Hamada killing alarms business sector
AS POLICE investigators continue to dig deeper into the killing of businesswoman Junko Hamada, business, church, and government leaders expressed concerns that the unsolved killings will affect the image of Cebu and discourage people from visiting the island.
Cebu Business Club president Gordon Alan Joseph said the spate of killings in Cebu could hamper the progress of the business sector.
“Business and society need peace and order to flourish and there is a prevailing perception of lawlessness and impunity in Cebu and the Philippines today,” he told Cebu Daily News in a text message.
Hamada, 71, was the president of Beams Philippines Export Corp., a furniture and home decoration manufacturer and exporter based in Talisay City.
She was shot by two unidentified assailants riding-in-tandem on a motorcycle along N. Bacalso Avenue in Cebu City at around 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Hamada was on board her Montero sport utility vehicle and was on her way home to Barangay Capitol Site in Cebu City when shot and killed.
Although he said he does not know Hamada or her business, Joseph said any attack against those in the business sector is a major concern.
“The Cebu killings are starting to become shocking, reminiscent of the killings that are happening in the early 2000s allegedly perpetuated by a death squad,” Joseph said.
Effect on investors
Based on their company website, Beams Philippines Export Corp. was established in 1995 and produces for export furniture and home decorations made of natural materials like wood, stone, native, and wire and iron.
According to Philexport-Cebu Executive Director Federico Escalona, the company Beams Philippines Export Corp. is not a member of their group.
He also did not personally know Hamada.
In her driver’s license that was recovered by the police at the crime scene, Hamada was identified as a Filipino although her name is Japanese.
In a post on his Facebook Page, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said Japanese investors may lose interest in doing business in the city following the killing of Hamada.
“This is very, very bad. Word travels very quickly among Japanese investors. I am worried people will lose their jobs,” said Osmeña.
Over the last seven months, at least 131 persons have been killed in shooting incidents in Cebu, based on a tally made by CDN.
Hamada was the third person who ran a business and the ninth woman to have fallen victim to the series of killings in Cebu that have mostly remained unsolved.
Chief Insp. Randy Caballes, station commander of Mambaling Police Station, said they were looking at personal grudge and business rivalry as the possible motive behind the ambush-slay of Hamada.
Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Cebu, meanwhile, said he was saddened by the continued killings in Cebu.
“Acts of violence are always acts of violence whatever the circumstances may be. We always consider this as another violent incident that has tarnished the reputation of our city as a peaceful place,” he said when sought for comment on Hamada’s killing.
Killings per se are against morals, Tan said, that when it involves vulnerable sectors like women and the elderly, killings become even worse and a step down from the moral ladder.
Tan enjoined the public to earnestly pray the Oratio Imperata to end the spate of killings in Cebu that was recently issued by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.
The Oratio Imperata or mandatory prayer is being used in all Masses in the archdiocese.
Call to get involved
Meanwhile, Duros Group vice chairman Fe Barino called on the business community to do its part to help solve these killings.
As somebody in the business sector and a woman herself, Barino expressed sympathy over the killing of Hamada and raised concern over her own safety as well.
“This is a call for the business community to get involved. Dili na ni basta-basta (This is not just any incident). We cannot just keep quiet. We need to do something about what’s happening to Cebu now,” she said in an interview yesterday during the groundbreaking of their new project in Cebu City.
Barino, who is also the chairperson of the Commission of the Laity of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said those in the business sector should lend its support to government efforts against these killings.
An advocate of drug recovery, she said that since most killings are linked to illegal drugs, there should be more support for recovery saying that it is possible.
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