DAVAO CITY — The Davao City Council finally approved an ordinance prohibiting and penalizing the act of leaving unattended bag in public places. The ordinance will take effect 15 days after its publication in local newspapers.
The ordinance has two prohibitions: Any person who carries, lay down an unattended bag in a public place and walks away from the same even without causing alarm and panic; and any person who carries, lay down an unattended bag in a public place and walks away, and such act causes alarm and panic.
Under the first prohibition, if bags or packages do not cause panic owners will be warned on first offense, PHP100 fine on second offense and PHP300 on third offense. The unattended bags are immediately claimed by owners before the SWAT and bomb disposal unit are not yet in the area.
Under the second prohibition, a first offense will be given a warning, PHP100 on second offense, and PHP300 on third offense.
Unattended bags will be confiscated and turned over to the police or the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). If the bag remained unclaimed within seven days, the same shall be disposed in accordance with existing law.
Councilor Maria Belen Acosta however questioned some of its provisions which according to her might burden innocent people.
“The caution is on why a neutral act such as leaving a bag unattended could be considered an offense per se even without a proper premise, even in circumstances that does not cause any disturbance to anybody,” Acosta said during her privilege speech.
But Acosta said she supports the move of the city council to further secure the city from any form of terrorism.
“I feel that making the act of leaving an unattended bag per se is an offense under this ordinance even when it does not cause any disturbance might going too far,” she said. (Funny Pearl Gajunera/PNA)
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