By Tara Yap
Iloilo City — The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it is committed to strengthening the campaign to confiscate illegal firearms in Western Visayas region.
“This is our answer to the recent violent and deadly incidents in Western Visayas,” said Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, director of Police Regional Office (PRO-6), during Monday morning’s launch of “Tokhang Kontra Ginadumili-an nga Pusil” (Operation Against Illegal Firearms).
The region was not spared from the killings of elected officials and other personalities who are linked to the illegal drug trade. There was also a rise of killing incidents perpetrated by riding-in-tandem suspects.
Police said 418 gun-related crime incidents were reported in Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental provinces in the first semester of 2018. It included cases of murder, homicide, physical injury, robbery, or hold-up.
For Bulalacao, these incidents were perpetrated by people with loose firearms.
“The source, of which are illegally manufactured or locally known as “paltik” or “pugakhang” and those patented firearms that were not registered, but were reported stolen or acquired illegally from various sources that have not undergone proper registration or owners failed to register,” Bulalacao pointed out.
So far, PRO-6 has confiscated only 1,434 loose firearms.
PRO-6 is bent on confiscating more firearms, especially with the upcoming 2019 elections.
Bulalacao said the illegal firearms confiscation will be implemented with a two-way approach.
“The soft-hand approach shall be undertaken thru information targeting of suspected/validated firearm holders and validation from the entire community,” said Bulalacao.
Then, it will be on iron-hand approach that will be implemented via a legitimate police operation.
Meanwhile, PRO-6 is urging the voluntary surrender of loose firearms.