ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 23, 2009) – With the spate of kidnappings-for-ransom in western Mindanao, the Social Awareness Community Service Involvement (SACSI) office of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University has launched a public awareness campaign for its students in Zamboanga City.
Brian Bango, Human Rights and Gender Task Force Program Officer, said the campaign is aimed at the safety of the students. “The importance of information dissemination must be stressed,” he said.
The campaign started off with posters pasted in several corners of the campus. The posters included information on kidnap-for-ransom and some safety tips. Along with the posters were brochures on “Making Sense of Kidnap for Ransom,” he said.
The brochure included the definition and history of kidnapping in the country that may be basic but truly helpful to clarify things better. The probable “why’s” or the probable reasons for having kidnapping rampant nowadays were mentioned.
More to it are the “Kidnapping Modus Operandi” or how the kidnappers take their targets and some measures to deter abduction.The tips also discouraged students from displaying cash or wearing expensive jewelries in public places.
A student forum on how to prevent abduction was also held recently in Zamboanga City.
“The campaign does not only make the students more vigilant as they are the most plausible targets of kidnap-for-ransom, but also makes them realize in what manner they have helped sustain a non kidnapping-free climate. It helps them not only to protect themselves but to also make them think of how they can best help even in their own simple ways how they can put kidnapping in the city to a stop,” Bango said.
He said, however, that the campaign is not a sure tool for preventing kidnapping-for-ransom. SACSI’s campaign is a follow-up of the previously released safety guidelines by the Office of Student Affairs of the university.
Last year, a nursing student of Ateneo de Zamboanga University was kidnapped and another last month. (Michelle Angela Araneta)