CABANATUAN CITY—Director General Alan Purisima of the Philippine National Police on Sunday ordered the police “to farm out and knock on doors of houses” to determine the status of over half a million firearms, which were not submitted for licensing renewal by their owners.
Purisima led a command conference at the PNP office here to assess the situation in Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Cagayan, La Union, Abra, Pangasinan and Ilocos Sur, which were listed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government as “high-risk” areas for the 2013 midterm elections.
“We have 530,000 [licensed firearms holders in the country] who did not apply for the renewal of their licenses. We want to know why they did not renew their licenses and where these guns are now,” Purisima said.
He said the police had been tasked to visit the houses of these licensed holders.
He said the police would also seek out households that are reported to have unlicensed firearms.
“These weapons may be used in the coming elections, so we should [work] double-time in recovering them. Otherwise, we may be overwhelmed by problems in the 2013 elections,” said Purisima, who assumed the highest PNP position last week.
He said failing to resolve this issue would affect careers. “We will definitely replace police officers who will fail in keeping peace and order in provinces identified as [election] priority areas,” he said.
“So far, our assessment [of your accomplishments] is good. But the next time we conduct our assessment, heads will roll for those who do not come up to expectations,” he added.
The PNP chief said his administration would perform its duties during next year’s polls guided by the policy, “SAFE 2013.” SAFE stands for “Secure and Fair Elections.”
“We definitely need officers who are competent and courageous [and] who will uphold our desire for secure and safe elections,” Purisima said.
He said the areas of concern were provinces where loose firearms, private armed groups and intense political rivalries have become prevalent during elections.
Purisima’s conference took place on the heels of another murder.
On Saturday, the high school principal of Zaragoza National High School in Zaragoza town was shot and killed by a lone gunman at her home in neighboring Aliaga town.
Nila Mactal, 62, a resident of Barangay Poblacion Centro in Zaragoza, was sweeping dried leaves inside her compound at 10:30 a.m. when a man dressed in black shot her several times. Mactal was rushed to a hospital here for treatment but she died an hour later.