GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/23 Dec) — Police personnel here and nearby South Cotabato province taped the muzzle of their service firearms on Monday to prevent them from being fired indiscriminately during the Christmas and New Year revelries.
Supt. James Gulmatico, South Cotabato deputy provincial police director, said the simultaneous muzzle taping was conducted after the regular flag-raising ceremonies of the provincial police office and of the police stations of the province’s 10 towns and lone city.
“This is in compliance with the directive from our higher headquarters, which wants to make sure that none of our personnel will be tempted to use their firearms in the upcoming celebrations,” he said.
He said they will regularly monitor all police units and personnel in the province to ensure that their firearms remain properly sealed.
But Gulmatico expressed confidence that none of their personnel would violate such directive, noting their clean record for the past several years.
The official said they are only allowed to use their firearms during legitimate operations and in emergency cases that warrant their use.
“For planned operations, we will secure proper clearances to allow us to use our firearms. In case of spontaneous operations, we are authorized to use them but we need to justify them later on,” he said.
In this city, the Police Regional Office 12’s Regional Public Safety Company (RPSC) was the first unit that taped the muzzle of their firearms using masking tapes.
Simultaneous muzzle taping was also conducted at the city police headquarters and the city’s eight police precincts.
Senior Insp. Rey Salgado, RPSC-12’s executive officer, said they instructed their personnel to properly comply with the Philippine National Police central office’s directive against indiscriminate firing and celebrate Christmas “lively, happily and safely.”
He clarified that they were not barred from using or firing their firearms in line with their duties but only during the Christmas and New Year revelries.
“It will depend on the situation but as much as possible our firearms should remain sealeduntil the celebrations are over,” he said.
Meantime, Gulmatico said they have intensified their monitoring regarding the entry and selling of firecrackers and fireworks in the province in line with the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7183 or the “Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution and Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices.”
Under RA 7183, firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices that have more than the allowable explosive content are strictly prohibited.
Among the banned materials are watusi or the “dancing firecracker,” piccolo, super lolo, atomic big triangulo, mother rockets, lolo thunder, pillbox, boga, big Judah’s belt, big bawang, kwiton, goodbye Philippines, kabasi, five star, pla-pla, OG, giant whistle bomb and unlabeled firecrackers.
The Departments of Health and the Trade and Industry had issued prohibitions regarding the use and selling of the said firecrackers and fireworks.
Gulmatico said they have designated specific display areas for firecrackers and fireworks in various parts of the province to properly regulate their selling and distribution.
He said they will specifically look out for imported firecrackers and fireworks that might enter the area.
“All imported products are banned and only those made locally are allowed subject to size specifications,” he added. (MindaNews)