Town residents yield 102 ‘hot guns’

IN JUST over a month, 102 illegally-possessed firearms were voluntarily turned over to Ajuy Police Station in Iloilo province

Chief Inspector Charlie Sustento, Ajuy police chief, said that the program encouraging residents to surrender their unlicensed, un-renewed, and homemade firearms started in December 2016.

Dubbed Project Katublag, the program has netted more than 100 “hot firearms” as of Feb. 1, 2017.

Katublag is coined from the words “katok” (knock) and “tublag” (disrupt).

In the katok phase, Sustento said a barangay liaison police officer conducted house-to-house visitation on individuals who have firearms but failed to secure or renew their license.

The list of gun holders is taken from the PNP Firearms, Explosives, Security Agencies and Guards Supervision (FESAGS) office.

Since the FESAGS list only named gun owners who failed to renew their firearm licenses, the Ajuy police utilized intelligence reports on persons who keep homemade, locally known as paltik, firearms.

The Ajuy PNP has tapped the help of barangay officials in informing subject individuals to voluntarily submit their firearms to the local police for safekeeping.

If the katok won’t work, the local police would move to the tublag stage.

“This is the more aggressive move as we would disrupt them from keeping unlicensed firearms,” Sustento said.

Under the tublag stage, policemen would conduct searches to recover unlicensed guns.

Meanwhile, Sustento said owners of turned over firearms will be made to execute an affidavit of undertaking stating that they have surrendered their guns without force or intimidation.

Sustento assured that there would be proper documentation of surrendered expired firearms.

“Once they could renew their license, they could take back their firearms,” he added.

For homemade firearms, they would be confiscated and will be turned over to the PNP Regional Crime Laboratory.

Sustento Oplan Katublag was a project initiated by the local police.

“When I assumed post on July 2016, I studied the previous criminal incidents in the past 3 years,” he added.

It turned out that 85 percent of crime incidents against persons and robbery cases are perpetrated with the use of unlicensed firearms.

Based on FESAGS records, there are 355 unlicensed firearms in Ajuy town.

When Project Katublag was initiated, around 60 percent of the owners moved for their guns’ renewal.

More than that, Sustento said he noticed fewer crime incidents.

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