‘Tambay’ issue best addressed at the local level

Authorities – including the Philippine National Police – can best address the issue of “tambays” (loiterers) at the local level, without having to elevate it to the national level.

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson stressed this Thursday after noting the arrests of such loiterers were based on local ordinances.

“If they say, being ‘tambay’ violates local ordinances, keep it local. The Chief, PNP doing all the explaining and justifying instead of the concerned local chiefs of police only adds up to the suspicion and criticisms,” said Lacson, who headed the Philippine National Police from 1999 to 2001. 

He added it would be better to leave it to local chiefs of police who can implement local ordinances under the provisions of the PNP Law.

Lacson cited the highly successful anti-criminality experience of Davao City under then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, which gained widespread and almost unanimous public support from local residents.

“The highly successful Davao City anti-criminality experience under then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte gained widespread, almost unanimous public support from Davaoeños, and as recent history tells us, even catapulted him to where he is now,” he said.

A similar success story involves Marikina City, where the administration of then Mayor Bayani Fernando managed to address the issue as part of its anti-criminality campaign.

The experiences in Davao and Marikina Cities could be a “good template” for the PNP to replicate, Lacson pointed out.

Earlier reports indicated the PNP cracked down on “tambays” following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive against people loitering in the streets even at night.

But PNP chief Oscar Albayalde was quoted as saying the recent arrest of “tambays” is due to their violations of ordinances, and not because they are just bystanders.

Albayalde cited examples of violations such as smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages in public places, and going shirtless in public.