Uncovering CdeO’s Darkest Secrets

By Micka Angela Victoria B. Virtudazo
December 18, 2012, 10:00 am

Cagayan de Oro City, known as the “Gateway to Northern Mindanao”, is also the City of Golden Friendship because of the people’s warmth and hospitality. Due to the rapid growth of the city’s economy, it is given another distinction: “A City in Bloom, in Blossom and in Boom!”

But as much as people convince themselves that they know enough about CdeO, there’s still so much that people should be aware of. It is struggling between its two faces—one of which is its beauty, and the other of its ugly, dark side.


On the streets

Divisoria is one of the city’s main attractions; however, the historical monuments and flashing lights are not the only things to see. There are people desperately asking for change on the sidewalks they've called home.

There’s an entire community of them—kids, mothers, fathers—and they constitute 188,350 of those that rely on whatever the streets can offer them. It is a tough life, and resorting to crime is the easiest route to a bit of the good life. According to the city’s Philippine National Police office, there have been 53 reported incidents of robbery and 345 cases of theft as of April this year.

Woman and child abuse are just as prevalent. In 2007, CdeO topped other cities in Region 10 with having the highest rate of woman abuse according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Forty-two cases of rape have been filed within five months this year alongside 172 murders, 28 homicides, and 596 physical injuries.

For the average kid, Divisoria is a place for strolling and sight-seeing; but to the kid in ragged clothes, it is a place to earn a living—to beg for food and money, or pickpocket when times are hard.


On health

There is a high rate of prostitution in the locality. “There must be a concerted effort by all sectors of society to prevent young people from engaging in the flesh trade,” Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ stated after the police raid on a cybersex den in downtown CdeO last 2009.

The sex workers (commonly known as call boys and call girls) are everywhere–streets, malls, bars, and clubs. During raids conducted by authorities, it was found out that most of them are minors. Young and innocent, they willfully sell not only their bodies but their whole being to live and survive.

Prostitution may have also caused the high number of HIV/AIDS cases in Northern Mindanao which has now reached 69 and counting. In the region, CdeO beats other cities in the tally. As reported by the City Committee on Health in SunStar, a 29-year-old patient died due to HIV/ AIDS on June 2012.  


On the people

The city’s population has reached an estimated number of more than six hundred thousand according to the data released by the National Statistics Office last 2010. Although employment rate is high at 95.8 percent, 26 percent of the city’s workforce is underemployed.

However, the high employment rate does not mirror the financial status of the general public. Nearly 37 percent suffer from poverty.

It is not a wonder then that the number of secondary and tertiary-level enrollees in the city is low. Most students are forced to quit school and apply for menial jobs. From approximately 650,000 elementary students, only 230,000 get to proceed to high school. Upon graduating from secondary education, only about half of them continue to college.


The statistics aim to make people comprehend the state of their community. The numbers are revealed not to identify culprits, but destined for a better purpose—to call people to come as one and to make our already developing society take a step further.C



Increase in HIV/AIDS cases in Oro alarming by Abigail Malalis (www.sunstar.com.ph)

Statistics on Violence Against Women and Children: A Morally Rejuvenating Philippine Society?, (www.nscb.gov.ph)

Public- Private Partenrship: The Cagayan de Oro Experience DPWH- TARAS: Traffic Accident Statistics: Philippine Accident Details

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