SENATOR Edgardo Angara called on the administration to overhaul the country’s security forces to renew tourist confidence following the bloody hostage crisis last Monday.

Angara said security problem has become the major deterrent for foreign nationals to visit the country.

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“Government must be more active in renewing tourist confidence. The protection of tourists is crucial if we want to boost local tourism,” he said.

“The Philippines has limitless potential for tourism owing to our country’s national beauty. It would be such a waste if we can’t attract tourists because our security is weak,” he added.

According to the lawmaker, the government must invest budget for the training of police personnel and modernizing the equipment of the Philippine National Police (PNP) which was sorely lacking during the hostage incident.

Police operatives conducted the rescue assault without armor vest, Kevlar helmets, night vision goggles, gas masks and even ladders.

He also said the PNP’s manual in handling hostage crisis should be reviewed and its procedures fine-tuned.

“The incident was a gruesome display of how unprepared our policemen are in dealing with a crisis. There was a lack of coordination and no crowd control. No one seemed to be on top of the situation. I think everyone would agree that the situation could have been handled better.”

At the same time, Angara observed the need for the media to regulate its coverage of such events.

The media, especially the broadcast sector, has been under fire for its blow-by-blow account of the 12-hour bus siege which was said to have pushed the hostage-taker to retaliate against the police.

Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo during the hearing, pointed out that the media’s live coverage of the hostage crisis could have derailed the “preemptive advantage of the PNP” to know the movements of the hostage taker.

But Robredo clarified they are not in favor of a “media blackout” in the coverage of such incident. (AH/Sunnex)