PNP won’t renew operating license of security agencies with high-powered guns
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) warned on Thursday that it will not allow the renewal of licenses of security agencies that will not surrender high-powered firearms being used by its security guards.
Brig. Gen. Roberto Fajardo, acting director of the PNP – Civil Security Group (CSG) cited a memorandum issued by the PNP in 2017 that bans security agencies from owning high-powered guns.
He said the memorandum aims to prevent “lawless elements” from stealing and getting hold of these firearms based on the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Those who will not surrender their high-powered firearms, they will not be allowed to renew their license to operate,” he said in a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Fajardo explained that unlike law enforcers, security guards are not trained to handle high-powered guns.
This warning follows the raid on Monday by a group of suspected fighters of the New People’s Army (NPA) at the Minergy Power Corporation in Balingasag town in Misamis Oriental. During the raid, the NPA disarmed five security guards of the AY-76 Security Specialists Inc. and carted away AK-47 rifles and scores of ammunition.
“Part pa rin ito ng ‘Oplan Katok’ at ‘Oplan Tokhang.’ Nakikiusap lang kami. Kasi ang ‘tokhang’ ay nakikiusap tayo sa may mga firearms. I-tokhang na natin ‘yung mga may high-powered firearms na i-surrender, kasi tokhang is pakiusap, nakikiusap na i-turn over na nila ‘yung mga firearms,” Fajardo said, referring to the PNP’s operation plan in convincing drug dependents to stop their illegal activities.
(This is still part of “Oplan Katok” and “Oplan Tokhang.” We are just asking them. “Tokhang” means we are requesting owners of high-powered guns to surrender their firearms, because “Tokhang” means request.)
According to Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, spokesperson of the PNP, high-powered firearms are all military-type guns whether semi-automatic or automatic rifles, with bores higher than that of a caliber .22.
Fajardo, meanwhile, said that based on the 2017 memorandum, private security services providers are only allowed to issue shotguns and handguns to their security guards.
Fajardo said security agencies must surrender their high-class firearms immediately, since the original deadline for them to do so was in 2017.
He however declined to answer when asked if the PNP will be raiding offices of security agencies that will refuse to surrender their high-powered guns despite the issued warning.
Fajardo said the PNP will also investigate why AY-76 Security Specialists Inc. still possessed high-powered guns despite the 2017 memorandum. He said records show the agency owns 71 high-powered guns but was allowed to obtain a temporary license to operate after initially surrendering 64 of the guns.
He said investigators are looking at the possibility of filing charges against the security agency. /muf
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