CRACK police teams are currently on prowl for any violators of the law against indiscriminate firing and will see to it that offenders, whether they are policemen or any other law enforcement agents as well as trigger-happy civilians will be arrested and will have to spend the New Year in jail, the Philippine National Police leadership said yesterday.
PNP Officer-in-Charge, Lieutenant General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa said there will be no compromise when it comes to illegal discharge of firearm during the New Year revelries as he has ordered his men to see to it that violators will be arrested as soon as possible and charged in court.
National Capital Region Police Office director, Brigadier General Debold M. Sinas said that in Metro Manila, they will be monitoring areas which have been the scene of deadly indiscriminate firing and stray bullet incidents in the past and will immediately apply the ‘one-strike’ policy’ on station commanders who will fail to solve any such case within 24-hours.
For the 4th straight year, the PNP will not seal the muzzles of its guns with masking tapes but Gen. Gamboa maintained there will be a much tougher campaign against indiscriminate firing with ground commanders to face relief in case they prevent or fail to solve firing of guns in the air or stray bullets in their areas before and during the New Year festivities.
“There will be no more taping. All are deemed to have understood the dangers and consequences of doing such illegal act: dismissal and filing of criminal charges,” Gen. Gamboa told the Journal Group.
PNP spokesman, Brigadier Gen. Bernard M. Banac explained that since they started veering away from the traditional practice of putting masking tapes on the muzzles of the service firearms of their men, they have been able to prove that members of the police force are responsible enough.
“Last year, there is no case of indiscriminate firing involving a policeman with a sealed firearm. With that, we have shown the entire public that we are responsible police officers,” the PNP spokesperson said.
In 2017, police recorded 22 incidents of stray bullet injuries followed by zero in 2018 and 12 so far this year. There were also 29 recorded cases of indiscriminate firing in 2017 followed by 30 in 2018 and 33 so far this year.
On the other hand, 12 persons were arrested by the police for involvement in indiscriminate firing in 2017; 26 in 2018 and 30 so far this year. All have been charged in court.
The PNP leadership under Officer-in-Charge, Lieutenant General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa explained that they veered away from the tradition knowing that foreign tourists in the country are wondering why the guns of policemen patrolling near them are sealed and signed too by the beat officer.
The PNP leadership explained that before, tourists gawked at the site of a cop with a sealed firearm during previous years and the site gave them the wrong impression that local policemen are not that disciplined enough compared to the policemen in their country.
Sinas said that in line with the PNP’s ‘Ligtas Paskuhan 2019’ program, there will also be no more sealed guns for the Team NCRPO but all Metro Manila policemen are under orders to further intensify police visibility to ensure there will be peace, order, safety and joy in our midst, every moment of the day.
The official explained that in fact, there were fewer cases of policemen being accosted for violating the directive against indiscriminate firing since the PNP leadership veered away from the tradition.
Under the PNP Ligtas Paskuhan 2019 memorandum, the PNP had made it clear that chiefs of police will be relieved in the event they won’t be able to solve a deadly case of indiscriminate firing in their territory within a 24-hour period.
The PNP leadership likewise also reminded anew its officers and men of the ‘one-strike policy’ when it comes to incident of death resulting from indiscriminate firing during the period.
“The one-strike policy regarding incident of death or injury resulting from indiscriminate firing on Christmas and New Year’s Day will be implemented to all commanders and all Chiefs of Police. Henceforth, they will be relieved if the case is not solved within 24-hours,” the memorandum said.
Police are also under orders to arrest the illegal manufacture, sale and use of prohibited firecrackers and pyrotechnics nationwide as part of the government’s effort to save lives and limbs.
The collateral damage of firecrackers is not discounted to include the risk brought about by the illegal discharge of firearms, officials said.
The PNP Directorate for Operations headed by Major Gen. Emmanuel Luis D. Licup said that all police regional offices and national support units have been ordered to intensify intelligence-driven and managed patrols in areas where they are most needed.
Maj. Gen. Licup said they also have their focused law enforcement operations which refers to the implementation and enforcement of applicable laws; aggressive operations against suspected terror groups and criminal gangs; manhunt operations against wanted persons; immediate resolution of cases specifically those involving firearms; and the conduct of Oplan Sita, Oplan Bakal, Oplan Galugad, Oplan Katok, service of warrant of arrest and search warrants and other police interventions.