VEHICLE theft in Metro Manila remains unabated as the Philippines has crowned itself as “the highest kidnap risk country for Chinese in Asia.”
This notoriety surfaced on Tuesday at the hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and from a presentation in a business forum on crisis management of a survey conducted by NYA International.
Senior Supt. Arnold Dalin Gunnaco, officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), said a total of 3,011 cases of stolen motorcycles were reported in the first quarter of 2015, or 12 percent more than the 2,691 reported cases in the same period last year.
In a 32-page report presented to the committee chaired by Sen. Grace Poe, it was learned that vehicle thieves now prefer to target motorcycles than cars.
Incidents of car thefts on the other hand, decreased 13 percent this year with 341 reported cases compared to 392 cases in the first quarter of 2014.
According to the latest NYA International survey, Asia is now the world’s top kidnap for ransom and extortion hub.
“Asia is the number region in kidnapping. Most people think that it’s Latin America, but that was two and a half years ago. Actually Asia is trending (in kidnapping) and the reason is primarily because of India and the Philippines,” Daniel Bould, Regional Director in Crisis Management at Aon said during the Asia CEO Forum on Tuesday.
Aon’s Crisis Management practice specializes in risk management solutions for terrorism, political risk, kidnap, ransom and extortion, among others.
“India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Bangladesh continue to drive the significant numbers of kidnap for ransom cases in Asia, accounting for 74 percent of cases in the region,” Bould said.
He added that the Philippines is currently ranked as the highest kidnap risk country for Chinese nationals following two high profile kidnapping incidents in September 2014. This prompted the Chinese government to issue warnings for its citizens against travelling to the country.
On September 14 last year, the PNP released figures showing that from January to August 2014, Chinese or Hong Kong citizens account for 17 of 51 individuals kidnapped.
In Metro Manila, seven out of 10 kidnap victims are Chinese-Filipinos.
At the Senate hearing, Gunnaco said that based on police figures, the daily average number of cars stolen in Metro Manila is a1.4 vehicles and three per day for motorcycles.
He added that from December 29, 2014 to May 3, 2015, there are 709 incidents of carnapping reported in Metro Manila. The Quezon City Police District recorded the highest number with 38 cars and 183 motorcycles or a total of 203 vehicles stolen.
The Southern Police District (SPD) placed second with 16 cars and 164 motorcycles for a total of 173 incidents; followed by the Northern Police District (NPD) with seven cars and 163 motorcycles or a total of 163 vehicles taken by thieves.
Manila Police District recorded 3 cars and 68 motorcycles for a total of 77 vehicles, while Eastern Police District (EPD) has 36 cars and 183 motorcycles for a total of 93 incidents.
The PNP-HPG also reported that there are 12 carnapping syndicates operating in Metro Manila and nearby provinces namely; McLester Reyes Carnapping Group; Salvartiera Carnapping Group; Landrito Group; ONad Santiago Group; Bernard Pating Group; Bonifacio Carnapping Group; Meneses Group; Nabor Group; Jay-R “Bait” Esguerra Group; Teologo Group; Pando Group and the Galang Group.
Poe said that a stronger law that will provide for stiffer penalties could address carnapping problem in the country.
The senator earlier filed Senate Bill No. 2756, which seeks to repeal Republic Act No. 6539 or the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972, proposing that a person charged with car theft shall be denied bail when the evidence of guilt is strong.