PRO 7 to go after loose firearms

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

IN 2014, the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 wants to stop the spread of loose firearms, following the rise of gun-related crimes.

Chief Supt. Danilo Constantino, PRO 7 director, said this will be one of his main targets because “a firearm is an instrument of crime.”

He said he will direct all city and provincial directors to intensify their campaign by conducting regular checkpoints and implementing search and arrest warrants.

From January to August alone, the total crime volume in Central Visayas rose by 115 percent, based on a report from the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division.

Rise in incidents

Some 39,770 crimes were recorded in the past eight months compared to 14,205 crimes recorded in the same period in 2012. The increase may be attributed to the fact that police included incidents in the barangay level.

The Firearms, Explosives Security Service Agency and Guards Supervisory Section, for its part, has been knocking on the doors of 21,049 gun owners with an expired license since August.

So far, it has renewed 1,962 licenses, while police cannot find 2,910 licensees who have changed their address.

In an earlier report, the PRO 7 recorded 16,159 unregistered loose firearms in the region.

They came up with the number through the arrests of wanted persons and criminal groups.

Apparently, one percent of the population of a province possesses firearms.

Next year, Constantino said, he also wants more police visibility. “We feel yung presence ng kapulisan is hindi masyadong nararamdaman ng ating kababayan (We feel the public doesn’t notice our presence),” he said.

Helping hand

Although there is a drastic shortage of police officers, Constantino said they will maximize whatever they have.

The PRO 7 has less than 8,000 uniformed personnel to look after a population of six million.

“The ideal ratio of police to the public is 1:500. Malaki talaga ang kakulangan (It’s a big difference) but this is being addressed by the national headquarters,” the police director said.

Constantino said they will also help the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 7 in its operation against illegal drugs since the agency lacks personnel.

The PRO 7 may not be the lead agency in the fight against drugs, but he said they will get involved because one of their concerns is maintaining peace and order.

“My concern is the safety and security of everyone,” Constantino said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 01, 2014.

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