Foreign businessmen in the country are beginning to doubt the ability of local authorities to ensure their safety, following reports that high-ranking police were behind the kidnap-slay of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo at police headquarters in Camp Crame last October. File photo

Foreign businessmen fear for their safety
(The Philippine Star) - February 6, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  Foreign businessmen in the country are beginning to doubt the ability of local authorities to ensure their safety, following reports that high-ranking police were behind the kidnap-slay of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo at police headquarters in Camp Crame last October.

“We promote trade and investment between their respective countries and regions in both directions, but can only succeed in their mission if peace and order and safety can be guaranteed by the authorities,” the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) of the Philippines said in a statement over the weekend.

“The kidnapping and brutal killing of Jee Ick-joo puts these expected guarantees in question,” the group stressed.

Members of the JFC – the American, Australian-New Zealand, European and Japanese chambers – said they fully support the concerns expressed by the Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines (KCCP) over the kidnapping and murder of Jee and, in general, “the safety of local and foreign businessmen and residents at large in the Philippines.”

“We agree with the KCCP that the case has to be fully investigated, the people who did it or organized it be brought to justice fast and that the government clearly states its policy on peace and order and on the safety of local and foreign residents,” the coalition of foreign business groups said.

The JFC pointed out, though, that it appreciates President Duterte’s assurance that the people behind Jee’s death would get the maximum punishment.

The Korean business community in the Philippines earlier called on the government to double its efforts in ensuring the safety of Korean nationals in the country, following reports on Jee’s death.

“As an organization that protects the interest and promotes the Philippines as an investment hub for Korean businessmen, we are very shocked and saddened to hear one innocent Korean businessman became a victim of heinous crime committed by a group led by high ranking police officers, who were supposed to protect the safety and welfare of each individual here in the Philippines,” the KCCP said.

According to the KCCP, the government of South Korea strongly protects the welfare of almost 50,000 overseas Filipino workers there and expects the Philippine government to do the same for the 120,000 Koreans residing the country.

Full security in eastern MM

For its part, the Eastern Police District (EPD) has assured Koreans living in the eastern part of Metro Manila of full security against criminals.

EPD director Chief Supt. Romulo Sapitula gave the assurance in a dialogue over the weekend with Koreans living in the cities of Pasig, Marikina, Mandaluyong and San Juan.

Sapitula met with Korean community leaders Charlie Shin, Samuel Kang and Clone Kim to discuss security measures the EPD has been implementing to ensure the foreigners’ safety while doing business and living in the eastern part of Metro Manila.

“We had a very conducive meeting,” Sapitula told reporters yesterday. “We had a free-wheeling discussion on how to improve crime reporting and cooperation in solving crimes involving Korean nationals.”

Accompanied by Pasig City police chief Senior Supt. Orlando Yebra Jr., Sapitula sought the dialogue with the Koreans following Jee’s murder.

Shin told Sapitula the Koreans would cooperate and gladly forward information regarding crimes against Koreans to the police for speedy resolution.

The Koreans also requested Sapitula for more frequent meetings to solve their security concerns before “it’s too late.”

“We established direct communication lines for easy access to each other, and cases involving Koreans would be addressed immediately,” Sapitula said. – With Non Alquitran

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