How do you solve the problem of loose firearms?

PNP 12 regional director Police Chief Supt. Fidel Cimatu said all registered firearms in region 12 will be issued special stickers to avoid being used in any illegal activity.

The region comprises North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and the cities of Koronadal, General Santos, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

The proposal is one of the results of a three-day workshop attended by senior police officials from 16 regions in Clark, Pampanga last week,  he said.

Also during the workshop, the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Jesus Verzosa said the PNP is now eyeing a stiffer penalty for illegal possession of firearms and would want to make it a non-bailable offense.

“If a person is caught with more than three illegal firearms in his possession, we are proposing that such individuals cannot post bail. This is due to the fact that these firearms may be used for illegal activities and in that way we are eliminating the risk of such incidents,” Verzosa clarified in a press statement.

Cimatu is also proposing to the Commission on Elections not to allow any exemptions during the gun ban in the election period.

We want to ensure the peace and order during the entire electoral process in 2010 especially here. This will also an assurance that only uniformed personnel of the PNP and the AFP should be allowed to handle firearms during the election period,” he said.

Cimatu said their office is also giving one month amnesty for all unregistered and unrenewed firearm licenses all over the region. He said they are targeting the third quarter of the year for the amnesty program, he said. (Williamor A. Magbanua/MindaNews contributor)