Philippines: Resorts World Gets License Back, Manila Mayor Orders More Casino Security Training

Posted on: July 5, 2017, 07:04h. 

Last updated on: July 5, 2017, 07:05h.

In an attempt to prevent another attack like the one on June 2 at Resorts World Manila, the city’s mayor has ordered the Manila Police District to conduct security drills at hotels and casinos.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has ordered police to undergo “active shooter” training for hotels and casinos to better prepare for violent attacks like June’s deadly Resorts World rampage. (Image: AP)

The exercises will focus on neutralizing active shooters. They come one week after Manila police conducted bomb threat and response exercises.

Mayor Joseph Estrada directed police on Monday to undergo the training, which he is confident will make citizens and tourists safer.

“We have learned lessons from the Resorts World incident,” Estrada said at a Tuesday press conference announcing the plan.  “We will use those lessons to further train our police and other emergency services and the security units of private business establishments to prevent such incidents in the future.”

These moves are in response to public calls for answers about what went wrong in June when a banned problem gambler entered the casino spraying bullets and lighting gaming tables on fire, causing 36 casino employees and patrons to die.

Making Manila Safer

All casinos licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) will take part in the security simulations, which will not only train police, but also prepare hotel and casino security staff for how to respond of there is a gunman on property.

Manila Police Director Chief Supt. Joel Coronel, whose department faced criticism for its slow response as the Resorts World tragedy unfolded, said education is the key.

“We will be having a seminar first, then contingency planning with the establishments’ security officers,” Coronel said. “After the Resorts World incident, I’m sure all police stations in Metro Manila are in full alert. We’ve learned lessons from that incident so we should adapt and change.”

The session will be followed by simulation drills to instruct staff on how to properly react when someone enters the premises with a gun.

Resorts World Casino License Reinstated

A week after the shooting, PAGCOR suspended Resorts World’s casino gaming license. In response, the resort, owned by Travellers International, Alliance Global Group and Genting Hong Kong, began a series of procedures to convince regulators patrons were safe on their property.

They hired a new security agency and other experts, who immediately doubled the number of armed guards. They also increased the number of metal detectors and x-ray scanners in the building.

Last week the casino announced that the second floor would no longer have gaming and only the first and third floors would be used for casino activities. The second floor was where many of the 36 people died, not from gunshots during a shootout, but because they were unable to escape as sprinkler systems failed and deadly smoke and toxic fumes filled the space.

With changes made and additional security efforts ongoing, Resorts World Manila received word Thursday, June 29, that PAGCOR had reinstated its license. The decision allows the casino to re-open its gaming floors immediately and begin a process of returning to normalcy, but hopefully not complacency.