BFP wants joint training for firemen, cops after Resorts World attack

Bea Cupin

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BFP wants joint training for firemen, cops after Resorts World attack
The Bureau of Fire Protection also wants a handbook for inter-bureau procedures in case of a similar 'complex situation'

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) wants a “joint tactical training” and a new handbook to handle “complex situations” following an attack on a posh casino that claimed 38 lives.

On June 2, a lone gunman stormed the Resorts World Manila complex in Pasay City, allegedly motivated by debt he had accumulated because of a gambling addiction. Jessie Carlos, a former finance department employee, stole high-value casino chips and attempted to run away from police and casino security before eventually killing himself.

But the high death toll was not because of Carlos’ M4 assault riffle of handgun but due to suffocation after the gunman set several gambling tables and slot machines on fire.

The incident is the subject of a congressional probe.

Senior Superintendent Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu, BFP chief in Metro Manila, told a House panel on Wednesday, June 21, that he has recommended the creation of a handbook for “complex situations” similar to the Resorts World attack.

Other “complex situation,” he said, include fires caused by a “weapon of mass destruction,” a bombing, or gunfire.

“This is very unique because it is in a building with so much people,” Kwan Tiu told  the House committees on games and amusements, public order and safety, and tourism which held its final hearing on the incident on Wednesday.

He also proposed a “joint tactical training” with military and police to practice their response to situations such as the Resorts World attack.

Kwan Tiu had earlier said it might be high time for firemen to also be equipped with short firearms themselves.

The response of government units and the Resorts World management to the attack had been the focus of 3 congressional hearings. Firemen were unable to immediately enter the area as police and casino security were trying to hunt down the gunman.

Metro Manila police chief Director Oscar Albayalde, meanwhile, highlighted the need to “modernize” the police force sooner than later.

Most of the police deployed on June 2 did not have with them radios. Instead, they relied on their cellphones, which made communicating difficult. “We had several constraints including individual and unit equipment,” Albayalde said.

“In the advent of crisis we have now, particularly in the increasing threat of terrorism…we really have to modernize,” he  added. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.