Kidnappings-for-ransom continue because groups or syndicates make big money by snatching people and demanding payment for their release, according to Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd.
Roxas on Thursday admitted that the kidnapping problem had not been eradicated because of its “profitability.”
“Ang isang gawain ay patuloy na nangyayari dahil profitable. Kung hindi naman profitable yan or hindi naman maganda or madali ang gawaing yan ay titigil ang isang tao. Pero kung walang parusa ay patuloy na gagawin yang gawain yan [It continues because it is profitable. If it is not, people who do it will stop doing it. If no one gets punished, kidnappings will contine] That is the reason why certain acts of criminality continue,” he said in an interview late on Wednesday.
The DILG chief noted that if kidnappers are made to pay, abductions for ransom would be reduced.
Besides killings and other violent crimes, government records indicated that even kidnapping cases rose to 38 as of August this year from only 31 in the same period last year.
Teresita Ang-See, founding chairperson of the Movement for
Restoration of Peace and Order, earlier expressed concern over the rise in kidnappings particularly in Metro Manila, Laguna and Cavite. She attributed the increase in kidnapping cases to the ability of syndicates to recruit more members.
Last week, the body of Benito Chao was found in Santa Maria, Bulacan, a few hours after he was abducted in Caloocan City.
Reports said the kidnappers contacted Chao’s family and demanded a P20-million ransom. The family asked that the ransom be lowered to P15 million. The kidnappers, however, learned that the Chao family referred the case to the Anti-Kidnapping Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP). They then shot the businessman in the head and later texted his family where to find his body.
On Wednesday, Roxas, Ang-See and PNP chief Alan Purisima met with the local Chinese community to discuss security concerns of Chinese-Filipino businessmen who feel that they are being preyed upon by criminal elements.
But Malacañang on Thursday said these concerns are being addressed by authorities.
“The PNP is exerting all efforts to crack down on the criminal elements behind these kidnapping-for-ransom cases . . . and this is what they’re working on now in terms of intensified police efforts,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
Roxas said the cooperation of the community is needed to help authorities reduce, if not eradicate, kidnappings. He added that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will implement its “one target, one team” group in curbing kidnapping cases.
Under this scheme, a group of five to eight law enforcers will be created to investigate each case of kidnapping. Each group will focus on a particular case until it is resolved.
He explained that the scheme started during investigation of the killing of race car driver Enzo Pastor.
Purisima, meanwhile, gave assurances that the PNP will monitor kidnapping cases in the country.
“We will assure that we will renew all these things.
Operational details including the personnel, we will change the strategies and if needed, we will adopt old techniques,” he said.
The PNP also assured foreign investors that they can do business safely even amid the upsurge of crime incidents in the country in the past months during a meeting of police officials and members of the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) on Wednesday.
Purisima said the operational mission of the police is to create an atmosphere of industrial peace that is conducive to economic growth and job generation.
The PNP chief expressed optimism that the partnership between the police and JFC will translate to a better cooperation.
The JFC is composed of some 2,000 business entities operating in the Philippines.
These business entities are affiliated with the American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese and Korean chambers of commerce, including the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc., (PAMURI).
Present at the meeting were Ian Porter of the Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce; Edward Eun-Gap Chang, Korean Chamber of Commerce; John Forbes of the American Chamber of Commerce; Hubert d’ Aboville, European Chamber of Commerce; Nobuo Fujii, Japanese Chamber of Commerce; and Simoun Ung, American Chamber of Commerce.