OPINION: Tourism and peace and order

Ellen T. Tordesillas

Posted at Feb 01 2017 01:52 PM

Congratulations to the people who made the staging of the 65th 
Miss Universe in the Philippines a rousing success.

The publicity that the Philippines got from the pageant and the goodwill generated from the 86 beauties were a bonanza for Philippine tourism.

Last Monday’s pageant financier former Ilocos Sur Chavit Singson said the $14 million shelled out for the event will return in terms of more visitors to the country that are expected to fill up hotels, resorts airline seats, restaurant and other tourism-related businesses.

The more visitors, the more Filipinos would be employed for a more vibrant Philippine economy.

Now, when visitors come, will they feel safe and leave the Philippines with beautiful memories of the country to share with others?

Or will they return to their country with harrowing stories like what the Koreans who came to play golf last December 30 but were victimized by policemen who raided the house they were staying in a subdivision in Angeles City?

The video of the raid was presented by Senator Panfilo Lacson during a Senate hearing and it showed a Korean running scared from a pursuing policeman.

The investigation revealed that seven police officers assigned to Angeles City Police Station 5 participated in what turned out to be a case of robbery and extortion. They took the three Koreans' shoes, golf clubs, jewelry, and cash amounting to P 450,000, including the P300,000 that the visitors had to borrow from a friend, who had to withdraw from his ATM.

Nothing could top in gall the murder by police officers of Korean shipping executive Jee Ick-Joo last October but was known publicly only recently.

Jee was abducted from his house and was brought to Camp Crame where he was strangled to death inside a vehicle owned by the wife of the arresting police officer, Senior Police Officer Ricky Sta. Isabel, a few meters away from the office as well as residence of PNP Chief Director General Ronald de la Rosa.

Being implicated as mastermind of the contemptible operation is Police Superintendent Rafael Dumlao III, a ranking member of the PNP-Anti-Illegal Drug Group, the banner unit in President Duterte’s war against illegal drugs that has so far claimed the lives of some 7,000 people almost all of them did not have the benefit of due process.

Surely there are members of the police force who have remained honest and true to their sworn duty as protectors of the people but the perversity of some (Duterte said 40 percent of the police force are corrupt) have severely tainted the image of the institution.

Many analysts attribute the impunity of rogue policemen to the President’s blanket assurance to the police that he will protect them and will not allow any of them to go to the jail in executing his war against illegal drugs.

This policy has created a monster that they now have to tame. The PNP chief has suspended the anti-illegal drugs operation while they embark on a purge of rogue policemen.

The President knows fully well that all the gains generated from Monday’s Miss Universe pageant would be wiped out by a breakdown of peace and order.

During the election campaign, in an assembly of travel operators led by now Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo Teo, Duterte explained that his promised crusade against illegal drugs stemmed from his belief that it’s the root of many crimes. He said that no tourist will come to the country if they feel they won’t be safe.

He gave as an example Mexico where we read a lot about drug cartels.“Bakit pupunta ka ba sa Mexico ngayon? (Why would you go to Mexico now?) Are you going to Mexico with all the kidnappings and killings there?” he said much to the consternation of Mexican Ambassador Julio Camarena Villaseñor, who, just a few minutes before Duterte arrived, was enjoining everybody to visit Mexico.

Tell that to the Koreans.
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Blog: www.ellentordesillas.com
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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.