POLICE have called on the public to immediately report private security guards carrying light weapons including automatic rifles in the streets since the practice has been banned by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Philippine National Police Civil Security Group director Brigadier General Roberto B. Fajardo said complaints about security guards carrying high-powered weapons like M-16 and AK-47 automatic rifles can be relayed to the PNP-CSG hotlines 0919-2296432 and 0977-0170302. He assured that the identities of the tipsters will be kept in utmost secrecy.
On May 20, 2017, President Duterte ordered the PNP to prevent private security guards from carrying M-16 or AK-47 rifles specifically in the countryside since they are highly-prone to “agaw-armas” activities of the New People’s Army and other lawless elements.
In turn, the PNP-CSG, then headed by now retired Major General Federico Dulay Jr., suspended the processing of Authority to Purchase Firearms classified as small arms or rifle with semi-automatic capability prescribed under Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 given to Private Security Agencies, Private Detective Agencies, Company Security Units, Presidents/Owners, Armored Security Services and Heads of Government Guard Units.
The PNP-CSG also ordered the recall of issued Authorization for the use of light weapons or Class A high-powered weapons of PSSPs and the immediate recall of all HPFAs to include semi-automatic rifles issued by PSSPs to their security guards for safekeeping in the nearest PNP stations, the Police Provincial Office or Supply Accountable Officers.
Fajardo said the directive meant that security guards must be armed only with shotguns and handguns, not HPFAs including automatic rifles like M-16 and AK-47s.
Thus, he called on security agencies still in possession of the banned light weapons or small arms or rifle with semi-automatic capability to immediately surrender them to the police or face charges.
“There are no more deadlines for them (security agencies) to turn over their high-powered firearms since the original deadline for them to do so was two years ago,” the member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987 told the Journal Group.
Fajardo added that security agencies which will be found violating the presidential directive will suffer the penalty of cancellation of their registration papers and licenses.
Vowing to apply an “Oplan: Tokhang” or “knock and plead” program on private security agencies in order to convince them to fully comply with a directive issued by President Duterte in 2017, Fajardo said those who will not comply with his directive will have their licenses revoked.
“Those who will not surrender their high-powered firearms, they will not be allowed to renew their license to operate and thus will be considered as unlicensed security agencies subject to immediate closure,” the official said.
Fajardo said unlike soldiers and policemen and other members of law enforcement agencies in the country, security guards are not trained to handle high-powered guns.
The PNP-CSG is investigating the AY-76 Security Specialists Inc. which was found to be still in possession of high-powered guns despite the 2017 memorandum after their guards in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental were disarmed of their five AK-47 rifles by New People’s Army guerrillas last month.
During the NPA attack at the Minergy Power Plant Ash Pond Site in Sitio Bahusan in Barangay Quezon, Balingasag town, five security guards lost five AK-47 rifles with 17 magazines containing hundreds of live ammunition and hand-held radios to the guerrillas.
Furious PNP and military officials said once again, security guards have literally “donated” high-powered guns to the NPA which the guerrillas could use to kill or maim security troops in Mindanao.
PNP chief General Oscar D. Albayalde ordered Fajardo to conduct a full-blast investigation into the Balingasag incident and institute appropriate measures and sanctions should administrative and operational lapses by the security provider will be found.