Police start visits to gun owners with expired licenses
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday said it has started visiting houses of owners of guns whose licenses have expired, even as it renewed its appeal for gun owners to renew their licenses before the year ends.
Director Lina Sarmiento, head of the PNP Directorate for Police Community Relations, warned that the “full force of the law will be implemented” if owners will continue to not heed the PNP’s advice.
Sarmiento made special mention of owners of guns whose licenses expired two years ago, saying that “it will be a different story if they still won’t renew their papers.”
“[They will be] subjects of police operations,” including the serving of search warrants and checkpoints against the owner, she warned.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas earlier ordered the accounting of over half a million illegal firearms nationwide, of which 552,338 are with un-renewed licenses, saying that these guns can possibly be used in committing politically motivated crimes related to the midterm elections next year.
During the visits to gun holders’ registered home addresses, Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, head of PNP’s Firearms and Explosives Office, said subject persons will be provided with a receipt as they surrender their firearms with outdated licenses.
They will also have to write a formal letter addressed to the PNP chief, Director General Nicanor Bartolome, to explain the reason for their delinquency, and also to promise that they will renew their documents before the prescribed date.
Once approved, they will be given 15 days to fix their documents. The firearms can be reclaimed from respective police stations, given that they secure a permit to transport, Petrasanta said.
A radio report said 85 firearms with expired licenses—25 long and 60 short guns—were voluntarily surrendered by politicians and other gun owners in Imus, Cavite, where the first leg of the visitation was held Monday afternoon.
“Itong visitations ay hindi naman ginagawa para pahirapan sila, kundi i-assist sila sa pag-renew ng mga lisensya nila,” Sarmiento said.
Police Director Roque Ramirez, PNP director for comptrollership, said this was the first time that PNP conducted visitation to houses, but said they are optimistic that more firearms will be registered this time.
He said this will enable authorities to get immediate feedbacks on the existence of the subject firearm, as well as the condition of the licensee.
“Yung sinasabi nating 552,000, out of this, ilan na yung nawala, ilan yung namatay na, ilan yung hindi na puwedeng irenew ang lisensya dahil baka bulag na,” Ramirez explained.
Petrasanta said the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) tops the list of regions with the most number of firearms with un-renewed licenses, followed by Region 3 (Central Luzon) and 4A (Calabarzon).
“Hindi naman natin ine-expect na lahat ng 552,000 owners of firearms whose licenses have expired ay mag iintay ng katok. Kaya natin ginagawa ito ngayong umaga, gusto natin ipaalam sa lahat na kung ang baril nila ay expired ang lisensya, ay mag-renew na sila kaagad para hindi na sila pupuntahan. It’s the responsibility of each individual firearms owner to renew their licenses,” Sarmiento said.