MASBATE CITY: The Philippine National Police (PNP) in Masbate recently confiscated 35 firearms with expired licenses “in the hands” of local governments in the province, the top police official in the island province said.
Senior Superintendent Heriberto Olitoquit, PNP Director of Masbate, said four guns with expired licenses were confiscated by police operatives from the provincial government, seven from Masbate City government, and 16 and eight from the municipal governments of Dimasalang and Pio V Corpuz, respectively.
Superintendent Liane Mandane, chief of the firearms, explosives, security agencies and guard supervision section of the PNP in Bicol Region, led the operatives.
The confiscations followed a physical accounting of firearms owned by local governments in Masbate.
Olitoquit said the inventory of firearms with expired licenses in the hands of individuals and juridical entities were part of the implementation of the Oplan Latag Boga (laying down of arms campaign), which is meant to stop the proliferation of loose guns in Masbate.
The police were yet to release the calibers of the seized guns.
Recently, Olitoquit warned holders of expired firearm licenses in Masbate province that they would face criminal charges if they would fail to renew their gun-carrying permits.
There were 2,178 expired firearm licenses in the island-province as of July, according to him.
“Under [the law] a [gun] with an expired license is considered an unlicensed firearm and the possession of which is considered [a crime] punishable by imprisonment and confiscation of firearm,” her said.
If the gun owners, Olitoquit said, were no longer interested to renew their licenses, they should turn over their firearms to the police to avoid any liability.
He ordered chiefs of police in Masbate to implement Oplan Kontra Boga (anti-loose guns campaign) and Oplan Bilang Boga (accounting loose guns campaign).
Police operatives have begun conducting home visits to persuade owners of guns with expired licenses to either renew the licenses or surrender their firearms.
Unlicensed firearms continue to fuel crimes in the province. In August, eight gun-related crimes that resulted to the deaths of 8 persons took place.
Recently, in Cataingan town, lawyer Nicomedes Romagos was shot dead by unidentified attackers using M16 rifles, which were suspected to be unlicensed and owned by hired killers, said Olitoquit. – Bicol Mail