BAGUIO CITY – The Ilocos Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies to conduct an aggressive campaign to stamp out the proliferation of alleged lose firearms in Region I which is being used by lawless elements to perpetrate their illegal activities.
RPOC-Region I chairperson and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos said that based on earlier assessments of the PNP, the ratio of licensed to unlicensed firearms was 1:10 before it improved to 4:10 because of the government’s Oplan Katok program that compelled illegal firearm holders to secure the licenses of their guns.
“WE were made to understand that there are numerous illegal firearms that are in the possession of irresponsible individuals in the Ilocos Region that is why we want the PNP and other law enforcement agencies to intensify their campaign against the proliferation of illegal guns in our region. We do not want the spate of killings to continue that is why we want the illegal guns to be accounted for by the concerned government agencies,” Gov. Marcos stressed.
Marcos mad the statement at the height of the on-going investigation on the brutal murder of Balawan, Vice Mayor Alfredo Concepcion and his bodyguard and the injuring of his daughter Alelie Concepcion, the municipal mayor of the said town, saying the spate of killings in the Ilocos Region over the past several months should be a cause of alarm among law enforcers.
According to her, something drastic must be done by the PNOP and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that most of the illegal firearms that remain lose in the region will be accounted and for those in possession of the illegal guns to be charged so that the reign of peace and order will be achieved, especially that the May 2019 mid-term elections is just a few months away.
The lady governor pointed out erring firearm holders should not wait for the placing of the Ilocos Region under the control of the Commission on election (Comelec) for next year’s mid-term elections because it will taint a bad image of the Ilocos Region that will have an impact on the region’s robust tourism industry.
She urged local officials coddling illegal firearm holders to voluntarily surrender to the law enforcers their unlicensed guns and facilitate the licensing of the said firearms so that the same will be properly accounted as part of the efforts of the government to abate the occurrence of violent incidents posing a serious threat to life and limb, especially among politicians who are facing stiff rivalry from their opponents in the forthcoming elections.
Marcos added the PNP should also work out the neutralization of gun for hire groups that are operating in the region to put an end to the serious of murder incidents involving local officials to ensure that the government’s plant to have honest, orderly and peaceful elections will be realized not only in the region but also in other parts of the country.
Marcos said the RPOC will take the lead in the implementation of appropriate strategies that will compel erring politicians and private citizens to give up their unlicensed guns to avoid the filing of the appropriate charges against them that will have e negative impact on their political career.