GenSan mulls banning display of guns by security escorts

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 August)  – The city council here is planning to pass an ordinance that would ban the carrying and public display of firearms, especially the rifle-type, by security escorts of politicians and other individuals visiting the area.

Councilor Dante Vicente, chair of the city council’s committee on law and order and police matters, said the proposed measure mainly aims to augment the earlier declaration of the city as a “no-firearms zone” and help prevent the possible occurrence of gun-related violence involving security escorts.

“We should stop the public display of force of these politicians and individuals. We often see their security escorts carrying long firearms and it creates a picture that we’re a war zone here,” he said during the question hour of the council’s regular session.

Vicente said the proposed prohibition will help avert the escalation of violence in the city involving Moro politicians or individuals whose families are involved in ridos or clan feuds.

Several shooting incidents ensued in the past years in Davao City due to encounters between warring Moro clans or families from Maguindanao and other areas.

Vicente said the proposed measure’s implementing guidelines will complement the provisions of Executive Order 23 issued by Mayor Darlene Magnolia Antonino-Custodio declaring the entire city a no-firearms area.

The mayor issued EO 23 “in the interest of peace and order” and to help end the rising cases of armed violence and crimes involving firearms in the city since January 2010 that already “reached the alarming level.”

“This proposed ordinance is one way of telling everybody that we mean business here in General Santos City. Rest assured that this will not be used to impinge on the basic rights of the people but will further promote their welfare amidst these security disturbances,” Vicente said.

The councilor said they were so satisfied with the initial results of the implementation of EO 23 especially the arrest of several individuals and the recovery of firearms that were carried without proper authority.

He said the city police already recovered five firearms, one M-16 Armalite and four .45 caliber hand guns, since the implementation of EO 23 last week.

Intensified police security operations in the city since last week have led to the arrest of three suspected drug pushers and traffickers, Vicente said.

He said two suspected drug traffickers from Cotabato City, who were identified as couple Muhamad Ali and Fahima Jabar, were arrested in the outskirts of Barangay Bawing after bringing in some P350,000 worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.

“Our police personnel are now working double time to end these killings and arrest all these criminals that are operating in the city. They’re off to a good start and we expect them to score more in the coming days,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)