Cotabato city bans motorist helmet-wearing

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A law enforcing task force in Cotabato City has banned motorist wearing helmets, including wearing headgears in streets and public places, after the car bomb explosion that killed eight people and wounded 30 others hit the city on August 5.

The ban took effect on Thursday night, after a special meeting convened by officials of the crime-busting Task Force here. It drew up various measures to prevent a repeat of the bloody blast and thwart violent acts usually perpetrated by face-concealing individuals.

City police Director Senior Supt. Rolen Balquin said “the enforcing of this policy is our security measures and it is not made for our own seek, but for the majority in this city.”

The task forces, comprising police, Marine contingents and barangay officials also bans the act of long-time parking in busy places and streets, particularly if nobody claims ownership of such vehicle. It took as premise the staging of the Aug. 5 blast through the detonation of explosive devices rigged to a car abandoned along the city’s busy Sinsuat Avenue.

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Senior Supt. Rolen Balquin, city police director, task force agents will accost helmet-wearing persons and tow away for impoundment vehicles parked or abandoned long enough in streets and public places.

Helmet-wearing has earlier been made optional among motorist in this city and was observed during the nine-year term of former city Mayor Muslimin Sema, as many crimes were committed by headgear-wearing criminals.

Sema was attacked by two helmet-wearing gunmen riding a motorcycle in tandem along a street near his residence here, during his time last year as vice mayor. He sustained bullet wounds in the upper parts of his body. His family believed the attack was politics-driven.

Police investigators were pursuing the mayor’s claim that the recent attack was meant for his family. His sister, city administrator Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, was passing by aboard her brother’s bulletproof vehicle when the bomb exploded. Her two motorcycle-riding escorts died in the blast.

It is also established in the meeting the ban of firing any kind of guns and even firecrackers in the city. MOH I. SAADUDDIN

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