BOHOL INTERNATIONAL WELCOME ASSOCIATION
( BIWA )
â€œHurting Foreigners is Hurting Tourismâ€
The Bohol International Welcome Association (Biwa), a Bohol-wide alliance of foreigners who have adopted the Province of Bohol as our home, strongly condemns threats and the recent increase of violent crimes involving our foreign friends here in the Province.
The past months, we have witnessed our fellow migrants and tourists being the victims of harassment and brutal crimes that prompted us to comprehensively analyze the situation and how we should band together in an effort to protect ourselves with the help of the government.
Sometime in April 2007, a German national and his wife were murdered by suspected burglars right at their very own home in Barangay Laya, Baclayon. The case remain hanging as some suspects are still at large while those in trial have not been meted the full force of the law due to delays in the Philippine Justice System. Last year, a retired US serviceman was killed in an accident involving a city government vehicle which lost its brakes and slammed into the American who was riding his motorcycle. The victimâ€™s Boholana fiancÃ© was pregnant with the victimâ€™s child however, neither the city government nor the provincial authorities ever lifted a finger to help arrest the government vehicle driver who now remains a free man.
More recently, another retired US serviceman from the Navy, became a victim of intimidation and threats by the nephew of his own wife. He was illegally detained after being held at knife-point in an enclosure of their home by the nephew, whom the retired US Navy treated as his own relative and welcomed to live in his abode. Instead of being arrested, the policemen who came to rescue the navy man was allowed to go scot-free leaving behind a terrified foreigner who came to Bohol barely nine months ago after he fell in love with the place. What is more worse, his wife refuses to give him his passport as he tries to seek safety and wants to fly back to the United States.
Then, the latest vicious attack that claimed the life of a British bar owner who was stabbed to death 14-times. He had been attacked two months ago and was almost killed by an assassinâ€™s bullet. The police could not solve the unnecessary aggression to a foreigner who invested money and provide jobs to the locales. Until now, there is no assurance that the killers of the innocent foreigner will be brought to justice.
It is with steadfast resolution that we, the members of BIWA, representing dozens of other foreign immigrants here in Bohol , stand in solidarity that a serious campaign should be done by the government to protect foreigners living here in the province. Continued violence against us would create a dangerous situation that will unduly affect the Tourism industry of Bohol .
As foreign guests and migrants, we are more susceptible to abuse and harassment ranging from simple violations of our human rights to all sorts of criminality.
As such, we CONDEMN the violence against fellow foreigners and we appeal to the government to protect us under Philippine Laws and we stand in unity condemning the attacks against us.
We do not want to meddle with government affairs but we are just asking for the governmentâ€™s help in ensuring our safety and rights.
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