THE Philippine National Police yesterday noted a more than 300 percent increase in the seizure of loose firearms including guns with expired licenses from January to June this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to PNP Deputy Chief for Operations, Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, COVID-19 did not stop PNP authorities from aggressively running after loose firearms in the country.
Eleazar added that a total of 584 firearms of various calibers belonging to different security agencies in the country were seized by the PNP Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies or PNP-SOSIA headed by Colonel Sydney Villaflor during the past six months of the year as a result of its post-to-post inspection across the country.
The police official said the confiscation of the firearms during the past six months of 2020 is more than 300 percent higher compared to the 193 illegal guns confiscated during the same period in 2019.
He noted that the aggressive campaign against unregistered guns and firearms with expired licenses from security guards and security and investigation agencies is part of the order issued by PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa to further intensify the campaign against loose firearms.
"One firearm is too many if it lands on the hands of a person with a criminal mind. This is why we are serious in accounting all loose guns and firearms with expired licenses," he said.
Eleazar stressed this achievement shows the serious stance of the PNP in enforcing the law in line with its mandated task to maintain peace and order.
The 584 firearms seized from January to June this year and the 139 guns confiscated in the last semester of last year were presented yesterday by Lt. Gen. Eleazar and Col. Villaflor to the public.
"We would like to inform the public that since June 1, the frontline administrative service for issuance of permits and clearances were already resumed," said Villaflor.
The PNP-SOSIA director said that 536 of the confiscated firearms will be turned over to the PNP Crime Laboratory for inspection and verification.
The move is aimed at countering the so-called 'kambal-baril' scheme wherein erring security agencies would use the same serial number for at least two firearms.
Eleazar confirmed the scheme saying it is usually done by unscrupulous security agencies to save money from firearm registration.
"This is tampering and this is illegal. If a security guard is found in possession of firearms with tampered serial number, this is equivalent to illegal possession of firearms," Eleazar said as he advised all private security agencies in the country to strictly comply with all PNP rules and regulations to avoid trouble with the law.