The Resorts World Manila (RWM) management on Wednesday admitted that it has no crisis plan in case of multiple emergencies such as a gunman wreaking havoc and setting the place on fire.
Armeen Gomez, RWM’s chief of security, made the admission during a House probe of the Resorts World tragedy wherein a lone gunman identified as Jessie Carlos set casino tables on fire and shot LED screens around 12:30 a.m. on June 2, resulting in a fire that killed 37 employees and guests.
“We have a crisis plan in a specific case of a shooter or a fire, but we don’t have a crisis plan wherein there is an active shooter and a fire happening at the same time. I have to say that when I saw it myself, it was really confusing,” Gomez told lawmakers.
He said the police operation against the gunman and rescue efforts for those trapped in the building were also hampered by lack of equipment such as gas masks.
Despite the lack of equipment, Gomez added, RWM’s emergency team and the Phililppine National Police were able to evacuate 12,154 people to safety.
Resorts World President Kingston Sian said the multiple emergencies did not only overwhelm the security personnel but the people there who panicked.
“We were able to evacuate more than 12,000 people, but it is very unfortunate that that we suffered fatalities.
The fire complicated the matter. When there is a fire, people would run away from the fire. But since there is also an active shooter during the fire, the people chose to hide [in rooms]because of fear of being shot,” Sian added.
“There was an initial impression that there could be a lot of gunmen because of multiple gunshots ricocheting. I believe that was what happened. We are still grieving for the lives lost,” he said.
National Capital Region Police Office Director Oscar Albayalde said the Resorts World management had to wait for two hours before informing the police that there is another fully functioning CCTV monitoring room in the nearby Remington Hotel–something that could have helped the police locate the gunman and rescue the trapped individuals earlier.
“I asked where the CCTV rooms were. Several times. I was told the CCTV rooms were evacuated as early as 12:20 am [when the attack happened],” Albayalde added.
The Resorts World management said cameras on the second floor–where Carlos went amuck and razed tables and fired at LED screens–stopped working because of the smoke 25 to 38 minutes after Carlos’ rampage.
“It was only until when the PNP chief [Ronald de la Rosa] arrived around 3:30 a.m. that we were informed of a second CCTV monitoring room in Remington Hotel,” Albayalde said.
Gomez also admitted that he knew about a second monitoring room in Remington Hotel because he was getting updates from his deputy, Alfred Legarte.