ILOILO City – Thousands of tourists are expected to spend their summer vacation in the newly rehabilitated Boracay Island this year. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Region 6 is wary of drug traffickers taking advantage of the situation. Just this Monday, shabu and cocaine were recovered from a disco bar disc jockey.
Monitoring of people entering Boracay will be intensified, said Director Alex Tablate, in coordination with the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, Martime Command and other law enforcement agencies.
When Boracay reopened to tourism activities in October last year after six months of closure for a massive cleanup, the entry of tourists was tightened. Tourists must show proof of having booked for accommodation in any of the accredited hotels or resorts in the island, or they would be denied entry. But this is apparently not enough to seal Boracay from illegal drugs.
Right now, there is only one dog trained to detect illegal drugs stationed at the Caticlan jetty port in Malay, Aklan, the jump-off point to Boracay.
One more dog would be posted there, said Tablate.
“Alam natin na kapag summer maraming tourists na nagbabakasyon. We know na lahat na maaaring pagkakakitan ay gagawin ng tao para lang magkapera and this includes drug trafficking kasi madali ang pera dito,” said Tablate.
PDEA also plans random drug tests among employees of hotels and restaurants in Boracay.
“We want hotels and restaurants to be drug-free so that more tourists will spend their vacation in Boracay,” said Tablate.
The Regional Drug Enforcement Unit of the Police Regional Office 6 will help PDEA secure Boracay from illegal drugs.
RDEU chief Senior Inspector Marc Dado said his men are currently reviewing their list of identified drug personalities in Boracay.
Boracay reopened to tourists in October last year after six months of closure for a much needed cleanup that started in April 2018.
According to Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, regional police director, Monday’s cocaine seizure was the first in the world-famous island resort.
“Pero hindi masyadong rampant compared to shabu,” he stressed.
Cocaine, also known as coke, is a strong stimulant mostly used as recreational drug. It is commonly snorted, inhaled as smoke, or dissolved and injected into a vein.
Bulalacao said his men were now trying to find out the source of cocaine.
The arrested disc jockey was Reuben Mendoza, a Metro Manila resident working in Boracay this past three years. He was detained at the Boracay Tourist Assistance Center (BTAC).
Monday’s buy-bust was carried out at the suspect’s apartment in Barangay Balabag, Boracay around 1 a.m. Police recovered from the suspect three more sachets of shabu, three sachets of cocaine, stainless straw and a weighing scale.
Each sachet of cocaine reportedly cost P5,000.
Concerned citizens informed the BTAC about Mendoza; they got suspicious seeing lots of foreign and local tourists going in and out of the disc jockey’s apartment./PN