THE Police Regional Office (PRO)-Northern Mindanao is urging gun owners to register their guns or renew the licenses of their firearms to avoid potential charges.
“Now is the best time for gun owners to renew their firearms,” Chief Inspector Roger Albacete, Police Regional Civil Security Unit (RCSU), said in an interview Wednesday.
In Northern Mindanao, the number of firearms that are yet to be renewed had gone down from 31,648 to 24,432 as of September of this year, he said.
The RCSU cannot give the exact number of registered gun owners in the region but Albacete said most of them possess at least one short firearm.
“Many of them (gun owners) use firearms for shooting competitions only,” he said, adding that since Mindanao is under the martial rule, it would be appropriate for them to renew their weapons.
He said many of the existing gun owners have yet to renew their firearms due to their failure to comply with the requirements.
To address the sheer volume of “loose” firearms, he said the RCSU has set up the License to Own and Operate Firearms (LTOPF) Caravan wherein enthusiasts can renew their guns without having to go through the hassle of going to different agencies to comply with the requirements.
Persons wishing to register or renew their firearms would have to attend a gun safety seminar, undergo a drug test, and take a neuropsychiatric examination, as well as obtaining a clearance at the National Bureau of Investigation.
At the LTOPF Caravan, all these requirements are in one roof and this has proven to be very convenient for owners who want to renew their firearms, Albacete said.
“The LTOPF Caravan offers a one-stop shop and this will save gun owners time and money,” he said. In Cagayan de Oro, the caravan was held Oct. 10-11, in coordination with the Macahambus chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, whose members are mostly shooting enthusiasts.
After here, Albacete said the LTOPF Caravan will be visiting other areas in the region, including Gingoog City, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, and Bukidnon.
For category 1, gun owners will have to pay at least P3,500 for registration or renewal of a handgun and a long firearm.
At present, civilians are not allowed to bring their firearms outside their homes or they will be arrested, Albacete said.
Even security agencies were ordered to turn over their high-powered firearms. So far, the RCSU has 128 of such weapons from the security agencies in their inventory.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 12, 2017.