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Military, police descend on Boracay

POLICE and military troops have been deployed to Boracay Island to enforce security measures during the closure and rehabilitation of the resort next Thursday.

Military troops from the Army, Air Force and the Navy were deployed as a joint force to support law enforcement activities, and the implementation of heightened security measures during the closure and rehabilitation of Boracay.     

Deployed were also more than 400 policemen to prevent vandalism and theft on private property.

Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde said the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) under Chief Supt. Hawthorne Binag would be in charge of securing the island.

“[Chief Supt.] Binag will be in full control and supervision and we will give him the responsibility on how to deal with the misdeeds. He will be there and will monitor activities 24 hours a day,” the new PNP chief said.

Albayalde said crowd control police would exercise maximum tolerance when dealing with any possible protests from locals, adding a relocation program for those who would lose employment during the island’s rehabilitation period had shifted gear.

In related developments:

• Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday appealed to the Boracay Task Force to provide media members more elbow room to cover the beach resort's rehabilitation when the island is closed.

In a press briefing, Roque said during the Cabinet meeting, he personally appealed to the interagency to reconsider the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. rule applied to members of the media to cover the island’s closure.

“I do agree that media does (sic) not sleep and of course although a comparison was made between Boracay and Marawi, I said wala namang IED sa [there is no IED in] Boracay,” he said, referring to improvised explosive devise.

Roque believed he was able to persuade the Cabinet to provide media with accreditation so that they could issue media cards to accredited members of the Boracay Press Corps and be treated as residents in the island. 

“But let’s await the final word from the interagency. I do not want to preempt them. But my impression was they were in agreement before I left the meeting. That was the last point that I raised before I left the meeting,” he said.

Reporters and their crew would be required to spend their nights outside the island and would have to be accompanied by escorts while in Boracay.

• Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday urged the Aklan Electric Cooperative Inc. to avoid passing on extra power charges to its consumers during the impending six-month closure of Boracay Island by invoking force majeure.

He said the closure of restaurants, resorts, and other commercial establishments on Boracay Island during the effectivity of the closure order would not only result in the loss of jobs. 

He said it would also drive down the demand for electricity in Akelco’s franchise area, as these commercial establishments account for 41 percent of the electric co-op’s power demand. With Vito Barcelo, Macon Ramos-Araneta, and PNA

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, estimated that from a high of 28 MW, Boracay’s energy demand will drop to a mere 4 MW during the closure period, leaving a huge surplus of unconsumed electricity contracted by Akelco through long-term power supply agreements (PSAs) with various generation companies.

If business goes on as usual, he said the rest of Akel’s customers throughout Aklan, Antique, and Capiz will have to pay an additional P1.58 per kilowatt hour in pass-on charges to compensate generation companies for the electricity that is not consumed on Boracay Island.

Lt. Gen. Paul Atal gave assurances about the readiness capability of the troops on the ground in responding to any emergency attack on vital installations, bombings, kidnappings and shooting or any other incidents resulting from the uncertainty and confusion of the affected residents, agitated by spoilers that might sabotage the reconstitution of Boracay.

During his visit, Atal witnessed the strong partnership of the AFP, PNP, and the coastguard, along with the participation of stakeholders in maintaining peace and order in the area. 

He also witnessed the Capability Demonstration Exercises which assessed and showcased the capability and readiness of the joint task force in responding to any incident that may arise.

Speaking before the participants in the exercises, Atal assured the task force that the AFP fully supported the PNP in law enforcement operations.

“The AFP is in full support to the PNP to address every threat that could happen in Boracay. In unity, there is strength, and all together, with our stakeholders, let us make Boracay the safest tourist destination in the world by showing them that security is properly implemented,” Atal said.

For his part, PNP chief Oscar Albayalde said the PNP would exercise maximum tolerance on people who would conduct protest action on the closure of Boracay. Senator Win Gatchalian on Monday urged the Aklan Electric Cooperative Inc. to avoid passing on extra power charges to its consumers during the impending six-month closure of Boracay Island by invoking force majeure.

He said the closure of restaurants, resorts, and other commercial establishments on Boracay Island during the effectivity of the closure order will not only result in the loss of jobs. He said if will also drive down the demand for electricity in Akelco’s franchise area, as these commercial establishments account for 41% of the electric coop’s power demand.

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, estimated that from a high of 28 MW, Boracay’s energy demand will drop to a mere 4 MW during the closure period, leaving a huge surplus of unconsumed electricity contracted by Akelco through long-term power supply agreements (PSAs) with various generation companies.

If business goes on as usual, he said the rest of Akelco’s customers throughout Aklan, Antique, and Capiz will have to pay an additional P1.58 per kilowatthour in pass-on charges to compensate generation companies for the electricity that is not consumed on Boracay Island.

Topics: Boracay Island , Army , Air Force , Navy , Philippine National Police , chief Oscar Albayalde , Chief Supt. Hawthorne Binag
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