PHILIPPINE National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday said 23 trigger-happy firearms’ holders, 7 of them policemen, would be facing the brunt of the law for firing their guns indiscriminately during the holiday season.
The PNP chief also vowed stiff administrative sanctions against the policemen who figured in 26 separate cases of illegal discharge of firearms.
The 7 were among the 23 persons arrested nationwide when police units responded to 26 separate reports of illegal discharge of firearms from December 16, 2018 until 6 a.m. of January 1, 2019, he said.
“As I have promised, there will be no mercy for errant personnel who will fire their guns to celebrate the holiday,” Gen. Albayalde said.
Apart from the 7 policemen, the others arrested include 2 government officials, 1 member of the Armed Forces, 2 security guards and another law enforcement agent.
“The full might of the law will be applied to these trigger-happy gun owners upon observance of all requirements of due pocess,” the PNP chief said.
The PNP deployed 26,676 police personnel to places of convergence, transportation hubs and terminal terminals for route security and target hardening during the Yuletide.
Elsewhere across the country, the PNP arrested 97 persons for violation of laws and ordinances that prohibit the use and sale of dangerous firecrackers and banned pyrotechnic devices.
Gen. Albayalde commended all 17 PNP Regional Directors and local police unit commanders for the effective implementation of Ligtas Paskuhan 2018, the national security and public safety plan laid out by the PNP for the holiday season.
The Chief PNP particularly noted that the Department of Health reported a sharp 58% decline the number of firecracker-related injuries and Zero stray bullet casualties this year.
“The overall nationwide celebration of the Holiday Season for 2018 was generally safer and more peaceful compared to the previous year. This is despite of a much more serious security challenges faced by the PNP at the close of 2018,” Gen. Albayalde said.
He said that the December 31 New Year’s Eve revelry alone was resoundingly safer compared to 2017 with only 1 incident of stray bullet reported which caused a slight injury to one person in Cagayan De Oro City.
According to Albayalde, incidents of illegal discharge of firearms went down by 85 percent from 7 incidents in 2017 to only 1 incident for 2018 while injuries due to firecrackers also went down by 80 percent from 188 to 36 incidents.
“These positive developments could be attributed to our early preparations and consistent implementation of various measures under our Security and Safety Plan: Ligtas Paskuhan 2018; our aggressive implementation of the President’s Memorandum Orders 28 and 31; our closer coordination with relevant government agencies e.g., Bureau of Fire Protection, DILG, Department of Health and the different LGUs nationwide; the rainy season which kept most citizens inside their homes and the active support and cooperation of the general public,” he said.
“Even as I extend my warmest congratulations to all members of our police organization, the PNP will never rest on its laurels. We will once again buckle down to work as we deal with other peace and security challenges facing our country and as we prepare to ensure free, honest, peaceful and credible plebiscite and mid-term elections this January and May of this year,” Gen. Albayalde added.