BCPO: Watchmen not authorized to possess guns

THE Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) does not tolerate village watchmen possessing firearms especially while on duty.

Senior Inspector Armilyn Vargas, public information officer of BCPO, said on Thursday, February 1, that “tanods” are not allowed to join or initiate police operations.

“They are just additional manpower for crowd control and assistance, if necessary,” she added.

Vargas said village watchmen are not authorized to possess guns because they are not law enforcers.

There are those tapped by police stations, but despite being utilized as force multipliers, they are still not allowed to use firearms, she added.

If caught, they will be charged for illegal possession of firearms, Vargas said, adding that it is the jurisdiction of the villages and the local government units to monitor the activities of village watchmen.

Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año reminded anew village chairmen to ensure that no barangay tanod (watchmen) under their supervision carry firearms while performing their duties, following the incident last December wherein 10 policemen and two village watchmen of Baranggay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City fired upon a vehicle which was then rushing a shooting incident victim to the hospital.

Two people were killed in the incident which was considered to be a case of mistaken identity.

Año said the watchmen can only use nightstick with teargas with belt and holster, handcuff with holster, whistle, flashlight, raincoat, rainboots, small notebooks and ballpens, first aid kits and other non-lethal gadgets while performing their duties.

The DILG chief cited Republic Act no. 10591, known as Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act enacted in 2012, which revoked the authority of police auxiliary unit members such as barangay watchmen to carry firearms, which was previously allowed by Circular No. 2008-013 of the National Police Commission.
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