The El Nido local government has warned foreign female tourists visiting their town to be extra mindful of their own security to avoid being victimized by unscrupulous individuals
Municipal administrator Rene Jay de la Calzada made the warning Friday after a 21-year old foreign national was reportedly raped by a tricycle driver on the morning of February 13.
De la Calzada said even if they want to, there is no way they can monitor the movement of all foreign female tourists in El Nido so becoming conscious of their own security can help keep them safe from becoming crime victims.
He added the help of the personnel and staff of the pension houses where they are staying is also important in reminding them about getting home late and inebriated to stop them from being victims of not only rape but also other crimes.
“Hindi naman kasi pwedeng isa-isa sila [na mga turista] ay bantayan. Dapat maging cautious lang kasi hindi naman natin alam kung may mangyayari na katulad nyan. Ang mga turista naman kasi minsan umuuwi ng madaling araw at lasing na lasing. Sila sana mismo maging cautious din sa mga actions nila. Iwasan na lang sana ang mga ganyang sitwasyon,” he said.
Despite the recent rape incident, De la Calzada said there is no truth to the belief that El Nido has become a town that is unsafe for female foreigners.
It is also not true, he said, that there were other rape incidents in their town in the past that were not reported to law enforcement authorities to arrest suspects.
“Ang rape incident naman hindi ‘yan common sa El Nido, na-hype lang sa social media. We can always say na maraming rape incidents sa El Nido but anong evidence, ‘di ba?” he asked.
In March 2018, two Slovakian women filed rape and attempted rape charges against boatman Romulo Arnosa who allegedly perpetrated the crimes on Cadlao Island.
Before that, an 18-year old U.S. national was also reportedly raped in January 2018 in the municipality
The two cases prompted the provincial government led by Governor Jose Alvarez to call on the provincial police to increase visibility and to help conduct information drives on how to prevent being sexually assaulted.
The Palawan Provincial Police Office (PPO) said the suspect in the February 13 rape case had already been charged for violating Republic Act 8353 or The Anti-Rape Law of 1997.
Gaspe allegedly raped the foreign national around 4 a.m. in an alley going to Elternative Hostel, the spot report said.
It said further that the victim reported the incident to the El Nido municipal police station around 6:55 a.m.
She told the municipal police that she and her friends hired Gaspe’s tricycle to take them to their different accommodations. Upon reaching the Bacuit gas station, Gaspe allegedly offered to accompany her in going home to her hostel.
She accepted the offer thinking the suspect was just being kind. But Gaspe sexually assaulted her in the dark alley.
The police report said the foreigner resisted, but apparently her strength was no match to the suspect.
Gaspe, who fled after the alleged rape, was caught around 8:15 a.m. on the same day.
He was positively identified by his alleged victim at the police station.
Gaspe is now detained at the Provincial Jail after a rape charge was filed against him in the sale of Judge Lea Mendoza of Branch 164, Palawan Regional Trial Court.