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500 Law Enforcement Officers Stationed at Boracay to Watch 26 Tourists

I was neither shocked nor surprised. On CNN Philippines’ newscast last night, the lead story concerned Boracay. This island paradise only had 26 tourists for Boracay’s re-opening day.

“26 TOURISTS FOR BORACAY’S REOPENING DAY”

Furthermore, the local government of Malay, Aklan, was expecting about 95 tourists. That was the number of confirmed bookings. Boracay was reopening to residents from areas under general community quarantine (GCQ.) However, draconian requirements may have scared visitors away.

Stringent Requirements Scaring Away Tourists

You can’t blame them. I listed the strict requirements in a previous post. A costly Covid-19 RT-PCR negative test result is one requirement. RT-PCR tests in Iloilo cost between P3,000 and P4,500. In Metro Manila, tests run from P4,000 to P12,000. That’s from an Inquirer.net press release.

Consequently, you’ll have to pay from 80 to 240 US dollars just for your tests. Never mind your transportation and hotel booking costs. In addition, you have to eat and drink. That costs a plethora of pesos in Boracay.

The Inquirer also noted a remark from an Iloilo vacationer. Iloilo province is in Western Visayas. The sightseer had arrived on the island days before Thursday’s reopening. The visitor said tourists from Western Visayas had canceled their bookings because of the RT-PCR test requirement.

Previously, visitors from Western Visayas did not have to undergo the expensive COVID-19 test before. They could enter Boracay beginning June 16,

A resident and business operator said RT-PCR tests were difficult to get in Western Visayas. Furthermore, the results usually took three days to a week.

Local Government Adds More Restrictions

Furthermore, the local government added even more restrictions. On Wednesday, the day before the reopening, the Aklan Governor issued a new Executive Order, EO. The last-minute restrictions made it even more difficult for tourists to visit Boracay.

As noted earlier, a negative RT-PCR test result and confirmed booking from a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment is required. According to the Daily Guardian, the EO states that visitors will now also need to register online for a Health Declaration Card, HDC. The HDC is available in the provincial government’s website.

The Health Declaration Card, which is in the form of a Quick Response (QR) Code, contains all tourists’ details. Their RT-PCR test result, trip details, length of stay, and their hotel accommodations will be in the QR Code. All tourists should keep the QR Codes personally at all times, until they leave the province.

Authorities at the ports of entry and all authorized establishments will scan the QR Code. It took two hours to process visitors from the Caticlan port of entry to Boracay according to one report. That was with only 26 visitors! Imagine if even more tourists eventually do come to visit.

However, members of law enforcement agencies and politicians will be exempted from presenting a negative RT-PCR test result.

500 Law Enforcement Officers Stationed at Boracay to Watch 26 Tourists

The Daily Guardian reports that the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) has been preparing for the reopening of the island for tourists outside of Western Visayas.

DSC

Modern police facility in our local province of Guimaras

For the Boracay reopening, over 400 Philippine National Police personnel were deployed in the island for the maintenance of peace and order, security, and implementation of minimum health protocols. In addition, the local government hired 100 additional beach guards to patrol the beachfront and other areas in the island.

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Pablito, Malay police chief, said, “The situation is very manageable.”

However, with 500-law enforcement officials watching only 26 tourists it shouldn’t come as a surprise the situation was “very manageable.” I believe even Barney Fife could have handled the “crowds.”

A curfew from 11 pm to 4 am is also in place. Furthermore, all discos and bars are closed. Boracay is no longer “Party Central.”

Tourists are required to wear face masks on the beach. Masks will not be required while swimming.

Should You Visit Boracay Now?

Frankly, why should you? You have to navigate your way through a multitude of regulatory hoops before you can even enter the island. While we’ve visited this beautiful slice of paradise on three previous occasions, we won’t be visiting in the near future. If the Tourism Dept. wants to encourage more visitors, they’ll have to rescind their strict regulations.

Save your money. Save your time. Wait until the mass hysteria generated by the coronavirus pandemic dies down. I believe it will be a long time before the Philippine government will loosen any restrictions.

Philippines Enters the Infamous Top 20

The Philippines has the longest and one of the strictest COVID-19 lockdowns in the world. The archipelago entered the list of 20 countries with the most number of coronavirus cases worldwide on October 1. The Philippines now has 314,079 cases.

The PH beat out Pakistan, which at the 21st spot, has 312,806 coronavirus cases. The Philippines is now just one slot below Italy that has 314,861 cases. It’s possible for the Philippines to surpass it in a few days, if not hours says Rappler.com.

The USA, India, and Brazil make up the top three respectively.

Rappler cited figures from the Worldometers site and the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

The Philippines already has the most COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia.

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