MANILA, Philippines–As authorities probe the whys and hows of the mass shooting in Kawit, Cavite, the Philippine National Police intends to take more aggressive steps to account for all loose firearms in the country, including 25,000 belonging to criminal elements.
There are an estimated 1.2 million registered firearms in the country, and another 600,000 that are unlicensed, based on records of the PNP’s firearms and explosives office.
But PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said the police force was most concerned about the estimated 25,000 guns currently in the possession of crime syndicates, “threat groups” and individuals with a criminal history.
The .45 cal. 1911 pistol used by Ronald Bae, the gunman who shot and killed eight of his neighbors before he was gunned down by responding policemen in a Kawit village on Friday, was a loose firearm.
Cerbo said the 148,000-strong PNP would be more proactive in going after the unlicensed guns, including those whose registration was not renewed.
The PNP’s “Oplan Katok” is one such measure, in which authorities knock on the doors of gun owners who fail to renew their gun license.
Checkpoints are another way to locate and confiscate loose firearms, he said.
“We have to go after them more aggressively. We need to continue pressing charges and filing for search warrants,” Cerbo said.
PNP Director General Alan Purisima has ordered a full-blown investigation into the Kawit case, according to Cerbo.
“He wants to know all the dysfunctions that occurred. Why did this man own a gun? Is it true that this man was into drugs? Was it true that he had a history of being violent? Why were the Cavite slow to respond?” he said.