Cebu hotels adopt tighter security measures
- by Freeman News Service () - May 24, 2000 - 12:00am

CEBU - After the malls, increasing anxiety on security has spread to hotels here.

The series of bombing incidents in the country has prompted the hotels to tighten security and keep a close watch on suspicious-looking persons.

Douglas Nelson Rustila, Cebu Midtown Hotel security manager, said hotel employees have been instructed to be extra vigilant these days.

Rustila said guards posted at entrance and exit doors are equipped with metal detectors for inspection purposes. All pieces of luggage will be carefully inspected.

At the Cebu Plaza Hotel, employees are taking refresher courses on emergency procedures to prevent panic when emergency situations arise.

Major business establishments reacted similarly to the rash of bombings, especially after two separate explosions struck Glorietta and SM Megamall in Metro Manila.

Ver de la Cerna, Cebu Holdings Inc. corporate communications, said terrorist activities in Southern Mindanao have prompted the company to upgrade its security system.

Personnel at the Ayala Center are briefed daily on how to react to bomb threats.

"We cannot attribute the bombings to the activities of the Abu Sayyaf or to any terrorist sector because we have long been receiving bomb threats even before the Mindanao conflict began but somehow the incident at Glorietta raised our level of preparedness," De la Cerna said.

The explosion at SM Megamall's Cinema 6 in Mandaluyong City last Sunday left one person dead and 17 others injured.

De la Cerna said security matters are now of utmost importance.

The management of SM City in Cebu also imposed tighter security measures to protect shoppers.

All entry points of the mall are now guarded and inspection procedures have been strengthened.

The explosives ordnance disposal units of the Visayas Command have been briefing the local police and other sectors such as seaports, transportation facilities and shopping malls on bomb detection and management.

More police officers in plain clothes have also been deployed to malls and hotels to monitor activities inside these establishments.

Mabolo police station chief Manuel Gurtiza said he has sent some of his men to SM City Cebu, Ayala, Gaisano Country Mall, Waterfront Hotel Lahug, Grand Convention, Marriot Hotel and other big establishments within their jurisdiction to conduct patrol operations.

Gurtiza said security efforts have been doubled due to the present scenario.

Several shoppers interviewed by The Freeman said they feel safer now when inside malls.

"I don't think there is something that I should be worried about. I can see that the security personnel are doing their job," one moviegoer said.

Glenn Anthony Soco, Ayala Cinemas general manager, said surveillance operations have become standard procedure now.

Despite the bombing incidents in Metro Manila, Soco said sales of theater tickets have not been affected.

"I think the public is very wary, but over time this will just pass. One thing I can assure is that in Ayala, we are undertaking security measures to ensure public safety," Soco said.

Several policemen have been given the special privilege of watching movies for free while monitoring activities inside theaters.

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