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PIA Press Release
2007/09/04

Zubiri calls for unity, pushes for federalism in preventing crime

by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob

Cagayan de Oro City (4 September) -- Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri has called on the people of Northern Mindanao to unite together in preventing crimes.

The newly elected Mindanaoan Senator sounded the call during the kick-off ceremony for the observance of the National Crime Prevention Week (NCPW), Sept. 1-7, at the Mindanao Polytechnic State College, this city.

"Failure of government to deliver services, both national and local levels, have resulted and led to conditions and situations that breed criminals. That is why we have to work together in delivering the needed services to the people to save resources in fighting crime," he said.

The principal author of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, National Service Training Program (NSTP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Rate Pay Base Increase Act, Zubiri also vowed to make legislations that would improve the lives of the people in the barangays because these barangays serve as front liners in preventing crime.

He said his position as vice-chairperson of the senate committee on public order and national defense can help so much in passing these bills with his brother Congressman Joey who is holding the lower house version of the same.

"In fact, he said he is going to file a senate bill to increase the allowance of the barangay health workers, bantay bayan, barangay nutrition scholars and day care workers who are receiving only Php300 as of the moment," the Senator said.

Among his other bills are those on the Worker's Rights, Increasing the Entry-Level Pay and Retirement Pension of Public school Teachers, Barangay Officials Monthly Honorarium, Retirement and Benefits, SSS Penalty on Loans Condonation, Strengthening the Security of Tenure and Increasing the Pension of all Retired Government Employees.

Meanwhile, he said, the conduct of dialogues should be adapted in resolving conflicts to avoid wastage of government resources even as he suggested that the PNP, especially those who are teaching at the Philippine Public Safety College, include in their curriculum, a study of the tradition and understanding between and among cultures in Mindanao.

"In our recent visit to Basilan, we found out that our Muslim community in the area thought that the AFP is an occupational force because the soldiers come from Luzon and other parts of the country 'na panay ang salitang Tagalog (who always talk in Tagalog)'or other dialects foreign to them, that's why they continue to fight the AFP," he said.

However, Zubiri said a long term solution to avoid and prevent crime and insurgency in the island is the need for political change and that is to push for federalism in Mindanao.

"If we federalize, we can make our region one of the richest island in the country. We can retain our income and we can even increase the salaries of the policemen, the teachers and other government workers in the region," he said.

During the occasion, Zubiri also thanked the NorMin residents for making him number one in the list of senators who won in the last election, as there are only four (4) of them who were voted number one in their respective regions. (PIA 10) [top]

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