Police steps up campaign vs loose firearms in Region 9

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/21 Nov) – The regional police chief in Western Mindanao has ordered his officers and men to step up the campaign against loose firearms in the region.

Chief Supt. Napoleon Estilles issued the order on Tuesday when he convened his key officers and discussed matters concerning the campaign against the proliferation of loose firearms.

Estilles said the campaign is in line with directive of Philippine National Police (PNP) Director-General Nicanor Bartolome to step up the operations in order to account for more loose firearms in the entire country.

The prime objective of the campaign, according to Estilles, is to take away one source of violence – the firearms.

The campaign would immobilize criminal elements as well as partisan armed groups whose existence affects the peace and order initiatives of the authorities in the region, he pointed out.

Estilles disclosed that there are an estimated 31,000 loose firearms and more than 6,000 guns with expired and un-renewed licenses in the region, including that in Isabela City, Basilan province.

The Isabela City police command is operationally under the Police Regional Office in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PRO-ARMM) although administratively it is under Estilles’ command.

Of the estimated 31,000 loose firearms, Estilles disclosed that Zamboanga City accounts the highest number with 10,978 firearms.

The other areas and the corresponding number of loose firearms are Zamboanga del Sur, 9,107; Zamboanga del Norte, 5,514; Zamboanga Sibugay, 4,050; and Isabela City, 1,365.

Of the more than 6,000 guns with expired and un-renewed licenses in the region, Estilles disclosed that at least 1,130 firearms are owned by the different local government units (LGUs) and some 5,082 belongs to individual gun owners.

He said the Oplan “Bakal” and Oplan “Sita” will be intensified as part of the efforts to step-up the campaign against loose firearms. (MindaNews)