By Aaron Recuenco
Western Visayas police have intensified the campaign against loose firearms as part of the early security preparations for the midterm elections in May next year.
Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, director of the Western Visayas police, said the move aims to reduce the crime rate following a local study which found out that more than 418 criminal incidents in the region were perpetrated using loose firearms.
“The incidents involving the use of firearms can be attributed to the proliferation of loose firearms in the country and in the region,” Bulalacao said.
“The evil source are those illegally manufactured locally known as ‘paltik’ or ‘pugakhang’ to include those patented firearms that were registered but reported lost or stolen, firearms acquired from various sources that have not undergone the proper registration process,” he added.
Bulalacao said 1,434 loose guns have been accounted for based on their latest data.
“With the spike on gun-related crimes perpetrated by the motorcycle-riding suspects, there is a need for us to strategize, orchestrate, and intensify operations to prevent gun-related crimes especially of the forthcoming midterm elections,” Bulalacao said.
The PNP leadership had earlier ordered all police commanders to initiate early election preparations amid the series of killings involving local chief executives.
PNP data showed incidents of gun attacks usually go up before, during, and after the election period.
Bulalacao said their anti-loose firearms campaign will use soft and iron hand against the violators.
The soft hand approach, according to him, shall be undertaken through information operations or house visitations targeting suspected and validated firearm holders and the entire community before initiating appropriate police action through the targeted police operation or the iron hand approach.