PHILIPPINE National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde has commended all 17 police regional units for their strict enforcement of the nationwide gun ban since last January 13 which so far has already led in the arrest of over 5,500 law offenders and the confiscation of more than 42,000 firearms and other deadly weapons.
The PNP chief expects his men to continue implementing the Omnibus Election Code which prohibits the unauthorized carrying of firearms and other deadly weapons during the election period which started last January 13 and will end this coming June 12.
In his most recent command conference, Gen. Albayalde required his unit commanders and chiefs of police to double their gun ban checkpoints. In particular, he ordered his men in the countryside to focused not only in ‘poblacions’ or town propers but also put up checkpoint in mountain barangays as well. He said a true and honest checkpoint should be implemented to deter untoward incidents during the polling period.
Apart from that, the PNP chief ordered a stepped-up crackdown against loose firearms, wanted persons, criminal gangs specifically gun-for-hire syndicates and existing partisan armed groups.
Records from the PNP National Election Monitoring Action Center showed that from January 13 to date, over 5,300 persons have been arrested as a result of Focused Police Operations including the conduct of checkpoint, police patrols/response, service of search warrants and warrants of arrest, buy-bust operations and enforcement of Oplan: Sita, Oplan: Galugad and Oplan: Bakal nationwide.
Of those arrested, more than 1,110 are civilians while the rest are either members of the PNP, the Armed Forces and other law enforcement agencies, government officials, elected officials, security guards, members of threat groups, partisan armed groups and foreign nationals.
Those operations have already resulted in the confiscation of over 4,600 firearms and nearly 44,300 other deadly weapons including firearm replicas, bladed/pointed weapons, grenades, explosives and various types of live ammunition.
The seized weapons include pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns as well as light weapons and home-made guns locally known as ‘paltik/sumpak.’
Gen. Albayalde in particular commended the National Capital Region Police Office for its successful enforcement of the gun ban in Metro Manila which has led in the confiscation of more than 1,500 firearms that could have been used to disrupt the holding of a peaceful and orderly May 13 elections in the metropolis.
“I am pleased to take note of the latest operational accomplishments of NCRPO under Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar in the implementation of the Comelec-imposed gun ban. One week before the 2019 midterm elections on May 13, the NCRPO has effectively reduced the possibility of election violence by taking away 1,498 firearms from the hands of unauthorized individuals and criminal elements,” the PNP chief said the other Monday.
Records showed that aside from the firearms, NCRPO agents also seized items prohibited by the Comelec during the election period including 670 pointed weapons, five grenades, 22 explosive/improvised explosive device (IED) materials and 3,226 assorted live ammunition.
Eleazar said since the gun ban started last January 13, they have also arrested 1,104 persons for violation of the Omnibus Election Code in Metro Manila. Another 1,114 persons were also arrested in the metropolis during the conduct of other law enforcement operations since the gun ban started, he added.
The NCRPO chief said although there are no ‘hot spots’ in the metropolis, they are not lowering their guards and are seeing to it that the presence of loose weapons, partisan armed groups and other criminal elements will be arrested during the election period which will end on June 12.
Apart from the NCRPO, the following police regional offices have also fared well in the enforcement of the gun ban since last January 13 to date. They are: Police Regional Office 1 with more than 350 arrests; PRO2 with over 250; PRO3 with nearly 600; PRO4-A with nearly 600; PRO4-B with over 150; PRO5 with nearly 200; PRO6 with nearly 450; PRO7 with more than 550; PRO8 with nearly 300; PRO9 with nearly 200; PRO10 with more than 200; PRO11 with nearly 200; PRO12 with over 120; PRO13 with over 120; Cordillera police with over 60; and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police with over 100 arrests.