacan, malapit lang sa Pampanga," she said.
Catapang, meanwhile, said the ID system should be implemented in all barangays in the province.
He said the move will allow authorities to monitor people who come and go to Pampanga.
"Ito ay magsisilbing database ng mga tao. Bibigyan din sila ng kanya kanyang ID," the Army official explained.
Land Transportation Office (LTO) regional director Oliver Macaspac, meanwhile, denied allegations that he is connected to suspect carjack gang leaders Raymond and Roger Dominguez.
A suspect in the Evangelista slaying, Alfred Mendiola, made the allegation.
"Baka mga fixers yang sinasabi nila, which I don't encourage," Macaspac said.
Police, on the other hand, admitted shortcomings in their campaign against carjackers.
"Tinutukan kasi namin mga riding-in-tandem," said Pampanga police director Senior Superintendent Petronio Retirado.
Local government officials plan to tap barangay officials to help in the campaign against carjacking suspects in the province.
Some village officials, meanwhile, are asking to be given firearms because they fear for their lives if they join the anti-carjacking campaign.
Bacolor town Mayor Jose Maria Hizon welcomed the proposal, including firearms for village officials.
"If the situation calls for it, why not?" he said. – Report from Ernie Manio, ABS-CBN News Pampanga