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Boracay cops told: Don’t sleep in hotels

BORACAY ISLAND, AKLAN—Enjoy the beach and the sunset, but don’t act like tourists, Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde warned police officers deployed to enforce security measures at the world-famous site.

The police should never sleep or enter the hotels and other business establishments even if they had been invited by the owners, Albayalde said on Thursday.

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They might get blamed

“They can instead sleep on the beach … to avoid any [malicious speculations],” the PNP chief said, adding that the police might even be blamed should anything go missing in the establishments.

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Senior Supt. Jesus Cambay Jr., commander of the Metro Boracay Police Task Force, said several establishments had offered to house the additional police force but that the PNP had opted to decline the offers.

“The police might be staying in establishments that would turn out to be violating environmental rules and regulations,” Cambay told the Inquirer.

The Boracay police commander said the order to decline hospitality offers applied only to the 158 policemen who were sent to reinforce the local police force before the closure order on the island was implemented on April 26.

Boarding houses

Policemen assigned on the island before the closure order are already staying in boarding houses and in police quarters, including those beside the Boracay substation, Cambay said.

The additional policemen are staying in the elementary schools of Balabag and Yapak villages, and in the Manoc-Manoc village multipurpose complex, he added.

“They have just undergone the Basic Internal Security Orientation Course, so they’ll have no problem [choosing] where they sleep,” Cambay said.

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Elite, antiriot teams

At least 630 policemen, including members of elite units and antiriot teams, are deployed in Boracay, posted in 16 entry points along the main road and shoreline of the island and other strategic areas.

The additional police force is meant to ensure that only residents are allowed to swim in the confined area measuring 300 meters wide near the Willy’s Rock formation on Station 1.

There were 472 policemen on the island that President Duterte had described as a “cesspool” and ordered closed on April 26.

‘Overkill’

Critics have accused the government of “overkill” in its high-profile security simulations and of sending an overwhelming police force in Boracay to suppress possible protest actions from residents and workers who had lost their jobs because of the six-month closure order.

But Albayalde defended the police deployment, saying that it was “better to [do an] overkill rather than underestimate a situation. It’s better to deploy [an overwhelming force] instead of being [unprepared].”

Albayalde said the police force on the island was meant to secure lives and property on the island and prevent looting and robbery.

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TAGS: Albayalde, Boracay, PNP‎, Security
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