PNP includes counter-terrorism efforts in Boracay reopening
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has included counter-terrorism efforts in preparation for the reopening of the Boracay island, Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) Director C/Supt. John Bulalacao said on Thursday.
“Since this becomes now an attractive area for the ISIS, we do not want to be alarmists, but we are preparing for possible incidents involving terrorism,” Bulalacao said in a media briefing before the PNP presented its security capabilities in Boracay.
According to him, authorities also expect crime incidence to rise with more people visiting the famed tourist destination.
“With the influx of tourists in the area, we will be expecting more human activities and therefore, tataas ‘yong ating crime incidence, inaasahan namin ‘yan,” he added.
Tourist spots have been the target of terrorists organizations, due to the number of foreign nationals flocking the area. In 2001, 23 individuals including three US citizens in the Dos Palmas resort in Honda Bay, Palawan, were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
Just in 2017, nearly a year after President Rodrigo Duterte took office, the same terrorist group went to Bohol to kidnap foreigners, but were thwarted by government forces. Nine were killed in the clashes, including five ASG members, three soldiers, and a policeman.
Despite calls from workers and entrepreneurs, Duterte ordered the closure and rehabilitation of Boracay, which he called a “cesspool.” Six months after the move, government officials say that a cleaner and wider Boracay will be made available to the public on Friday.
The inter-agency task force, composed of the Environment secretary as chair and Interior and Tourism secretaries as vice chairs, has implemented stricter rules for establishments and hotels. They also have banned beach parties and smoking near the shoreline. /je
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