The case of a young Taiwanese woman who was fined for wearing a skimpy bikini while in a beach on Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan raises a lot of questions that could be directed at authorities.
It all started Thursday when the photo of the said 26-year-old Taiwanese made the rounds on social media. She supposedly caught the attention of some beachgoers due to the two-piecebathing suit she was wearing, which nearly exposed her most private parts. She was with her boyfriend, who was with her in the said photo and both are here as tourists.
Reportedly, Malay Police chief, Major Jess Baylon, explained to the two that the woman violated Section 5 of Municipal Ordinance 203. Baylon was also quoted as having said that what the woman did was ‘more of public indecency’ and that for the said ‘offense,’ she was issued a citation ticket and fined P2,500.
A research showed that Municipal Ordinance 203, Series of 2003 is an ordinance ‘Regulating the Activities of Mobile Photographers Practicing Their Trade or Calling Within the Territorial Jurisdiction of Malay and Providing Penalties for Violation Thereof.” Particularly, Section 5 of the said ordinance stipulates that ‘taking lewd and/or excessively erotic pictures is prohibited.’
In the case at hand therefore, the woman did not commit any violation of the law. In fact, if at all, police should be running after the ones who photographed the Taiwanese woman without her consent. Moreso, the ones who uploaded the said photographs on social media. The ordinance clearly regulates the activities of photographers in Malay and made no mention of any liability on the part of beachgoers with regard what they wear while on the beach.
Also clearly, that woman was the victim in this case and yet, she was the one who was brought to the police station and fined. The couple told the police that they happen to be models back in Taiwan and that there, people are free to even go sunbathing in the nude so that they were really shocked that what she wore was a big deal here.
Her boyfriend also reportedly explained to the police that she was proud of her body so that she had no qualms about wearing the said two-piece suit as a form of self-expression.
In my own humble opinion, the action taken by the police was misplaced and they are prone to charges, should the said Taiwanese woman learn about what is stated in the law based on which she was brought to the station and fined. On top of this, the humiliation to which she and her boyfriend were subjected as a result of the baseless arrest or invitation to the police station.
I also find the action taken by the police as nothing but a publicity stunt and way too harsh.
It would have been more appropriate if the police merely approached the couple and advised the lady to cover herself a bit because she causes others some degree of discomfort.
The incident also raises some nagging questions. Was there a complainant in the first place? Are there signs anywhere in the beach which says that wearing that kind of swimming outfit is prohibited? Now if indeed, there is such a prohibition, are tourists amply warned about it?
What happened might send the wrong signal to tourists flocking to Boracay that they might be stopped on their tracks at any time and apprehended for imagined law violations.
In law, there is a popular Latin maxim which goes like this: ‘expressio unius est exclusio alterius,’ which means that the expression of one thing is the exclusion of the other. This means that in crafting Municipal Ordinance 203, Series of 2003, the legislators who created it would have referred to the wearing of such revealing swim outfits expressly if indeed, it had meant to include that particular thing within the ambit of its legislation.
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