SOLVE KILLINGS BEFORE TRADERS LEAVE CEBU
BIZMEN URGE POLICE
- Although investor confidence remains high, local traders believe spate of killings will have negative impact if they remain unsolved
- Tourism sector alarmed too, urge authorities to secure the “bread and butter” industry of the local economy
Local business leaders have called on the police to quickly solve the spate of killings in Cebu and not wait for traders to do their business elsewhere because of fear.
Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) President, Stanley Go, said this should be the priority of law enforcement and local government units (LGUs) in Metro Cebu.
“We should not wait until everybody will be scared, and will be somewhere else because it’s no longer safe here,” Go said.
Albeit the unresolved murders, with suspects still unidentified or at-large or both, has not directly affected yet the business sector in Cebu, Go and the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) joined the calls for the police to solve them.
Go underscored the importance of preventing fear from resulting in any significant impact to businessmen and investors.
He also said police and local government officials should work hand-in-hand for the speedy investigation and resolution of the murder incidents in Metro Cebu.
“As long as there is an investigation, and closure on these cases, and perpetrators are caught, business confidence will be there. Business needs to be assured that government and police are doing something about it,” Go told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview.
However, Go added that as of the moment, the business sector’s confidence with the police in keeping the peace and order situation in Metro Cebu remains “high.”
“So far, the business sector is not in a ‘panic mode.’ Our confidence with the police is still high,” he explained.
Tourism players in Cebu also urged the police to do something to resolve the killings as soon as possible in order to preserve the “bread and butter” industry of the local economy.
Carlo Anton Suarez, president of the HRRAC, said they worry not only on the impact of the killings on the tourism image of the province to foreign tourists but mostly for the safety of their workers.
“With regards to the killings, it is not simply tourist relations that I am concerned of … We would like our employees to feel safe when they come to work, in their workplace and of course in their homes,” Suarez told CDN in a separate text message.
“We need to make sure that our LGUs address peace and order in the entire community, tourism will just be secondary. What we want is peace and order not only for the tourists but for us, locals,” he added.
At present, Suarez said the reported high count of violence in Cebu has not affected the tourism industry yet.
“But in time that the killings would really involve our tourists, then that will directly have an impact on us. We need to protect the industry that [serves as] our bread and butter,” Suarez said.
Tourist arrivals up
Provincial Tourism Officer Joselito “Boboi” Costas also shared Suarez’s sentiments.
“Normally, that is really the reaction of tourists to avoid destinations when they see for themselves it is not safe. But I don’t see if the numbers are decreasing or increasing, I have yet to see the statistics,” Costas said.
But despite this, he revealed that Cebu tourist arrivals have increased to at least 17 percent from 2016 to 2017.
“We are always growing from that figure every year,” added Costas.
Over the past six months, at least 112 deaths have been reported in Cebu of which, 92 have been gunned down by unidentified assailants.
In a tally made by Cebu Daily News, Cebu’s highly urbanized cities have the most number of fatalities.
Cebu City, which is the capital and the center of commerce in the province, has the most number of persons killed since February with 27 deaths.
Mandaue City recorded the third highest number of deaths with 12, followed by Talisay City with 5.
Lapu-Lapu City, known as an upbeat tourism district with its high-end hotels and pristine beaches, recorded 24 deaths or the second highest number of killings in the province for the same period.
Davide: Create special team
For his part, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III reiterated his call to law enforcement agencies to strengthen their investigation, and even suggested for the police to create a special team to focus on resolving murder incidents.
Davide, who chairs the Regional Peace and Order Council-7 (RPOC -7), said the spate of killings was already alarming.
“That is really bad. Before, about three months or four months ago, I said it was alarming. Now it is still alarming,” Davide told reporters in a press conference yesterday, shortly before he made a speech for the province’s 449th Founding Anniversary.
“The police should have a special investigating team nga moreact gyod dayon ba and to pursue on the leads. From what I observed, the police seems helpless kay wala lage suspects kay kasagaran sa mga perpetrators kay mga riding in tandem ug naay tabon,” he added.
Like Go, Davide said he still trusted the police to do something about the killing spree in Cebu.
“Sa pagkakaron, yes, atong itugyan nila ang pagsulbad sa criminality diri. But kinahanglan pud sila og cooperation sa mga tawo,” he said.
But unlike Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, Davide opted not to comment on the insinuations being raised that some policemen are behind the spate of killings in Metro Cebu.
“I am not prepared to draw any conclusion. Ato lang na tan-awon (We will see) with the investigation,” Davide said. /with USJ-R Intern Gerard Vincent Francisco.
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