By Martin Sadongdong
After the reopening of Boracay, crime incidents are expected to rise in the famed resort-island because of the increased human activities but the Philippine National Police (PNP) has reiterated that they are prepared to secure the visitors and locals in the area.
“With the influx of tourists in the area, we will be expecting more human activities and therefore, the crime incidents will also go up,” said Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, regional director of Western Visayas Police Regional Office (PRO-6).
When Boracay was closed to visitors on April 26, 2018 for rehabilitation, police had observed a steady decrease in the number of crime occurrences.
The PNP’s Metro Boracay Task Force recorded a total of 11 crimes from April 26 to May 25, an 88.84-percent decrease compared to the same period in 2017. Further, only four crimes were tallied from May 26 to June 25; and three crimes from June 26 to July 25.
According to police, crimes often committed in the island before included physical injuries, qualified theft and reckless imprudence. Most of the crimes were attributed to drunk individuals who engage into fights, police added.
Boracay has been famous for a lot of reasons, from its white sand beach, joyous activities, food, and hospitable residents. But with the reopening, Bulalacao said it has further gathered attention which poses bigger security risks.
“Since this becomes now an attractive area for the ISIS (Islamic State), we do not want to be alarmists, but we are preparing for possible incident involving terrorism,” he explained.
This is the reason why Bulalacao said they are strengthening intelligence gathering and cooperation with regional counterparts to thwart any terror threat in the region, particularly in Boracay.
At present, the Western Visayas regional police have not detected any terror activities in its areas of jurisdiction but Bulalacao said they will not be complacent.
Earlier, Bulalacao said more than 400 cops were tasked to secure Boracay Island. This is aside from the 200 augmentation forces from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and other volunteer groups.