LINGAYEN -- All the shotguns issued to the more than 1,300 barangays in the province of Pangasinan will be recalled by the police provincial command, covered by the election gun ban.

Police Provincial Director Percival Barba said he has issued a directive to the 48 city and municipal chiefs-of-police to inform all the barangay captains at their respective areas of responsibility about the matter.

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All the shotguns, which were procured by the Provincial Government, will be kept at the police stations.

“There is no problem really as this is clearly specified at the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed by the barangay captains and the police provincial command when these shotguns were turned over to them,” Barba said.

He said the MOA states that the shotguns will be recalled and will be under the custody of the police during the entire duration of the election, may it be local or national.

And like other firearms, it shall be subject to laws, rules and regulations passed by the Commission on Election.

Meanwhile, the shotguns issued to the barangays have been a subject of criticism because of some incidents. 

December last year, a barangay captain was charged because he was bringing the shotgun inside the Justice Hall of Lingayen.

Another barangay captain is facing a case for allegedly being the suspect in a shooting incident where the shotgun was allegedly used.

On the other hand, a police recruit committed suicide using the shotgun issued to a certain barangay in Urdaneta City.

“In view of isolated reported incidents of abuse and misuse of the shotguns issued to the barangays, the Province issues this clarification on the erroneous assumption or perception that the province should be held responsible for such abuse and misuse,” the Provincial Government stated.

“First, it should be noted that barangay captains or the Punong Barangay (PB) are authorized to possess and carry the necessary firearm within their territorial jurisdiction.  Section 389 of RA 7160 or the Local Government Code provides: In the performance of his peace and order functions, the PB shall be entitled to possess and carry the necessary firearm within their territorial jurisdiction, subject to appropriate rules and regulations,” it added.

After the signing of the Supplemental MOA, transferring the ownership of the shotguns to the barangays as a grant from the province, the shotguns ceased to be properties of the Province and became the property of the barangays. 

The barangays made the undertaking to “use the shotgun exclusively in the barangay’s campaign for peace and order. In no case shall the said firearm be taken outside of the barangay’s territorial jurisdiction, except in cases of legitimate hot pursuit, or in other valid and justifiable cases, which the PNP (Philippine National Police) may allow.” (LCMY/Sunnex)