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No Extension on Gun Ban - Verzosa

Stricter control on gun permits assured, however

Legazpi City (11 June) -- Police chief General Jesus Verzosa said Sunday (June 6) that the Philippine National Police (PNP) will continue to issue permit to carry firearms to gun owners but the agency will ensure more stringent requirements to facilitate monitoring, control and misuse of the said permit.

Verzosa, speaking at the PNP's Legacy Run Program at the Camp Gen. Simeon Ola, stressed that there is a need to control the carrying of firearms among gun owners to avoid abuse.

He said that in the recently held National Gun Assessment Summit, law enforcement agencies and stakeholders had an interfacing on the possibility of extending the nationwide gun ban, expiring June 9. PNP has contended the issuance of permit to carry will continue but with stringent conditions.

"Although we will be continuing to issue permit to carry firearms, at the same time [we will] undertake more stringent control to check on the people that were issued these permits," he stated.

A technical working group is in the process of drawing up the control measures.

Among the measures mulled are for uniform service personnel and other law enforcers to secure a special permit to carry firearms with the PNP when carrying a gun in civilian attire and while off duty.

A central data base would be established to consolidate all records of gun permits issued by different law enforcement units authorized to issue such permits to their personnel.

The new approach will also empower law enforcement personnel to check civilians carrying firearms, allowing authorities to determine if these gun holders are civilians or are members of the police, military and other law enforcement agencies.

Comelec and PNP's assessment of the nationwide gun ban shows that it is one of the major factors for the most peaceful and orderly elections in the country.

Comelec has imposed the nationwide gun ban from Jan. 10, this year and expires today, June 9, in connection with the May 10 national and local elections.

Earlier, Verzosa revealed plans of permanently suspending the issuance of permits to carry firearms outside of residence (PTCFOR) even after the election period because of the apparent success of the total gun ban in curbing crimes.

PNP firearms statistics reveal that there are over a million loose firearms across the country.

In Bikol, the PNP had still to account for over a thousand of loose firearms.

Before visiting this city, Verzosa flew in to Masbate last June 5 keynoting the PNP Transformation Forum with the participation of the various sectors of the community and an assessment of the May 10 national and local.