Starting Monday, only soldiers and law enforcers will be allowed to carry firearms in the island-province of Masbate.
Philippine National Police Director General Nicanor Bartolome, in a memorandum on Saturday, ordered the suspension of gun-carrying privileges in Masbate from April 9 to 14, when the annual Rodeo Masbateño Festival is celebrated in the province as a tribute to its cattle industry.
He said that due to the event “all permits to carry firearms outside of residence are hereby temporarily suspended for six days in Masbate.”
Bartolome ordered all police chiefs to ensure the peaceful and orderly celebration of the festival and to keep it free from any firearm-related incident and safe for spectators, tourists and important visiting personalities.
During the week, only members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, PNP and other law enforcement agencies who perform official duties and “in agency-prescribed uniforms” would be allowed to carry firearms in Masbate.
“No exemptions should be granted,” the PNP chief said.
The firearms prohibition will be implemented through checkpoint operations, beat patrol and other police security operations in close coordination with the AFP, other law enforcement agencies, government agencies and local government units.
The high incidence of killings in Masbate had been blamed for the proliferation of unlicensed firearms.