NEARLY 1,700 loose firearms and counting — that’s the number of guns, both licensed and unlicensed which have been surrendered to the Batangas Police Provincial Office since July 2015 making the latter a role model when it comes to convincing the people to turn over their illegal weapons to the Philippine National Police, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
Currently headed by Senior Superintendent Edwin Quilates, the Balik-Armas program of the Batangas police, from July 2015 to last August 31, had already resulted in the surrender of 1,673 firearms of different calibers.
“These firearms were surrendered as a result of our Batanguenong Layuning Ilagak ang Kanilang (BALIK) Armas which we intend to amend for those who did not renew or no longer interested in their firearms after two years. We informed them that we will request for the cancellation of their license and turn over the same to the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office,” Quilates told the Journal Group.
The weapons were surrendered by Batangueños to the local police which has launched a massive information drive to convince residents to turn over their illegal guns to authorities to avoid raids and prosecution in court and at the same time, avoid the possibility that the weapons could be used as an instrument to commit violence.
The official also said that they will recommend the cancellation of the licenses of 64 other firearms deposited to them since their respective owners have formally informed them that they have no more interest in renewing their gun licenses.
The Batangas PPO’s scheme has gotten the nod of Police Regional Office 4-A director Chief Supt. Edward E. Carranza who has ordered a massive crackdown against loose firearms and partisan armed groups (PAGs) in the region. The Calabarzon police has been cited by PNP chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde as a ‘topnotcher’ when it comes to accounting for PAGs and other organized crime gangs nationwide.
In a bid to attract holders of firearms with expired licenses since 2014 to renew their registration without facing criminal charges in court, the PNP will soon be implementing a 6-month nationwide gun amnesty to account for over a million unregistered weapons over the past four years, the Journal Group learned.