Guimaras used to be the least crime free province in the Western Visayas. The mango province only posted a crime volume of 128 and average monthly crime rate of 10.63 for the period January to July 2013, which were considered the lowest in Western Visayas. But current crime capers now chow down on Mango Land, Guimaras. Attempted murders, strong-armed robberies and burglaries now litter the landscape of this once peaceful province, where my asawa and I moved to over five years ago. We’ve also spent two years on nearby Panay Island, where we do the bulk of our shopping in Illoilo City, a metropolis of over 400,000 people with an understandably higher crime rate than our island province which has approximately 163,000 residents and 100 times the number of dogs, lizards, chickens and roosters.
Here’s a look at the recent crime wave:
- The local Catholic parish was robbed of 100,000 pesos (2, 223 US Dollars) when the priest was out of town for three days. The thieves gained entry by cutting open the window screens of the parish. At that time Father’s adobe had no bars on the windows. It does now. Seems that the priest would openly announce in church donations of P20,000 to P30,000 from different parishioners.
- Two business women were robbed of P200,000 to P300,000, 4,446- 6,669 USD, in broad daylight at 9 am. The women were tied up but fortunately not killed by the bandits.
- King’s Store, where my friend the Tom Cat purchased the bulk of one of his favorite San Miguel products, Gold Eagle Beer, was burglarized during the evening. I do not know the losses incurred during that theft.
- A Filipino man was shot in the jaw allegedly by a gang in Iloilo that was hired by his ex-wife. Fortunately the man, said to be quite wealthy and holding insurance policies on three sons at a total of P100,000 each, survived the attack. I have walked by the residence of the victim thousands of times and noted the other day that security upgrades were being done to his front gate. A local policeman relative has told some expat friends of mine that they know the former wife is responsible for the “frustrated” murder but she is currently hiding out somewhere in Iloilo. How can the man have an ex-wife if there is no divorce law in the Philippines? Simple. Lots of people in the Philippines that leave their spouses simply marry someone else. While the marriage isn’t legal, it happens all the time here.
The information in this post has been verified to me by several respected sources on the island, including an officer of the PNP who believes the parish robbery was an “inside job.” We’ve upgraded our security at our current location and plan to have an extensive security operation once our new home is built including two attack guard dogs, the Malinois or Belgian Shepherd Dog, and several weapons (which my wife can legally own; as a foreigner I cannot own a weapon in the Philippines.)
A U.S. Air Force Belgian Malinois atop an M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Iraq in 2007.U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stacy L. Pearsal
I will use my former experience as a Security Specialist in the United States Air Force to train my asawa. In the USAF I was trained and qualified on several weapons including a Smith & Wesson 38 revolver and M-16 rifle. CCTV outlets will be posted at our new location along with a battery of motion-sensor flood lights.
While this might seem as overkill to some, I plan to be prepared. Our new location is remote and I want to make sure my family is protected. With the current crime capers that now chow down on mango land, I’m not taking any chances. As an American expat living in the Philippines I certainly stick out from the rest of the crowd but if a person exercises some common sense and use some reasonable caution, you should shouldn’t have any major personal safety issues in this archipelago.