Cebu braces for impact of attack on casino

THE Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) assured the traveling public that accommodation facilities in Cebu are tightening their security following the Resorts World Manila shooting early Friday morning.

“The hotels and resorts in Cebu are vigilant and are adding more security personnel to ensure the safety of our guests,” said HRRAC president Carlo Suarez, in a statement sent yesterday.

“Our government is on top of this situation,” Suarez said, adding that “the incident is an isolated case.”

According to reports, 38 people were confirmed dead and dozens were injured after a gunman stormed Resorts World Manila.

Philippine National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa said the gunman was not a terrorist. Authorities suspect the gunman’s motive was robbery.

The incidents in Bohol, Marawi and Manila, according to Suarez, may have a negative impact on the country’s tourism industry, especially that the country’s capital is the location of the most recent incident.

Following the incident, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña asked the City Council to come up with an ordinance that will allow police officers, whether uniformed or in plainclothes, to bring their firearms in public areas like hotels and malls.

In a Facebook post, Osmeña said that hotel and mall security that will ask legally armed personnel like police officers to deposit their firearms before entering their premise should no longer be tolerated, unless the management of the venue can guarantee public security.

Security option

The mayor is also looking into the possibility of allowing those with permit to carry firearms outside residence (PTCFOR) to carry their guns in public places.

“I understand that some are uneasy with the thought that there are people armed in civilian attire mixed in with you, but please realize that police are police whether in uniform or not and PTCFOR holders are some of the most rigorously screened people in the country. They are certainly held to a higher standard than most mall security guards,” he said.

Osmeña said he will also instruct off-duty members of the Special Weapons and Tactics to patrol malls and hotels in plainclothes.

Councilor Dave Tumulak said he will inform all security heads of malls and hotels, among other public establishments, about the mayor’s directive.

However, he said there are malls that allow uniformed policemen to bring their firearms inside their properties.

The councilor also said he will also sponsor the ordinance that the mayor mentioned.

Meanwhile, police assured the public that security in Cebu City is tight.

Chief Insp. Ramoncelio Sa-wan, the Cebu City Police Office information officer, said they coordinate with security managers of hotels on a regular basis.

Intelligence units of police and military also share information, he added.

Sawan said they are still on full alert and urged the public to report any suspicious-looking persons to police.
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