PNP eyes gun ban in Cavite, BatangasBy Maricar Cinco, Marrah Erika Lesaba
Inquirer Southern Luzon
CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna—The top police official in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) region said his office was considering at least a three-month suspension on permits to carry firearms in Cavite and Batangas.
Calabarzon police director Chief Supt. James Melad on Wednesday said he was considering the ban after they realized an “abnormality” in the number of reported crimes committed with the use of firearms.
When asked if he meant a rise in the number of crimes in the two provinces, which may have prompted a gun ban, Melad said his office was still waiting for the reports of the Batangas and Cavite police directors.
“I have asked both police directors to assess the crime situations and meet with the peace and order councils (although) we are still in the planning stage (for the gun ban) right now,” Melad said.
He said, however, that whether or not there was a radical increase in the crime rates, “interventions” such as a gun ban are necessary to secure peace and order.
Through a gun ban, only uniformed personnel such as the police, Army, security guards and security details would be allowed to carry a firearm, Melad said.
In Cavite, police director Senior Supt. John Bulalacao said they would have to consider the position of business groups, local leaders and private gun holders should a gun ban be imposed.
“The thing in Cavite is that (carrying a firearm) has been part of the people’s culture. Even average people, if they have the money will prefer buying a gun rather than something else. They say it’s for their own protection,” he said.
Based on their initial assessment, the number of firearms in Cavite may even be “double or thrice” the number of the province’s 18-year-old and above population, Bulalacao said.
“Here, an individual may own two to three guns, ranging from a .45 cal. gun to a 9mm or a rifle,” he said.
However, Bulalacao said that based on police records, most crimes committed with a firearm involved the unlicensed ones. “That’s why we really have to study it because implementing a gun ban may not actually have an impact since that’s the case,” he said.
In Batangas, businessmen, politicians and gun shooting enthusiasts on Tuesday opposed a proposal presented by the Batangas police provincial director to the Provincial Board to suspend the Permit to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence (PTCFOR).
During a hearing called by the joint committee on peace and order and laws, rules and ordinances of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Wilson Uy, president of the Wilson Gun Club and owner of the Wilson firing range in Batangas City, said suspending the PTCFOR would not solve the problem of killings in the province.
“They should not go after holders of the PTCFOR, which is a form of protection for the family and business, but they should campaign against loose firearms,” he said.
On May 10, Batangas police director Senior Supt. Rosauro Acio wrote Vice Gov. Mark Leviste, saying that the Calabarzon police sought suspension of the PTCFOR in Cavite and Batangas after police records showed Cavite with 135 crime incidents and Batangas with 125 involving the use of firearms, from January to April this year.
Some mayors in the hearing said they would refer the matter first to the Batangas chapter of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines.
Dennis Hernandez, a former Board Member and president of a gun club, said the village chairs, church leaders and other sectors should be consulted first before passing a resolution suspending the PTCFOR.