The iron and soft-hand approaches of the police in the recovery of loose firearms, including those with expired licenses, yielded 1,279, in Negros Occidental as of January 7 this year, police records show.
Chief Inspector Edison Garcia, newly-designated spokesperson of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, yesterday said that of the 1,279 surrendered and recovered firearms, 1,207 of them were from July 25 last year to January 7 this year, through the Oplan Tokhang sa Guinadili-an nga Pusil.
The 79 others were recovered in police operations, Garcia, who replaced Senior Inspector Aireen Cordua as NOCPPO spokesperson, said.
As the election period starts on January 13, the police is also implementing the Comelec gun ban.
The surrendered firearms do not include those from Bacolod City.
The Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office is also targeting more than 400 firearms in the possession of lawless elements in the province, in tandem with other government security agencies.
Gun enthusiasts with expired licenses are urged to deposit their guns at the nearest police stations for safekeeping, pending the processing of the renewal of their licenses.
There are 11,184 licensed firearms in Negros Occidental, with 10,908 now with expired licenses, police records show. Those guns are considered by the Philippine National Police as loose firearms.
The NOCPPO is also maximizing its Oplan Katok, police door-to-door visits to residences of gun owners with expired licenses, and of suspected holders of firearms, in line with the May 13 elections.
The campaign plan has been considered by the PNP as among the most effective tools against organized crime groups, private armed groups, and wanted persons, who usually use loose firearms in their criminal activities.
The Joint Provincial Security Coordinating Center in Negros Occidental, which is composed of Comelec, Armed Forces of the Philippines and National Police officials, is set for activation tomorrow.
Romeo Baldevarona, head of the Commission on Human Rights in Negros Occidental, yesterday said that they have received complaints not only from voters but from candidates as well, on extortion and coercion activities of the New People’s Army.*
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