NATIONAL Capital Region Police Office director, Major General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar yesterday said they are employing the same tactics they used to arrest gun ban offenders during the generally peaceful May 13 national and local elections period to help reduce street crimes and protect students and the rest of the public in Metro Manila now that regular school has opened.
He also assured Metro Manila residents of a continuing aggressive police crackdown against illegal guns and criminality in the metropolis amid their success in enforcing the gun ban from January 13 up to Wednesday last week.
According to Eleazar, 44 gun ban violators were arrested in the metropolis during the enforcement of the prohibition on the unauthorized carrying of firearms and other deadly weapons including explosives in Metro Manila during the 5-month national and local election period.
He said they conducted a total of 52,418 random checkpoints in the region during the polling period which resulted in the apprehension of 44 gun ban offenders and the killing of seven armed motorcycle-riding criminals who tried to evade checkpoints and shot it out with officers.
The official said that during the period, NCRPO personnel manning gun ban checkpoints seized 26 firearms and other deadly weapons from the gun ban violators.
The NCRPO chief said that during the SK and barangay election period, NCRPO agents seized more than 1,000 banned items including unlicensed firearms, gun replicas, home-made pistols and revolvers, hand grenades, other deadly weapons and live ammunition.
He said his men also conducted a total of 1,318 police operations including service of search warrants for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 and RA 9516 or illegal possession of explosives as well as warrants of arrests which led in the apprehension of 1,312 other crime offenders.
Others were arrested during police response and conduct of Oplan: Bakal, Oplan: Sita and Oplan: Galugad. Those 1,318 NCRPO operations likewise led in the killing of 74 armed suspects during firefights with the police and the recovery of 5,970 firearms, bladed weapons, grenade, explosives and thousands of various live ammunition.
According to the NCRPO director, they fully mobilized their resources, manpower and equipment to make the mid-term national and local elections in Metro Manila a success.
“While there may have been incidents of violence, vote-buying and harassments, all these were efficiently addressed by our police units together with other security and peacekeeping agencies which are all worthy of commendation,” Eleazar said.
The official said more than 16,000 NCRPO personnel were strategically deployed throughout the metropolis to ensure the safety and security of the citizenry during the polling period.
An additional contingent of 413 NCRPO personnel was also deployed to the National Board of Canvassers at the Philippine International Convention Center to safeguard the sanctity of the vote and the ensuing official count.
Eleazar said the five NCRPO districts also conducted strategic security operations such as installation of police desks near the polling centers, Comelec-supervised checkpoints, intensified search warrant operations and gun checks.
He also expressed his deep gratitude to their counterparts from the Armed Forces, the Comelec, other law enforcement and government agencies and their force multipliers.
Armed with powerful Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras already activated in so-called ‘safe zones’ in the the country, Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said they are increasing their visibility patrols and are asking the full cooperation of the public to protect millions of students returning to their classes.
The PNP’s priority concerns are incidents of bullying and street crimes such as pickpocket, snatching, swindling, robbery/hold-up, and street-level drug trafficking.