ILOILO CITY—The Philippine National Police in Western Visayas will conduct house searches, confiscations and other police operations on holders of guns with expired licenses.
Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz, Western Visayas police director, said holders of firearms with expired licenses will also be charged with illegal possession of firearms after Jan. 13, the start of election and gun ban period.
“We have given all holders more than enough time to renew their licenses. We will apply for search warrants for residences of gun owners,” Agrimero told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Sunday.
There are 37,821 registered firearms in Western Visayas as of August, based on records of the PNP’s Firearms and Explosives Unit office. But 33,675 of these, or 89 percent, had expired licenses.
Those with expired licenses include 29,573 individually owned firearms and 4,102 juridical firearms, or those procured by government agencies and private institutions or organizations.
The most number of firearms with expired licenses was recorded in Negros Occidental, including Bacolod City, with 13,318, followed by the province and city of Iloilo (13,310), Capiz (2,940), Aklan (2,065), Antique (1,540) and Guimaras (502).
Cruz said that 11,000 of the 33,675 firearms with expired licenses in the region have been checked. Among those checked, holders of around 2,500 have renewed their licenses and another 3,800 will be renewed before Jan. 13.
Some of those that were checked were reportedly stolen or sold but whose ownership documents have not been transferred or processed.
Around 22,000 firearms with expired licenses still remain to be verified, said Cruz.
Cruz called on gun holders to renew their licenses before the lapse of the deadline.
“This will be our last appeal. We will then have no choice but to confiscate these firearms and file criminal charges against the owners,” he said.