Or more precisely, the transforming safety of Barangay Batong Malake. But whatever name you use, it doesn’t change the fact that the area in and around UPLB has morphed into an environment whose very air reeks of death. The viewpoint of this change is grounded on the fact that I have been a student for several years in that university.
Twelve semesters in all. And perhaps more than a hundred hours of them spent under the night sky of Los Baños. I remember taking walks inside the campus in the wee hours of the morning with faculty members, treading the length of Lopez Avenue after some org-sponsored parties, or even walking the darker streets of Umali Subdivision just to accompany an acquaintance or an intimate home. The main buster of worry was the fact that LB seems not to sleep at all. People walk the Grove area even after midnight to go to a computer shop, or eat, or sometimes just to idle beside those stalls selling balut and cigarettes.
But times achanging. Several deaths in a span of one semester and the UPLB world seem now a dangerous place. The media may be honking their noisy horns now but it seems a necessity. Authorities better heed to all these clamors for tighter security inside and around the areas of UPLB. One cannot simply blame the highly heterogeneous population in that area. The presence of the university draws people from different parts of the country. It is up to those tasked to uphold peace and order and prevent untoward events to continually adapt to these conditions. After all, it is their call, it is their duty.
Let this concluding semester serve as a hard lesson for the authorities and for the people as well and remind them that safety is not something we only talk about in idle times, but something we should keep in mind all the times. And something which must begin in ourselves.