Capitol, police agree to augment tourist police
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu Provincial government and the provincial police on Monday, October 26, 2020, agreed to augment police officers in tourist spots in the province if it meant reinforcing health protocols in tourist sites and establishments here.
“What we need is an augmentation for tourism officers… Tourist police are duly recognized by our EO (executive order) outlining tourism guidelines,” said Governor Gwendolyn Garcia in a press conference at the Capitol.
Garcia and Police Colonel Aladdin Collado, director of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), on Monday, clarified an earlier statement made by the police on forming a task force for tourism spots.
Both the governor and police director said augmentation was needed, considering that the province currently had a task force focused on overseeing the reopening and resuming of tourism enterprises.
This developed after a now-deleted post circulated on social media last Sunday, October 25, alleging tourists in Santa Fe town in Bantayan Island were not following health protocols such as wearing face masks and observing physical distancing.
But Garcia, quoting statements from the local government of Santa Fe, said those captured in the photos were not tourists but rather, locals who spent their Sundays by the sea.
Collado, in a follow-up interview, said they were considering to train at least 50 police officers to be deployed in tourist spots.
He also said the briefing must be conducted in coordination with tourism-related national government agencies.
“Having tourist police (officers) requires specialized training. As of now, we’re planning to add 50 tourist police officers for the entire province,” said Collado.
Cebu Province has been placed under the most relaxed form of community quarantine — modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) — since July which, in effect, allowed tourism enterprises to resume business.
The Capitol has since then allowed several tourism establishments and destinations to reopen which include whale-shark watching activities in Oslob town, island hopping and diving in Moalboal, and most recently — beach resorts in Santa Fe town in Bantayan Island.
Bantayan Island, which is comprised of three municipalities — Santa Fe, Bantayan, and Madridejos — is located approximately 140 kilometers northwest of Cebu City. /dbs
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