BORACAY – Policemen maintaining peace and order in this island resort should not sleep in hotels, especially those subject for demolition, according to Director General Oscar Albayalde of the Philippine National Police.
“Kasi ayaw ko na makulayan pa ‘yan (I don’t want our operation subjected to malicious imputations),” said Albayalde.
The Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) deployed 630 police officers – in full battle gear – to Boracay. Of these, 138 are newly trained on Civil Disturbance Management.
“Kung pwedeng matutulog sila sa buhangin, gawin natin (They could sleep on the beach if they have to),” said Albayalde.
Chief Superintendent Cesar Hawthorne Binag, regional police director, said his men would be staying in Boracay until the island is cleared for reopening.
The PRO-6 has enough food and billeting areas for the policemen so they need not look for food and a place to stay elsewhere, Binag stressed.
“Ayaw ko na may mga issues sa mga pulis natin,” said Albayalde.
He justified the presence of policemen in Boracay, saying, “Kasi mahirap na masingitan tayo at ‘yan ang hindi ko gusto.”
Department of Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año, on the other hand, said the policemen would be given an additional task – help the Department of Environment and Natural Resources clean Boracay and the Department of Public Works and Highways in the demolition of illegal structures.
“Hindi lang magbabantay ang mga pulis (They won’t just guard Boracay),” Año said.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed Boracay under a state of calamity on Thursday and cited the presence of illegal structures among the reasons.
The structures included 937 illegally constructed on forestlands and wetlands, as well as 102 erected on areas already classified as easements.
In signing Proclamation No. 475, the President said the “state of calamity…shall remain in force and effect until lifted…notwithstanding the lapse of the six-month closure period.”
The disappearance of Boracay’s wetlands due to illegal structures enhances flooding in the island, according to the government inter-agency task force on Boracay made up of the departments of environment, tourism and local government./PN