With incidents of crime reported on the island’s reopening, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu on Friday said solar lamps will soon be installed along Boracay island’s beachfront to make the area safer.
This after at least two cases of theft were reported since the island’s reopening last week involving two Italian tourists and a woman who lost her phone to a pickpocket.
“If we can put lights as soon as possible, we will. We will do that because it is pretty dark (along the beachfront),” Cimatu said.
A group of Boracay businessmen asked government to allow them to put up temporary lights while the solar lamps are yet installed.
Boracay was closed to tourists in April 26 for a half-year rehabilitation.
The island was reopened to the public in October with stricter policies imposed on both establishments and tourists.
Government earlier had banned torches, string lights and other artificial lighting on the beach that allegedly “destroy the natural environment,” but is now starting to reconsider after several incidents of theft.
The last incident was caught on CCTV which showed a pickpocket stealing tourist Iana Madrazo’s phone as she was walking along the D’Mall Plaza at 12:39 p.m. on Monday.
The suspect, who was wearing a white shirt and glasses, trailed the victim. When he got close enough to Madrazo, he took her phone and placed it in his jacket.
“The thief who took my phone was caught in CCTV video. We’re mad because instead of enjoying (our vacation), we got robbed,” Madrazo said.
While the reopening of Boracay attracted petty thieves, authorities are prepared to secure visitors, said Senior Supt. Jesus Cambay Jr., commander of the Metro Boracay Police Task Force.
There will be a consultation on the matter next week, said Compliant Association of Boracay president Fiona Molina.
Cimatu also declared the agency will allow water sports activities in the beach after an earlier ban.
Water sports, he said, will be back starting today while diving activities will be allowed starting 8 November.
Despite the initial cases of theft, Boracay hotels and inns remain fully booked.
with Kuhlin Ceslie Gacula