THE Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) said it has intensified intelligence operations amid robbery and theft cases in Boracay Island.
In a statement, Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police chief, confirmed that they have recorded theft incidents since Boracay reopened on Oct. 26, 2018.
On the first day of the reopening, an Italian national and his Filipina girlfriend claimed to have lost cash and personal belongings to alleged thieves.
The alleged theft happened 7:28 p.m. in front of a restaurant of Station 2 in Barangay Balabag, Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan.
The foreigner claimed to have lost his black wallet containing two credit cards, his driver’s license, assorted cards, US $60, and around P15,000 cash.
From Oct. 26 to Nov. 7, the Malay Police Station recorded seven theft and robbery incidents compared to three cases in the same period last year.
The Malay Police Station earlier said they are monitoring at least two theft groups in the island.
Chief Inspector Ruel Firmo, Malay police chief, said the two groups are not from Boracay Island.
Aside from these two organized groups, there are also Boracay residents of the island who ventured into thievery.
Two persons, including a minor, were already arrested. They are allegedly into pickpocket, salisi, and boodle-boodle or swindling operations.
“Some of them entered Boracay even before it was officially opened on October 26,” Firmo said.
The monitoring of these groups led police officers to arrest two suspects around 11:30 p.m. of Oct. 31, 2018.
Reynaldo Buenafe, 39, and Carlo Vargas, 41, who both fail from Oton, Iloilo, were arrested at Station 2 in Barangay Balabag, Boracay Island.
They were arrested for violation of Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act).
Meanwhile, citing what happened to the Italian and his girlfriend, Bulalacao said he ordered heightened police intelligence within the island to ensure that similar incidents will be prevented “by identifying individuals or groups who might be taking advantage of the influx of tourists to perpetrate illegal activities within the island.”
“We have also cautioned security managers of hotels and resorts to be proactive against similar incidents considering that security in private establishments are within their controls,” Bulalacao said.
In the meantime, the tourist police are in close coordination with resort owners and tour guides to ensure the safety personal belongings of tourist through subtle reminders on security awareness while in the island.
“PRO-6, through Metro Boracay Police Task Force, is continuously improving our services on safety and security to ensure that similar incidents will be prevented in the coming days,” he added.
Bulalacao said he also encouraged community members to be participative in their policing efforts to make Boracay Island crime-free.