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PNP, AFP to prevent indiscriminate firing

Bebot Sison Jr., Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - December 22, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police (PNP) has linked up with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to prevent indiscriminate firing among uniformed personnel during the holidays.

PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said the national police and the AFP will organize teams to conduct preventive patrols to arrest or apprehend uniformed personnel, members of law enforcement agencies and civilians involved in indiscriminate firing.

“The PNP, in coordination with AFP, other law enforcement agencies and local government units intensified intelligence efforts to identify probable violators,” Espina said.

On Jan. 2 last year, the PNP reported at least 16 people, including four policemen, who were arrested for indiscriminate firing during the New Year revelry.

Of the 16 arrested, four were policemen, two were security guards, one prison guard, another was a soldier and eight others were civilians. The three police officers – Chief Inspector Ricardo Argullo, officer-in-charge of Tinambak police station in Camarines Sur; PO3 Alexander delos Reyes of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Unit, based in Camp Crame but discharged his gun in Southern Leyte; and PO1 Ryan Gapayao, assigned at the Public Safety Battalion in Caraga region – were arrested and disarmed.

The PNP is set to initiate the tradition of taping the muzzles of service firearms of policemen nationwide.

Espina warned against indiscriminate and illegal discharge of firearms as part of their effort to have a “gun-free” celebration of Christmas and New Year.

“This traditional gun muzzling is a strong message to all gun owners, especially our policemen and soldiers who are the primary enforcers of the law, to refrain from firing their guns and help prevent casualties and injuries during the revelry of the yuletide,” he said.

Even after putting masking tapes on the barrel of firearms in the past, there were still victims of stray bullets and most of the cases remain unresolved as in the case of 11-year-old Stephanie Nicole Ella who was killed by a stray bullet in Caloocan City. Her killer remains unidentified.

PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor said a memorandum has been issued to all police personnel against illegal discharge of firearms and indiscriminate firing.

Anti-firecracker drive launched

The Department of Health (DOH), on the other hand, has launched anti-firecracker campaign aimed at dissuading children from using firecrackers.

In line with the campaign, all government hospitals and DOH offices nationwide are on alert for possible surge in firecracker-related injuries in the coming days.

“If you see a child playing with firecrackers, act decisively and wisely. Immediately seize the firecrackers from them and put them away where they cannot get them again,” the DOH said.

The DOH said parents and guardians must repeatedly remind the children not to buy firecrackers.

“Educate them on the consequences of firecracker injuries,” the DOH said.

Starting yesterday until Jan. 5, the entire DOH, including the central office, regional offices and DOH-retained hospitals nationwide were placed under “Code White Alert.”

Code White Alert puts all hospital personnel on standby status for deployment and augmentation as the need arises for additional medical and other services.

DOH also reminded adults to become great examples to children by not lighting up firecrackers.

The DOH also called on the public to avoid binge eating and drinking during the holidays.

DOH spokesman Lyndon Lee Suy said the holidays are not an excuse for people to overeat and drink too much.

“We should do everything still in moderation if we want to ensure we can go through this holiday season healthy,” he said.

Suy also advised the public to prepare a “well-balanced” party and Noche Buena meals and to drink plenty of water. – With Mayen Jaymalin

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES CALOOCAN CITY CAMARINES SUR CAMP CRAME CHIEF INSPECTOR RICARDO ARGULLO CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT WILBEN MAYOR CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR CODE WHITE ALERT DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DOH
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