Pacete: Island-resort robbery


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“EXPERIENCE the Philippines” is the new tag line of the Department of Tourism. We invite tourists to Negros, our “Land of Sweet Surprises.” Our tourism industry in the province is doing fine.

Negros is noted for its food, festivals, wonderful beaches, scenic countrysides, and welcoming Negrosanons. We are agitated by the “top stories” headline “50 resort staff investigated after P3.8-million robbery.

” The burglary happened in an island-resort in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental and was reported to Cadiz City Police Station. Our SunStar Bacolod reporter (July 18, 2017) initially did not mention the name of the island-resort.

This was taken up also during the “Mercado Publico” program. Bombo Radyo (July 19) made mention of “Lakawon” during an interview with Chief Inspector Rocky Desear.

As reported, the victims are Samuel Co (former mayor of Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur) and his wife Priscilla. The couple lost an estimated P3.85 million worth of jewelry and cash amounting to P15,000.

The amount worth of jewelry is big. In Tourism 101 class, we always suggest that when you are having a vacation on a resort… do not bring your jewelry “aparador.”

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The case is still under investigation and there are two employees of the island resort who are considered “persons of interest.” The more or less 50 employees, construction workers, and boatmen have been investigated.

Cadiz City Police Station is working hard on this. We have trained tourist policemen who are capable of handling cases like this. Perhaps, the case like this could be an eye opener to owners of tourism-related establishments… hotels, restaurants, resorts, museums, souvenir shops, entertainment centers… to be very particular in hiring employees who will work in their establishments.

Tourists come to your place because you have made a good offer for their comfort, security, good food, first-class facilities, and affable staff. Island-resorts (anywhere in the Philippines) could be very attractive to modern pirates.

High end resorts usually have VIP guests who are bringing their families with them… or some beautiful girls (not their family members). The resorts are expected to have qualified security guards who have been trained like marines. They should be experts in welcoming visitors but ferocious fighters in defense of their visitors.

In modern piracy, the modern “buccaneers” and “freebooters” are sending their men to the islandresort to work there and act as spies. The spies will provide information to their “Blackbeards” (leaders) on who are the VIPs coming, their companions, their dates of arrival and departure, and the security force going with them.

Read Also:  Former Pagadian City Mayor robbed at Lakawon resort

Usually, VIPs have their itinerary outside of their official meeting. They may opt to go scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, island hopping, or playing hide and seek with their beautiful girls in coves. “Inside job” is the easiest.

The spies can be robbers themselves. They can move freely inside the island-resort because they very well know the other employees. With their duplicate keys, they can enter the cottages and loot when the VIPs are out.

In their “happy hunting ground.” When their bags are full, they can simply disappear with the assistance of boatmen sent by their “Blackbeard.” When the island-resort security force is strong and the VIP close-in guards are numerous, the “shock and awe” strategy could be applied.

The pirates would attack after the midnight party. VIPs would be taken out of their cottage using children and girls as human shields. Expect for firefight but this will not last long. Pirates move fast and accurate.

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This was done already by the Abu Sayyaf Group in their kidnapping for ransom feat… dangerous but fast money. Island resorts sometimes serve as safe haven for smugglers who trade drugs, imported goods, and even guns and ammunition. Sellers and buyers could always go to the resort as guests.

They can always give “rewards” to cooperative employees to sweeten the deal. In a way, this is good business involving bad people. In tourism, we do not encourage this to happen.

In Negros, we hope that what happened in Cadiz City would be the first and the last incident. Those in the pillars of tourism industry should reconsider new strategies. Our resource persons should include in their module safety nets to prevent “inside job” to happen. Our Philippine National Police should consider their “little act” that drives tourists away.

We are in the “land of sweet surprises.” Let us make our surprises meaningful. A surprise could be made sweeter in the second round.

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