AS POLICE researchers continue to dig deeper into the killing of businesswoman Junko Hamada, businessmen, church leaders and government leaders expressed their concern that the unsolved murders will affect Cebu's image and prevent people from visiting the island.
Cebu Business Club president Gordon Alan Joseph said the wave of murders in Cebu could hamper the progress of business.
"Business and society need peace and order to flourish and there is now a prevailing view of lawlessness and impunity in Cebu and the Philippines," he told Cebu Daily News in an SMS.
Hamada, 71, was the president of Beams Philippines Export Corp., a manufacturer of furniture and home decoration and an exporter based in Talisay City.
She was shot by two unidentified assailants who were riding in tandem on a motorbike along the N. Bacalso Avenue in Cebu City around 7:30 pm in the morning. on Friday. Hamada was aboard her Montero sport utility vehicle and was on his way home to Barangay Capitol Site in Cebu City when he was shot and killed.
Although he said he does not know Hamada or her company, Joseph said that every attack against those in business is a major concern.
"The murders in Cebu are starting to get shocking, which is reminiscent of the killings committed in the early 2000s by a death squad," said Joseph.
Effect on investors
Based on the website of their company, Beams Philippines Export Corp. was established in 1995 and produces for export furniture and home decorations made from natural materials such as wood, stone, indigenous, wire and iron.
According to Philexport-Cebu executive director Federico Escalona, the company is Beams Philippines Export Corp. not a member of their group.
He did not know Hamada personally either.
In her driver's license that was recovered by the police at the crime scene, Hamada was identified as a Filipino although her name is Japanese.
In a message on his Facebook page, the Mayor of Cebu, Tomas Osmeña, said that Japanese investors could lose interest in doing business in the city after the murder of Hamada.
"This is very bad: Word is traveling very fast between Japanese investors and I'm afraid people will lose their jobs," said Osmeña.
In the past seven months at least 131 people were killed in shooting incidents in Cebu, based on a note made by CDN.
Hamada was the third person to run a business and the ninth woman who became the victim of the series of murders in Cebu that remained largely unresolved.
Chief Insp. Randy Caballes, commander of the Mambaling police station, said that they considered personal resentment and business rivalry as the possible motive behind Hamada's ambush death.
Mgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson for the archbishopric of Cebu, said in the meantime that he was sad about the continuing murders in Cebu.
"Acts of violence are always acts of violence, regardless of the circumstances, and we always regard this as another violent incident that has damaged our city's reputation as a peaceful place," he said when he looked for comments on Hamadam's murder.
Murders are necessarily against morality, Tan said, that when it comes to vulnerable sectors such as women and the elderly, murders become worse and a step back from the moral ladder.
Tan ordered the audience to seriously pray the Oratio Imperata to end the wave of murders in Cebu recently issued by Cebu, Archbishop Jose Palma.
The Oratio Imperata or compulsory prayer is used in all missions in the archdiocese.
Call to join
Meanwhile, Duros Group Vice President Fe Barino called on the business community to do its part to help resolve these killings.
As someone in business and a woman herself, Barino expressed sympathy for the murder of Hamada and also expressed concern about her own safety.
"This is an appeal to the business community to join in. Dili na ni basta-basta (This is not just an incident) We can not just keep silent, we need to do something about what is happening with Cebu now," she said in an interview yesterday during the groundbreaking of their new project in Cebu City.
Barino, who is also the chairman of the Committee of the Lay of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said that those in business should support government efforts against these killings.
As a catalyst for drug recovery, she said that since most murders are related to illegal drugs, there should be more support for recovery, saying that it is possible.
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