Freeman Cebu Sports

Brgy execs urged to monitor gun owners during holiday season

Robhe Jane Yara - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — With the holiday season fast approaching, the police authorities in Region 7 are calling on barangay officials to monitor their constituents who are gun owners.

Police Regional Office-7 director, Police Brigadier General Roderick Augustus Alba, said that this would help the public celebrate a peaceful Christmas and New Year.

Alba said he had also instructed all police units to conduct regular monitoring in their area of responsibility to help in crime deterrence and prevention.

On Tuesday, Philippine National Police chief, Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., announced that there would be no muzzling of police guns for this year's yuletide season, just like in the previous years.

Azurin made the statement trusting policemen are responsible and disciplined enough not to use their guns during the holiday revelry.

"Every policeman, including all of the armed services, should be responsible enough not to use their firearms because that is very dangerous," said Azurin.

But he warned that there would be no mercy shown to police caught indiscriminately firing their guns and that immediate supervisors of erring police officers would also be held accountable.

For his part, Alba reminds Region 7 police to use service firearms according to their purpose and religiously observe maximum tolerance at all times.

He reiterated that service firearms must only be used during anti-criminality operations, and most especially when there are major security threats.

"As much as possible, let us still employ maximum tolerance and be mindful enough to know when to use your firearm," said Alba.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) revealed that aside from firecracker-related injuries, stray bullet injuries are also common during the holiday season.

In 2021, they recorded at least four people being hit by a stray bullet, including one death.

The casualty was a 12-year-old girl from Lanao del Norte who was playing outside with her cousins at the height of the New Year celebration when she suddenly dropped to the floor.

Her family thought at first that she slipped, but later they found out she was hit by a bullet in the head.

Meanwhile, there were no reported deaths and injuries from stray bullets in 2020, but at least 21 separate cases of illegal discharge of firearms were recorded injuring seven people. —Romeo D. Marantal (FREEMAN)

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