"FOREST rangers are not allowed to carry firearms."

Cadiz City Mayor Salvador Escalante Jr. made this clarification Wednesday, December 8, following an incident where a one-year-old girl was hit by a stray bullet after forest ranger Nomar Ayan Berto reportedly discharged his firearm.

Escalante said he already coordinated with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to see to the needs of the victim's family.

Upon meeting with Cadiz City Police Station chief Police Lieutenant Colonel Rocky Desear, the mayor learned that the suspect, a close relative of the victim, was drinking with some of his colleagues prior to the incident.

Escalante added that 48-year-old Berto, of Sitio Sicaba Monte in Barangay Caduhaan, is assigned under the Cadiz City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro).

"Forest rangers are not allowed to carry any kind of weapons, especially firearms," he said, adding that he will hold a meeting with Cenro officials and other forest rangers in the city regarding the issue next week.

Meanwhile, the Cadiz City Police Station is now preparing homicide charges against Berto, who is currently detained at the police station.

The firearm used by the suspect was a .38 caliber revolver. Authorities believe that it was hidden in the suspect's house.

Escalante already ordered the police to ensure that it should be recovered.

Once recovered, additional charge of illegal possession of firearms will also be filed against Berto.

Jason Abayon, the father of the child, earlier said that around 5 p.m. Sunday, December 5, his wife was breastfeeding their daughter when they heard a loud pop in the wall.

She later saw the child bleeding on the head.

The victim was immediately rushed to a clinic in the neighboring town of Manapla and was later transferred to the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City.

On Monday, December 6, the child succumbed to a gunshot wound while being treated.

Berto, on the other hand, surrendered to the police on Tuesday morning, December 7. He was unable to justify why he fired his gun.