Filipinos reminded to be alert in public places
MANILA- The abduction of a Chinese woman in the Makati business district is only an isolated incident, Malacañang said Tuesday as Filipinos expressed concerns and fears over public safety.
Police said Tuesday they were investigating the incident which was caught on video and has since gone viral online.
“I think that particular incident is isolated. I have not heard of any kidnapping cases reported by the media or whether word of mouth except for the video that went viral,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters.
The incident has triggered fears among Filipinos, thousands of whom have aired their apprehensions on social media. As of Tuesday morning, the words “Makati” and “Ingat” (Be Safe) were trending on Twitter.
Contrary to Panelo’s remarks, Monday’s kidnapping is only the latest in a string of reported abductions involving Chinese nationals.
Last month, 3 Chinese nationals working in offshore gaming operations were rescued in separate operations in Laguna and Parañaque after they were allegedly kidnapped by their fellow Chinese.
A Chinese national was also rescued in Pasay City in the same month after he was abducted by his fellow countrymen.
Data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) show an increasing number of kidnap-for-ransom cases involving Chinese nationals, albeit far fewer compared to hundreds of incidents in previous decades.
In 2018, 17 Chinese nationals were kidnapped, more than double (112.5 percent) compared to 8 in 2017. In the first half of 2019, 6 Chinese nationals were kidnapped.
The incidents came amid the influx of Chinese tourists and workers in the Philippines as ties between Manila and Beijing continue to improve.
Despite the reported kidnapping incidents, Panelo maintained that it is still “definitely” safe to walk in the streets. He however reminded the public to be alert of their surroundings whenever they are out.
“We should always be alert whenever they are out. And be conscious around them if they see any suspicious men and women lurking around they should report it immediately to the police authorities,” Panelo said. - With a report from Michael Delizo, ABS-CBN News