Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has pushed for the immediate passage of an ordinance that would institutionalize a contingency plan during emergencies to limit possible damage to property and minimize, if not eliminate, threats to the lives and safety of civilians.
Belmonte’s proposal followed the meeting on Friday of top city officials, and representatives of concerned government agencies and affected business establishments in response to the Wednesday shootout.
Belmonte stressed the need to safeguard the welfare of the public during armed encounters, fires, earthquakes, and other emergencies.
“We have been conducting fire and earthquake drills regularly, but the event on Wednesday night called for a more coordinated, detailed crisis management approach in dealing with other incidents causing public disturbance and threat to public safety,” Belmonte said.
Belmonte stressed the need for law enforcement agencies like the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to inform the city government of its operations and have an indemnification fund for innocent victims of such operations. These should be contained in the envisioned ordinance.
“Who will compensate the Grab drivers and employees trapped in the establishments? How about the damaged vehicles in the area? Economic losses and other damages brought about by operations such as what transpired last Wednesday should not be swept under the rug.
“While we understand the nature of such operations could lead to collateral damage, still we should not let unwitting businesses and civilians suffer in the end,” Belmonte added.
According to her, part of the plan must include helping regain the confidence of the public in the area affected by an event, especially when it transpired in a commercial or populated area.