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Philippines reflects on robberies

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MANILA - Even by the usual standards in the Philippines, where crime is an accepted part of life, the brazen evening robbery of a jewellery store in one of the world's largest malls shocked residents of Manila. 

Shoppers at the SM Megamall, which attracts up to a million people a day, were forced to duck for cover as shots rang out. After scooping up gold jewellery, police say the robbers intentionally sparked panic by firing into the air, allowing them to mix in with frightened customers running for the exits to make their escape.   

The robbery carried out with seeming impunity a week ago, along with one in another mall where the thieves exchanged fire with security guards, have alarmed the police, worried the president who is trying to boost the image of the country and left residents of the Philippine capital feeling helpless.   

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