140-strong standby force deployed to Boracay

AKLAN, Philippines – A contingent from the Police Regional Office in Western Visayas was deployed to Boracay Island on Friday, April 6, after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the closure  of the world-famous tourist destination for 6 months.

Chief Superintendent Carlito Feliciano, deputy regional director for administration, said the 140-strong standby force will support the Metro Boracay Task Force, Boracay police sub-station, and Second Aklan Mobile Force Company to secure the island.

“Pinaghahandaan natin ang security ng Boracay with maximum tolerance sa mga protesta dahil sa closure (We are preparing to secure Boracay with maximum tolerance for protests due to the closure),” Feliciano said. 

The battalion of extra officers trained on civil disturbance management from Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo City augmented Boracay Island security forces following reports of possible protest rallies after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the shutdown of the prime tourist destination to tourists starting April 26. 

Close to 500 police officers and Task Force Boracay-Philippine Army are regularly conducting beach security and foot patrols in the beaches and jetty ports on Boracay Island and mainland Malay. 

On April 4, Senior Superintendent Jesus Cambay Jr, PRO6 deputy regional director for operations, held a capability demonstration conference on security issues and concerns in Balabag with the security forces in the island.

Jose Roberto Nunez, regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Western Visayas, also tackled the contingency plan on the Boracay closure with the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), stakeholders, and other government agencies in Boracay Island on April 3. 

Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Roel Firmo, formerly assigned with Investigative and Detective Management division in Iloilo City Police Office, replaced Chief Inspector Mark Evan Salvo as chief of police of Malay, Aklan.

The closure of the island has drawn mixed responses from the public. While there are those who support the months-long shutdown to finally address Boracay's sanitation problems, others said that the "hasty" decision had left business owners little time to prepare, and would leave tens of thousands unemployed. – Rappler.com