Saturday, June 24, 2017

Coast Guard stepping up sea patrols in Boracay

From Rappler (Jun 24): Coast Guard stepping up sea patrols in Boracay

Authorities say they will intensify sea patrols and deployment of assets to protect Boracay Island from any armed groups

HEIGHTENED SECURITY. Authorities beef up security in top tourist destination Boracay Island. Rappler file photo

HEIGHTENED SECURITY. Authorities beef up security in top tourist destination Boracay Island. Rappler file photo

BORACAY, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is beefing up its security measures to thwart any possible terrorist attack on Boracay Island, Lieutenant Commander Eric Ferrancullo said.

Authorities are also conducting joint regular seaborne patrols to keep armed groups from sneaking into popular tourist destination Boracay Island and adjoining areas through sea routes.

Ferrancullo said the intensified sea patrolling and deployment of assets will safeguard the maritime interests of Boracay Island.

Aside from Boracay, the Maritime Joint Task Force-Boracay "Area Shield" is also tightly monitoring the coastal communities in Malay mainland and their surrounding waters.

"Tayo ay nakikipagtulungan sa (We are working with the) Philippine Navy, police, and Philippine Army for corroborative efforts to ensure peace and security in the island," he added.

Coast Guard personnel are also on standby 24/7 in Caticlan and Cagban ports, as well as Tabon and Tambisaan areas during habagat season for safety and security of passengers.

Ferrancullo urged the public to alert the PCG and the police about the presence of individuals on board of any suspicious motorized bancas in their areas.

"'Pag nagpumilit na pumasok ang mga bancas, i-report agad sa ating kapulisan at sa Coast Guard sa Caticlan at Boracay (If the bancas insist on entering, report them immediately to the police and to the Coast Guard at Caticlan and Boracay)," he stressed.

Security measures in the ports, he added, were discussed with motorboat owners, cargo operators, and shipping companies during coordination meetings.

Last week, the PCG had ordered its stations and districts to impound boats for failure to comply with the Safety, Security and Environmental Numbering System.

The agency also took over the security supervision of public and private ports and shipping from the Maritime Industry Authority and the Philippine Ports Authority as part of state security preparations against a number of armed groups.

Meanwhile, the Boracay Tourist Assistance Center is implementing target-hardening measures as part of its pro-active response against terror threats in the island.

CCTV deployment

More closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will also be rolled out in Boracay's other "areas of interest."

At least 18 units of CCTV cameras were installed in 2015 and 2016 amounting to P6 million. Of the number, 17 CCTVs were installed in Boracay Island and one in Poblacion in Malay, Aklan.

The CCTVs are top-of-the line surveillance cameras and able to be manually zoomed in up to 200 meters. The CCTVs are wireless-based, backed up by 5 antennas – 4 in Boracay Island, and one in Poblacion in Malay mainland.

Executive Assistant Rowen Aguirre said "out of 18 CCTVs installed, only 12 cameras are functioning while 5 have power supply problems."

"We intend to expand the CCTV coverage for Phase III in Bulabog and other areas of interest identified by the Philippine National Police (PNP)," he added.

Meanwhile, a 24/7 operation center in Barangay Balabag will house personnel from various government agencies such as the Philippine Navy, Philippine Army, PNP and Boracay Action Group.

Sangguniang Bayan members urged Aguirre to deploy 24/7 personnel to do security surveillance and to help deter crimes as well as to cater emergency response during disasters.

Malay Vice Mayor Abram Sualog said round-the-clock monitoring should be in place to maximize the anti-crime initiatives of the government.

"The security should not be taken for granted in Boracay. CCTVs will be put up also in areas of convergence, public places to stop growing incidents in the areas," he stressed.

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