Security experts urge businesses to beef up security

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 27) — Security experts on Tuesday said the business sector should invest more on security in the light of the Marawi crisis and the attack on Resorts World Manila.

Security consultant and former United States Federal Bureau of Intelligence agent Steve Cutler said the Philippine government should address both physical and cyber security of the country.

Cutler also said at the Asia CEO Forum in Makati that businesses must boost their internal security as well.

"To make sure that you're doing very good due diligence, background checks on where you're going to put your shop, how are you going to set it up, where it is, so on," Cutler said.

Cutler said bank account confidentiality should be assured, especially for businesses, as this is one of the key factors foreign investors consider.

He added the government should intensify its fight against money laundering.

Cutler also advises business owners to run routine antivirus checks within their softwares to prevent hacking.

"That they are using licensed software, that they are using internationally-recognized standards for IT practices," Cutler said.

Marc Singer, chief analyst of a security firm, said terrorism may occur in unexpected times without warning, so businessmen are advised to avoid places of conflict.

Singer referred to the Resorts World incident on June 2, where some investors were just visiting the casinos during the attack.

In the same forum, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said it would also be the businessmen's loss if they allow the events in Mindanao to "terrorize" them. He advised them to just invest in other countries if they get alarmed easily.

Dureza added the business sector should just trust the government as it inches closer to liberating Marawi City from the terror group Maute.

Economist Bernardo Villegas said the Philippine economy could still sustain growth despite the terror incidents.

Villegas said the country's economy has a solid foundation such as high remittances that will not be overwhelmed by security threats.

Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry has found two small establishments in Iligan City and seven major establishments in Lanao del Norte and Surigao violating the price freeze on basic commodities.

The Department discovered canned goods sold 10 centavos to ₱2 above prevailing prices.

While the overall price situation in Mindanao is stable, agricultural and fish products are declining.

In a separate press briefing on Tuesday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said businesses were unaffected by the Marawi crisis.

"We're pleasantly surprised that on the business, hindi po tayo affected because yung sa mga negosyante (we are not affected because the businessmen), they really look into the longer term potential of a country and the fundamentals," Lopez said.

Lopez, however, said tourism was affected by the terror attack.

"We've heard stories of course unfortunately on the tourism, there will be some cancellation. I understand for mga conventions, for obvious reasons," he said.

Lopez added Mindanao businesses welcome the martial law declaration by President Rodrigo Duterte, as their concerns are limited to Marawi City.

"They say they like Martial Law. Una mas secured sila (First, they are more secured). They feel more secure and safer. Of course yung checkpoint might require a little more time but they can live with that, sabi nila. And they said it's business as usual for areas outside Marawi. It's really in Marawi lang sila concerned," Lopez said.