Bacolod City forms task force against vandalism

Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez (File photo/G. Y. Masculino)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY — Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez announced Thursday the formation of a task force aimed at curtailing vandalism throughout the city.

The action comes in response to incidents observed across various public and private spaces, including walls, doors, bridges, overpasses, and even school properties.

Headed by Benitez and Vice Chairperson City Legal Officer Atty. Romeo Carlos Ting Jr., the Task Force Vandalism is charged with enforcing City Ordinance 534, also known as the Anti-Vandalism Ordinance of 2011.

“Vandalism adversely affects the quality of life, projecting an image of disorder and lawlessness,” Benitez said. The graffiti-related damage also incurs significant clean-up costs for both the city and property owners annually.

The executive order stipulates a collaborative information and dissemination drive by the City Legal Office (CLO), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSSD), City Tourism Office (CTO), and Public Information Office (PIO) in schools and barangays.

Police visibility will be heightened in high-risk areas to deter vandalism, with the DSSD handling minors apprehended for such offenses.

Barangays are instructed to enforce curfew ordinances for minors to prevent unsupervised nighttime activities that pose safety and wellness risks.

Additionally, clean-up and repainting drives are encouraged, involving youth groups and police cooperation.

The Department of Education (DepEd) is tasked with implementing anti-vandalism measures and fostering dialogue about vandalism’s negative impact.

Benitez envisions a community embodying cleanliness, health, wellness, and cultural appreciation, free from vandalism.

The task force also includes the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Public Order and Safety Office (POSO), Bacolod Traffic Authority Office (BTAO), and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Recently, a 30-year-old Filipino-American and three minors were apprehended for vandalism. The BCPO has offered monetary rewards for information leading to vandals’ capture, exemplified by the recent payout to officers who arrested a Filipino-American claiming his acts were artistic.