Calbayog – Once a paradise of a  place, today shunned for its succession of  unsolved killings

Published June 7, 2019, 12:05 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



Elinando B. Cinco
Elinando B. Cinco

Calbayog City – my hometown – has undergone a radical but perilous transformation.

From a placid place of residents candidly religious, shy, and living a life that was almost monastic, to what is now pictured as a gun-wielding kind of a city whose one foot is already Inside the door leading to perdition.

All because of a series of killings – most of them unsolved – that ominously started during the millennial year 2000.

The victims? A hodgepodge of personalities: From top city officials, an RTC judge and barangay officers, to traders and small-time businessmen.

Sadly, all the local PNP and city officials could say is, “The assailants are hired killers.” No significant arrests are made.

A city of almost 200,000 residents, that kind of an alibi bespeaks how poor and inefficient are the intelligence operations of those whose urgent task is to collar suspects and bring them to justice..

One of those genuinely concerned about the series of murders is Bishop Isabelo C. Abarquez, DD of the Diocese of Calbayog.

In homilies he has delivered, as well as in official letters to the city officialdom, the prelate asked them to do their utmost to stop the killings which are now giving Calbayog a shameful reputation.

There was an interesting situation during the presidential electoral campaign in 2016.

An aspirant went to campaign in Calbayog, but was told by his local organizers to cancel his planned rally because of the volatile peace and order situation in the city at the time.

Fuming mad, the candidate moaned, “This place should instead be called “Killbayog!”

On top of the current unsolved murders, a landed local family has contributed to the rising crime statistics.

Recently, Vicky, a lady-dentist of the big Rumohr family was gunned down by unknown assailants while driving her pick-up truck.

A few months before that shooting incident, her niece was shot – the triggerman again mysterious – as she stepped out of a bakery after buying a loaf  of bread. She died on the spot.

In both crimes, the police, as usual, faced a blank wall in trying to piece together a handful of leads.

But despite the obnoxious image that is slapped on their face owing to those killings,  Calbayognons fervently pray that the mayhem will end.

The get-together parties of families and childhood friends are what loving residents sorely miss.

True, many Calbayognons have left their birthplace to live elsewhere, and some even ventured to America. But deep within them they still have that longing for Calbayog, and that someday they will return to the good old place, their beloved Calbayog.

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PAGING ‘PAG-ASA’ TO OPEN A WEATHER UPDATE STATION IN CALBAYOG. An innumerable number of Calbayog professionals and businessmen, as well as those doing business  in the city are urging PAGASA to open a weather update station in Calbayog. This metropolis is now the center of business and government regional affairs in Eastern Visayas. It is a vital service of the government, considering the hundreds of travelers and an untold amount of cargoes that pass through the city every day.

Calbayog has now become a transportation, communication, and cargo handling center in Region 8. Look at these: PAL Manila flights daily; daily CeBGo flights to and from Cebu; daily Fast-Cat service to Cebu-Calbayog and back; a ro-ro cargo shipping service between Calbayog and Bogo, Cebu; two regularly scheduled shipping lines between Calbayog and Cebu City;and counting the hundreds of passenger buses plying and passing thru the city from Manila, Tacloban, and the provinces of Mindanao.

People who travel via these entities, certainly, are always desirous to monitor their cargoes and travel schedules safety.