By Rod Cantiveros
At the height of the brutal slaying of Jaime Adao, Jr,, known in the Filipino community as Jimboy, coupled by the increasing homicide cases and the soaring fear to the near methamphetamine epidemic in the City of Winnipeg, the 204 Neighbourhood Watch led by Leila Castro expanded its community initiative by supporting People’s Active Response Against Crime (PARAC), a Winnipeg based community service oriented individual who unites in order to achieve and have a safe and peaceful environment.
As of this writing, there are now five chapters, namely, the West End, the North End, Maples & Keewatin, East and West Kildonan with a more than 1.8k members.
“It is overwhelming that a massive number of people have expressed interest to be involved. It is good that we have 204 Filipino Marketplace, a social media group that served as a very good communication platforms, leading to the formation of 204 Neighbourhood Watch, our initiative to be on the street for two years patrolling some areas in the City of Winnipeg. And when we formed PARAC, its 1st chapter is in the West End, right away we are able to schedule a meeting, get a venue and invite a representative of the West End Watch to join. Since last week, PARAC West End has gone a long way in terms of knowing your Kapitbahay (neighbours) and setting the plans by taking care of their own community. Other PARAC chapters have been active and I am happy that the members are working hard to make our city safer to live and to raise a family, “ said Leila Castro.
And in the aftermath of the killing of the Tech- Voc student, Jaime Adao, Jr., last March 3 at their home in McGee St, two forums were held to discuss the crime situation in the City of Winnipeg and to calm down the on-going fears among the Filipino families in the community.
“The forums we have had were, in a way, an assessment of the capabilities of the government officials we elected, to challenge them to do better; to let the members of our community know the law of engagement with the police authorities and our rights in the role of law and how we protect ourselves,” explained Castro. She added that being one of the administrators of 204 Filipino Marketplace, seeing the correlated incidents posted by the members about break-ins, seeing many drug paraphernalia in their patrolling and reading the crime news, she believed that the city we live is not safe especially the worsening meth crises.
With PARAC as a community initiative to look after the safety of our community, Castro reacted to the so-called “Revolving Door Justice” system when criminals go to prisons and then released to live again in the community: “We are stating an initiative towards wider conversation and to unify people to challenge the flaws in the law and the systems if terms of if they indeed protecting the people or they are making Manitoba as a haven for members of the community committing and repeating crimes. The current law seems to be tolerant and not serving the purpose to deterrent crime. At present, the community is starting to experience the effects of the worsening meth crisis resulting in numerous random attacks and even death. The long waiting time (4 months backlog) in the addiction treatment centre makes the situation even worse.”
“It is painful that it was the tragic death of an innocent child that prompted the Filipino community to call for a change. We feel that both the system and the law failed the boy. We are all crying justice for Jimboy,” expressed Castro.
There is one Main PARAC Facebook page and 5 chapters created with the following FB pages.
1. WEST END
2. NORTH END
3. MAPLES & KEEWATIN
4. EAST KILDONAN
5. WEST KILDONAN
Everyone is welcome to join. Just comment and someone from the group will add you.
Photos by Ron Cantiveros | Filipino Journal