GenSan mulls ‘no firearms zones’ to curb crimes

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 August) — The local government here is studying the possibility of declaring “no firearms zones” in the city in a bid to help end the series of gun-related killings and other crimes.

City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio today said she has directed concerned city government offices and Philippine National Police (PNP) officials to evaluate the possibility of totally banning firearms in public places to help avert the rising cases of gun-related crimes in the area.

“We’re looking at declaring a no firearms zone here to help eliminate firearms, especially those that are unlicensed, from our streets and communities,” she said.

The mayor said they are still determining the details of such move, which could be patterned after the gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections and the PNP during the election period this year.

Custodio raised the proposal as she expressed alarm over the surge in the number of unsolved gun-related killings in the city during the past several weeks.

Earlier this month, unidentified armed men shot and killed in broad daylight barangay councilor Carlito Cahilsot of Barangay Calumpang here after he attended the council’s regular session.

The incident was followed by two more killings before at least three persons were separately gunned down in various parts of the city last Thursday alone.

“I already ordered our police officials to take extra efforts in solving these incidents,” Custodio told reporters.

Senior Supt. Cedric Train, city police director, said he ordered all police stations and investigating units in the city to prioritize the resolution of the series of murders in the area during the past several weeks.

“We already have some leads for some of the cases but we really lack enough witnesses that could identify those behind these crimes,” he said.

To help stop the gun-related murders, Train said he personally supported the mayor’s proposal to declare “no firearms zones” in some parts of the city.

“We can designate areas where the carrying of any firearm will be banned. One of them is the city hall and other vital government offices,” he said.

Train said the carrying of firearms, including those licensed, should also be banned in public convergence areas.

But he said they could also open some areas where guns or any other weapons may be carried, specifically by authorized law enforcement personnel.

The Police Regional Office 12 earlier supported a proposal to extend the implementation of the total gun ban in the country to help discourage the commission of gun-related crimes.

Chief Supt. Felicisimo Khu, Region 12 police director, said the implementation of the total gun ban here and other parts of the region had helped reduce gun-related crimes during the five-month election period. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)