Seven pols request
gun ban exemption
By: Francis Allan L. Angelo and Tara Yap
SEVEN members of a political clan in northern Iloilo sought exemption from the gun ban imposed by the PNP in the 5th district.
The Regional Operations and Planning Division (ROPD) of the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) confirmed receiving the request for exemption addressed to PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo.
Supt. Ranulfo Demiar, ROPD chief, said the requests are under evaluation by the PNP and it is up to Bacalzo to either approve or disapprove the application.
Demiar withheld the names of the applicants pending the evaluation.
The PNP through the recommendation of PRO-6 imposed the gun ban on eight 5th district towns of Ajuy, Balasan, Batad, Carles, Concepcion, Estancia, San Dionisio and Sara for supposed rising lawlessness.
The towns of Barotac Viejo, Lemery and San Rafael were exempted from the gun ban.
But Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. and Anilao Mayor Ma. Teresa Debuque, LMP-Iloilo president, found enough validity on the data presented by the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) that there was a 51.03% of crime in the fifth district between January to June 2011 as compared to last year.
C/Supt. Cipriano Querol Jr., PRO-6 director, said the development signifies the cooperation shown by local officials in the district towards the gun ban policy.
“We need the cooperation of the officials and the community as a whole for the success of this endeavor. It is now up to the PNP chief if the request will be granted or not. This is a positive development insofar as this issue is concerned,” Querol said.
Open to suggestions
The PRO-6 said it is considering the concerns of other sectors in the implementation of the gun ban in northern Iloilo.
“We are considering their sentiments regardless if it is good or bad. If they can provide us with a different statistical data, they should give it to us so we can study it,” said Demiar.
Earlier this week, the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) and the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP-Iloilo) unanimously voted for a recall of the gun ban in the fifth district.
Demiar clarified reports claiming that Querol was ordered by Camp Crame to review the suspension of the permit to carry firearms in the towns
“There is no such orders from Director General Raul Bacalzo,” Demiar stressed.
Querol also vehemently denied the accusations that the gun ban is politically motivated.
“As long as there is no order from Camp Crame to suspend the gun ban, the directive of Gen. Querol will be implemented,” Demiar said.
So far, no one was arrested since the implementation of the gun ban last week.
Demiar also stressed that the order stays the same and extensive checkpoints in the fifth district are being conducted by Task Force Kalinong to arrest any violators.
Gov. Defensor said it would be “too late for damage control” if PRO-6 includes the three exempted towns in the gun ban.
Defensor said businessmen and local leaders in the 5th district are exposed to danger by the gun ban because they will abide by the ban while criminals will continue to carry firearms with impunity.
While the gun ban only allows uniformed law enforcers to carry firearms, Defensor said he has no intention to require provincial guards in his security retinue to wear uniform “because they have permits to carry.”
Defensor also clarified that he did not seek help from his cousin Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago who sought a Senate inquiry into the gun ban.
“Senator Santiago has many friends among local officials who may have sought her help. And Miriam will not allow herself to be used by anybody,” Defensor added.