Freeman Region

Police set for Boracay re-opening on Oct. 26

Jennifer P. Rendon - The Freeman

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — More than four months of rehabilitation, Boracay Island remains and still a safe haven for residents and workers, alike.

And the Metro Boracay Police Task Force (MBPTF) said it would not change even during and beyond its scheduled re-opening to the public this October 26.

“Even before and during the closure, when some anticipated a possible rise in crimes against property, it did not happen. The closure went smoothly. And we also believed, Boracay will re-open with no untoward incident,” said Senior Superintendent Jesus Cambay Sr., MBPTF commander and concurrent Police Regional Office-6 (PRO-6) deputy regional director for operations.

Cambay said the MBPTF police, after all, were trained and instructed that safety and security of the residents, workers, and tourists will be their utmost concern.

The months that passed had been witness to how MBPTF forces maintained the peace and order situation of the island, he said.

By being prepared and on top of the security situation, Cambay said they are not only talking about crime statistics. “It’s more than that. We are ready because the systems are now in place as far as Boracay police is concerned,” he said.

Foremost of the preparation the restructuring of the Malay Police Station, which was also transfered from Malay town proper to Boracay island itself, as pushed by then PRO-6 director Chief Superintendent Cesar Hawthorne Binag and implemented under current PRO-6 head Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao.

From the initial 147 personnel, the restructuring would call for the deployment of 389 policemen. The Malay Police Station reorganization was deemed as vital preventive measures in the law enforcement and security operations in Boracay’s surrounding environs.

It has been seen as a timely move directed to capacitate the security capability build-up of the island. It is further believed that it will be able to confront future critical incident scenarios that might arise and may affect the island’s economic growth and tourism potential.

Last August, the police station was already transferred but the planned 389 police complement would be completed by the first week of October.

Along with the transfer of Malay Police Station headquarters, the PRO-6 had abolished the Boracay Tourist Assistance Center (BTAC), which Cambay said was dysfunctional.

Instead of having a tourist police unit, PRO-6’s goal in restructuring Malay Police Station is to have a “world class, highly-capable tourist and environment-oriented police force responsive to the current and emerging challenge.”

Cambay said they are currently training 39 personnel to form part of the Special Weapon and Tactics (SWAT) team in Boracay, while Malay policemen will also undergo training in explosives ordnance identification.

The training program for personnel on tourist-oriented police concept is perceived to empower more policemen assigned in different tourist destinations in Western Visayas.

When the rehabilitation is all over and done, the MBPTF will eventually be disbanded. Personnel who won’t be assigned with the Malay Police Station or with the Aklan Mobile Force Company will return to their mother unit.

MBPTF, which took over the security concerns during the Boracay Island's 6-month closure, deployed 630 police personnel. But the augmentation only stood at 158 frp, another police task force and the now-defunct BTAC.

Of  the 158 augmentation force, 138 form part of the Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) or anti-riot company while 20 are administrative personnel. (FREEMAN)


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