MANILA, June 5 — A senior administration lawmaker on Monday called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to review security and emergency protocols with the management of hotels, malls, arenas, and similar establishments to prevent a repeat of the Resorts World attack.
In a statement, Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said security, as well as emergency preparedness, should be included in the review process of the PNP and BFP.
“The Resorts World tragedy should serve as an eye opener for the PNP, BFP and these business establishments to take a serious look at their security measures and readiness to handle emergency situations such as a fire,” Castelo said.
Castelo, who chairs the House committee on Metro Manila development, said it is was a serious breach of security that one man was able to bring inside a first- class hotel a high-powered firearm and gallons of gasoline to set the hotel on fire.
Early Friday, a lone gunman, armed with an M-4 rifle, barged into the luxury casino hotel, shooting indiscriminately and causing panic among hotel guests.
He also set fire gaming tables and stole PHP113 million worth of casino chips, which were later recovered. Authorities later found the gunman burned beyond recognition in a fifth floor room.
The police identified the gunman as Jessie Carlos, Filipino, 42, separated, and a former employee of the Department of Finance.
The police said at least 37 hotel guests and employees died of suffocation due to the fire while at least 78 were injured and brought to various hospitals.
“But what is more tragic is that 37 persons died not from any bullet fired by the gunman, but from stampede and suffocation,” Castelo said.
The lawmaker pointed out that based on eyewitness accounts and videos of hotel guests, the hotel personnel, including security, were not prepared to handle a fire emergency situation which led to “panic, stampede, suffocation and deaths”.
“Did the hotel have an emergency evacuation plan in case of fire? Who are in charge? Was it carried out?” Castelo queried.
“Still it would do well for the PNP to work closely with agencies providing security services to these businesses to tighten security and establish clear protocols without causing too much public inconvenience,” Castelo added. (FMC/PNA)