MANILA — Three House of Representatives’ panels on Wednesday started a joint legislative inquiry on the alleged security lapses and other failed safety protocols during the recent Resorts World attack that claimed the lives of 38 people, including the lone gunman.
The House committees on games and amusements, tourism, and public order and safety convened at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the conference hall of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3. The whole hearing is supervised by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Majority Floor Leader Rudy Fariñas.
In his opening remarks, Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop, chair of the committee on public order and safety, said the casino attack demonstrates the country’s vulnerability to terrorism.
Acop stressed the need to look into the alleged security lapses, gambling industries, as well as the crisis management of government agencies.
Games and amusements committee chair Gus Tambunting of Paranaque City said Congress should use its legislative power to beef up the security and intelligence agencies of the government to prevent a repeat of such crimes.
Tambunting said one main issue that has to be addressed is the security plan of government agencies in cooperation with the private sector.
Tambunting said the Resorts World incident has dampened the position of the Philippines as an entertainment capital.
Tambunting also raised the problem of gambling addiction, saying that “gambling in itself is not wrong (but) what is wrong is when a person becomes obsessed with gambling to the point of addiction.”
Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, chair of the tourism committee, warned of the possible consequences of the incident to the country’s tourism, especially on the safety of tourists and tourist destinations.
The incident, according to the lady solon, brings to the surface issues on tourism resiliency and tourism security.
Among those invited in the House probe include officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Resorts World Hotel and Casino, and the Pasay City building permits department, as well as civilian witnesses to shed light on several issues.
Last June 2, 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 hotel room
The gunman was identified as Jessie Carlos, Filipino, 42, separated, and a former employee of the Department of Finance (DOF).
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.