April 22, 2024

The dumping of cadavers along the roads of Benguet does not only show how perpetrators disregard the sanctity of life but also an affront to the right of communities to live in peace.
Last week, two more bodies were retrieved from ravines in La Trinidad, particularly at Lamut junction in Beckel and Lamtang, Puguis.
It is unfortunate that this event happened just few weeks after three bodies were retrieved from the ravines along the roads in Tuba – Kennon Road and the newly-paved San Pascual-Nangalisan Road.
Police investigations disclosed that some of the retrieved bodies were leaders or members of drug groups and others are previous drug surrenderers.
We could not fathom what’s with the roads of Benguet that make them a favorite dumping site of cadavers.
Late last year, eight bodies were also retrieved from the ravine along the Palispis-Aspiras Highway, also within the jurisdiction of Tuba.
It is unfortunate for a province, considered among the most peaceful areas in the country, to endure these alarming occurrences.
These events do not only taint the peaceful reputation of Benguet but also sow fear among people living in areas where these bodies are dumped.
Aside from depriving people of their right to live in peace, these crimes dealt a telling blow on the efforts of communities to market their places as tourist destinations. They are not only left in fear, they are deprived of opportunities to have a decent source of livelihood.
The Benguet roads where cadavers are often abandoned serve as major arteries to some of the established and emerging destinations.
The Tuba side of the Palispis-Aspiras Highway, for example, offers stunning views of nature, which is why several view decks, souvenir shops, and now, coffee shops, have been established along the highway.
In La Trinidad, Puguis hosts a massive garden that has become one of the town’s eco-tourism destinations. Beckel, which is traversed by Ambuklao Road, is also the gateway to Kabayan and Bokod if one is coming from Baguio City. These towns are among the most frequented areas, especially because of their mountains.
Benguet has never witnessed a series of killings in recent memory and it might be just a matter of time before a culture of fear or culture of impunity envelopes this peaceful province if the dumping of cadavers is not stopped.
By some indications, most of the cadavers found are victims of extra-judicial executions and some quarters could have an idea who are behind some of these cases, which means they are in the best position to help put an end to this unlawful act.
It is high time stakeholders in the province get their acts together and assert that their roads be respected.
The private sector must come in and help local government units address this concern, through the installation of technologies to deter people with criminal tendencies from carrying out their ill motives.
As most of the roads in Benguet have already been paved, they need to be installed with streetlights and close circuit television surveillance cameras, which will surely help in the peacekeeping efforts of the police and the communities.
These technologies are a boost to the manpower of the police and barangay peacekeeping action teams.
LGUs and the police need the support of other stakeholders, financial or material provision, to free the roads of Benguet from being the dumpsites of bodies.