Crime casts shadow over Philippines image makeover

Associated Press
In this Friday Feb. 1, 2013 photo, Pasay city SWAT members of the Philippine National Police make the rounds of business establishments as they go on patrol at suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. Security problems are not new to the Philippines - kidnappings and bombings have plagued the south of the country for decades - but the latest rash of violence comes as President Benigno Aquino III tries to shore up foreign investments and restore Filipinos' confidence in their government. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines are suffering a rash of urban violence just as President Benigno Aquino III is trying to shore up foreign investments and restore Filipinos' confidence in their government.

The brazen evening robbery of a jewelry store in one of the world's largest malls, SM Megamall, shocked residents in Manila, the capital. So did another armed robbery in which thieves exchanged fire with security guards.

The Southeast Asian nation of 7,100 islands is trying to leave behind its old image of a volatile, chaotic place. A record 4.3 million tourists visited last year. But crime is worrying residents and giving morning radio shows a reason to poke fun at the country's tourism slogan, "It's more fun in the Philippines."

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