IN a scene that has been going on for years and years and years in the Subic Bay Freeport, in broad daylight on Sunday afternoon, August 25, 2013, a group of young people were seen stealing metal fence poles and braces in a portion of the perimeter road of the Subic Bay Freeport near the 14th st. Gate.
Some older men were also in the vicinity, seemingly guarding the young thieves against possible interference from the public or law enforcement personnel. Law enforcers stationed in the gate appeared disinterested as with most motorists passing by the area.
The fence covering the stretch of the perimeter road from the junction of Rizal Highway near the Subic Bay Yacht Club up to the Kalayaan Residential area of the Subic Bay Freeport has become a regular passageway of thieves who not only prey on Freeport establishments but on the fence itself, which has become a sure source of metals that scrap dealers readily buy.
Most stolen parts of the fence, however, have been neatly sawed-off, indicating that the thieves are more organized than are perceived to be.
Bgy. officials and law enforcers are rendered helpless, if not in cahoots, with the thieves which include minors being used by adults to take advantage of a Philippine law that is being abused as a shield for minors from legal action.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Law Enforcement Department (LED) head Gen. Orlando Maddela (PNPret.) said his office lacks both men and equipment but despite the disadvantage, he and his men have been addressing the issue.
Maddela added that also yesterday, his men went after fence thieves in the area but were no match to the quicker and younger suspects who have no qualms diving into the murky and polluted waters that separate the Freeport from Olongapo City, particularly, Bgy. Kalalake, largely regarded as the haven of thieves.
He said that today he has ordered LED Forest Rangers permanently deployed along the perimeter road even as he lamented the non-cooperation of barangay officials who seem to be cuddling the suspects.
Subic Bay News publisher Vic V. Vizcocho, Jr. took pictures of the daring Sunday afternoon thievery and here are some of the images: