AT LEAST 71 residents and tourists in Boracay Island were caught and fined by the Malay police for violation of health protocols.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Don Dicksie De Dios, chief of the Malay police, said each of those caught were given citation tickets and fined P2,500.

"Our police personnel conducted an operation from 12 midnight until 2 a.m. of November 1 and those caught were cited for violating the Municipal Ordinance (MO) 453 S-2021, otherwise known as Covid-19 Prevention and Control Ordinance, particularly Section 9: ‘Strict Observance of Curfew Hours or Liquor Ban. Mass Gathering,’" De Dios said.

He said that of the 71 violators, 36 were caught by PCP2-Balabag, 13 by PCP1-Manocmanoc, 12 by PCP3-Yapak and 10 by the Malay headquarters.

Last October 29, the local government of Malay shortened the curfew hours in Boracay Island from 12 midnight to 4 a.m.

The mainland Malay maintained its 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew hours as set by the Aklan Provincial Government.

Other provisions of MO 453 are mandatory wearing of face masks (Section 3), optional use of face shield for drivers (Section 5), strict physical distancing (Section 7), and mass gathering (Section 10).

Under Section 6 of said ordinance, persons who are into physical activities, like swimming, jogging, biking and the like, to the exclusion of contact sports, are exempted from wearing face masks and face shields.

The police operation is being conducted regularly and simultaneously by the five police stations and the Malay headquarters, with the assistance of Malay Auxiliary Police and the Barangay Enforcement Team.

"We appeal to the public to strictly follow the said ordinance to avoid inconvenience and penalties, and more importantly, ensure that tourists visiting the island, tourism workers and the local community are protected and safe against the deadly Covid-19," said De Dios.

He added that local government authorities and tourism stakeholders have been reminding the tourists to follow the health protocols in Boracay.

Meanwhile, reports from the Malay Tourism Office showed that at least 32,452 tourists have visited Boracay from October 1 to 31, 2021. Most of the tourists were from the National Capital Region. (SunStar Philippines)