Vice Mayor disputes tag as “crime capital”

SAN NICOLAS, Ilocos Norte, July 19– “If they say that our town of San Nicolas is the crime capital of Ilocos Norte, does it mean also that Ilocos Norte is the crime capital of the Philippines?”.

Former municipal mayor now new Vice Mayor Dr. Alfredo “Boying” Valdez Jr. uttered the remarks to dispute the ugly label given to his town of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, where he served for three terms or equivalent to nine consecutive years as chief executive. His wife, Dr. Melanie Valdez is now the new municipal mayor.

The notorious brand “crime capital” apparently turned unacceptable to the San Nicolas officialdom and citizenry.

Earlier, the provincial peace and order council (PPOC) held a meeting recently at the provincial capitol where acting police provincial director Senior Supt. Gerardo Ratuita presented the latest crime rates in Ilocos Norte.

Gov. Imee Marcos as PPOC chairman, Vice Gov. Angelo Marcos Barba, Sangguniang Panglalawigan members, town mayors, police chiefs, government prosecutors, other officials and mediamen attended the said PPOC meeting.

To get reaction from the concerned party about the “crime capital” tag issue, Bombo anchorman Robert de la Cruz conducted a live phone interview with San Nicolas Vice Mayor Dr. Alfredo “Boying” Valdez Jr. yesterday, July 18, 2013.

In the said brief question-and-answer interview, Vice Mayor Valdez, who spoke in both English and Ilocano dialect, said the crime rates may have increased in their town due to its fast economic progress and development growth.

(He probably believed on the proven fact that crime surge goes hand-and-hand with economic progress in any town or city for that matter.)

Dr. Valdez surmised that the police hierarchy may have based its assessment on the consolidated report of all crime incidents in their town of San Nicolas which was submitted earlier by then town police chief C/I Leland Benigno, now reassigned in Laoag City as deputy police chief.

He said the San Nicolas police station was probably the first among the PNP stations in Ilocos Norte to have quickly complied with the directive of PNP Chief Director General Allan Purisima to submit the said consolidated report. However, Vice Mayor Valdez, during the said radio interview, did not cite what specific period of month or year covers the report.

He questioned why San Nicolas was singled out on the matter when Solsona, Marcos and some other towns are known also to have many crime incidents in their respective places in recent period.

When asked by Bombo anchorman De la Cruz about the town’s consistent title as most business-friendly LGU (Local Government Unit) in the country, he said, the municipal government maintains that San Nicolas truly deserves the outstanding award.

More businessmen chose to invest in our town because we accorded them friendly treatment whenever they applied for business permits and other licenses, Valdez said.

He added that as their existing official policy, any business permit transaction in the municipal government is done fast, no corruption, no red tape and no hanky-panky.

More and more people including visitors and tourists continued to come in drove to their town to shop and relax at Robinsons Ilocos mall and other business establishments here because they know San Nicolas town is a safe place where to visit or where to stay, Vice Mayor Valdez concluded.#