RESORTS World Manila is facing criminal negligence charges, a massive civil lawsuit, plus possible suspension of its temporary authority to run a casino--all on account of the June 2 bedlam that caused the deaths of 37 guests and employees.
We all have to set an example out of the Resorts World tragedy, so that in the future, the public will hopefully enjoy superior protection during all kinds of emergencies in gaming zones, hotels and shopping malls.
Everybody is counting on the Department of Justice to prepare a forceful criminal action, once the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection and the National Bureau of Investigation have submitted their findings.
We are also hoping that the families who lost their loved ones will eventually file a civil lawsuit for damages.
The state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) could possibly also suspend or cancel Travellers International Hotel Group Inc.’s provisional authority to operate the casino at Resorts World.
Travellers is putting up another casino-hotel complex, dubbed Resorts World Bayshore, which is set to open next year in Entertainment City in Parañaque City.
Resorts World failed miserably on three occasions: to overwhelm and prevent the entry of the gunman, Jessie Javier Carlos, at a security checkpoint; to evacuate everybody out to safety; and to suppress the fires that Carlos set off.
We are convinced that the 37 guests and staff who died of smoke inhalation could have been saved had everybody been diligently removed from the gaming area, and had the fires there been put down without delay.
People died because Resorts World either mistakenly presumed that everybody had been safely taken out, or simply abandoned the stayers.
The danger of survivors dying of smoke inhalation could have been minimized had the fires been controlled right away to allow the rescue of those left behind.
But the problem was, nobody bothered to use the fire retardants, even if they clearly knew from the real-time monitoring of CCTV surveillance cameras that Carlos had long left the gaming area. --Rep. Johnny T. Pimentel
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on June 20, 2017.
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