Police: Loose firearms proliferate in Central Mindanao-A A +A
Saturday, January 19, 2013
KIDAPAWAN CITY -- Close to 18,000 firearms are considered "loose" in Central Mindanao, data from the police regional headquarters said.
Senior Inspector Benjamin Mauricio, chief of the information office of the Central Mindanao, said there are about 13,000 gun licenses that have expired as of September 2012.
Data also showed that around 4,600 firearms are being kept by rebel groups, including the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples' Army; Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF); Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF); kidnap-for-ransom gangs; wanted persons; and other armed lawless elements.
In Cotabato City, around 3,000 loose firearms have been proliferating since last year, according to Aniceto Rasalan, secretary to the City Mayor.
Unlicensed firearms are also monitored in Kabacan, one of the towns in North Cotabato where crimes perpetuated by riding-in-tandem gunmen are high.
The latest casualty in Kabacan by motorcycle-riding attackers was the town's vice mayor, Pol Dulay, who was shot dead in a broad daylight along Poblacion on January 11.
Kabacan police chief Superintendent Leo Ajero, said that, most, if not all, weapons used to silence the victims of the riding-in-tandem suspects were unregistered or unlicensed.
"In our analysis, using as basis the results of the ballistic examinations conducted by the Scene of the Crime Operatives in North Cotabato, the criminals have used loose firearms," Ajero said.
Cotabato provincial election supervisor, lawyer Duque Kadatuan, said the implementation of gun could help bring to an end the problem on loose firearm and the use of private armies during the election.
But since the firearm ban has been enforced on January 13, no one was arrested during checkpoint, reports said.
"Mas marami pa ang napatay kaysa nahuli ng mga pulis no'ng magsimula ang gun ban (It seems there were a number of persons killed than arrested when the gun ban was enforced)," said M'lang Mayor Lito Pinol during the Municipal Peace and Order Council meeting held Friday where they discussed, among other things, the killing on Thursday of 26-year-old Shernan Mark Duerme.
Duerme was the commandant of the Citizens Army Training of the M'lang National High School-Annex in Barangay Lepaga.
Pinol was surprised that Duerme's attackers were able to execute the killing without being detected by authorities.
"If the police were dead serious in the enforcement of gun ban, how come Duerme's killers were able to pass through the highway?" asked Pinol.
Ajero said that lawless elements will not respect the gun ban since they do not use firearms that are easily traceable.
Despite this, Ajero said they will help ensure the safety of the civilians in his area of responsibility by complementing the gun ban through regular conduct of "Oplan Kapkap Bakal," "Oplan Sita," and the enforcement of the "No Helmet, No Travel" policy.
The operations, he stressed, are among the measures they had undertaken to strengthen police security, following the series of shooting incidents in Kabacan town.
The Oplan Kapkap Bakal is a security measure which would monitor the proliferation of unlicensed firearms through the establishment of mobile check points, the police official said.
Meantime, in nearby Datu Montawal town in Maguindanao, some politicians and individuals are keeping unlicensed firearms, data from PNP said.
The PNP, however, has no exact data as to the number of loose firearms that are being kept by politicians' private goons, criminal elements, and other armed lawless groups, according to Mauricio.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 20, 2013.