DESPITE the heavy presence of Moro rebels, militants and lawless elements the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has the lowest crime volume in the country, police figures revealed over the weekend.
The ARMM that comprises the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi is a known bastion of Moro separatist rebel groups, al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and other lawless elements.
Figures from the Philippine National Police-Directorate for Investigative and Detective Man–agement (PNP-DIDM) showed that only 2,455 crimes were recorded in the ARMM in 2013.
The said figure is about one percent of the 241,644 crimes logged by the PNP for Metro Manila in 2013.
PNP-DIDM executive officer, C/Supt. Augusto Marquez, said their validating team was surprised to find that the Southern region has the lowest crime volume among the 17 regions of the country.
“We were surprised to hear that… we jokingly reported to the National Police Commission (Napolcom) that our tourists would want to come to
ARMM,” Marquez said.
However, the DIDM official said further validation made by their team revealed that culture may have played a big part on why crime volume in the said region were the lowest amongst the regions in the country.
“We found out that because of culture, people will not report [crimes]to the police, they consult their village chiefs because once they report it to the police, it is tantamount to a declaration of war,” Marquez said.
“There is police station in the ARMM and the last police blotter entry was in 1974 . . . and we told our team to get the blotter and we will donate it to the PIO (Public Information Office) or to the museaum,” Marquez said.
The DIDM said total crime volume nationwide at the end of 2013 stood at 1,036,572.
Most of the crimes recorded for 2013 were non-index crimes or crimes that are violation of special laws, with 577, 786 cases. Index crimes or crimes against persons and property such as murder and theft numbered 458, 786.