Police warn gun buyers vs illegal firearms

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Monday, November 19, 2012

AUTHORITIES warned potential gun buyers to make sure that they are not purchasing illegal firearms especially that the country is gearing up the security for the 2013 midterm elections.

Police Director Samuel Pagdilao Jr., chief of the Criminal Detection and Investigation Group (CIDG), urged the public to be more aware of the rules and regulations in the legal purchase of firearms.

Pagdilao said the public can inquire from the Philippine National Police Firearms and Explosives Office (PNP-FEO) or even from the local police regarding the matter. He warned gun buyers to not purchase illegal firearms especially those which are high powered and unlicensed.

The CIDG chief added that it has been observed in the past that gun-related crimes attributed to the polls usually increase during pre-election periods.

The CIDG chief's statements came after authorities confiscated last week an armalite rifle and rounds of ammunition from the house of a 43-year-old fish dealer in Sta Maria, Ilocos Sur, who was also arrested during the raid.

Ilocos Sur is one of the 15 "high risk areas" for possible election-related violence identified recently by Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas.

Roxas based the list of 15 provinces on several factors such as the presence of private armed groups and loose firearms in the areas, which include Abra, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Cavite, Masbate, Samar, Misamis Occidental, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan.

He said the police force will account and recover the illegal and loose firearms in these provinces to ensure public safety and order in next year's polls.

There are currently around 363,000 loose firearms nationwide while 571,303 more have non-renewed licenses, according to the PNP-FEO.

Earlier this month, the PNP said about 4, 976 loose firearms were confiscatefd by authorities from January to October.

Of the said figure, around 4,911 were from criminal elements while 158 were from threat groups. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Sunnex)

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