PNP reminds gun owners they only have until end of year to renew license
MANILA, Philippines - Individuals with expired gun licenses have until the end of the year, December 31, to renew their licenses or face arrest, the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced Monday as it intensified security operations for the 2013 elections.
The PNP has recorded about 552,380 unrenewed firearms licenses, which will be the subject of a crackdown beginning next year.
The PNP stressed that there would be no more amnesty for delinquent gun owners this year.
Director Lina Sarmiento of the Directorate for Police Community Relations said that starting Monday, December 10, policemen would personally visit homes of delinquent gun owners to urge them to renew their licenses.
"I am appealing to all delinquent gun owners, particularly those whose gun licenses have been expired for more than two years, to have them renewed," Sarmiento said during a news conference Monday.
In Cavite, 85 firearms were turned over to policemen as part of the campaign against loose firearms. The surrendered weapons consisted of 25 long firearms and 60 short firearms.
Cavite, based on PNP records, is the province with the highest number of private armed groups with 14 active groups. The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has about five.
Instead of sending letters to delinquent gun owners, the PNP opted to do personal visits in the hopes of encouraging people to renew their gun licenses.
"This is the first time that the PNP will do house visits to check on the existence of firearms. We are optimistic that with this, there will be more registered firearms this time," said Chief Superintendent Ricardo Marquez, PNP deputy director for operations.
Policemen are instructed to be courteous during house visits and are strongly warned against mulcting from residents.
Gun owners with expired licenses must surrender their firearms first and they will be issued receipts. Their firearms will be returned once a new license has been issued.
The PNP also started on Monday intensified operations in the 15 so-called election hotspots.
The 15 hotspots or high-risk areas are: Abra, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Cagayan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Cavite, Masbate, Samar, Misamis Occidental, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan.
As early as now, the PNP has already recorded 10 election-related violent incidents, victimizing candidates of the coming polls, according to Sarmiento.