By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Sunday urged the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to go after barangay officials who are taking advantage of President Rodrigo Duterte’s six-month closure order on Boracay Island and extorting money from local businesses.
Lacson said he discovered that some local officials are asking P400,000 from businesses in exchange for IDs to non-local residents who are working in Boracay, now that there is a ‘no ID, no entry’ policy being enforced in the tourist spot.
“That’s too much: P400,000 just to give their employees an ID,” Lacson said in an interview over Radio DZBB.
“This has become the livelihood of the barangay officials there. There were kagawads telling them about it. That they would fix their employees’ ID in exchange for money,” he said.
“That’s too much, P400,000, so that’s a racket already! They are taking advantage of the President’s order knowing that nobody can come to the island if you’re not a resident,” the senator pointed out.
He said it is the DILG’s job to conduct a counter-intelligence on this extortion racket and clamp down on officials doing such scheme.
“It’s the job of the DILG to conduct counter-intelligence. If they need to do conduct an entrapment operation they should,” he pointed out.
“We cannot allow that there are barangay officials—and even running in the May 14 polls—to get away with that kind of corruption,” he said.
“It’s the job of the DILG to strengthen their intelligence and counter-intelligence so they can arrest those opportunists,” added Lacson.
Likewise, the lawmaker urged the Senate to include this scam in its ongoing probe on Boracay’s issues, as well as the DILG.
“There’s another resolution to conduct another hearing. I don’t know if these businesses are willing to testify, but I heard this issue myself because the meeting was spontaneous,” Lacson said.