By Jennifer P. Rendon
The Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) made history as it formally opened its modern indoor firing range, a first in the Philippine National Police.
But the realization of the vision to have its own indoor shooting range did not happen in a blink of an eye.
“It was more than five years in the making,” Nelson Uygongco, chairman of the Iloilo City Advisory Council for Police Transformation and Development (ICAC-PTD) said.
The firing range sits on a 250-square meter building, which also houses the office of the ICPO Special Weapons and Tactics SWAT), inside the ICPO headquarters at Camp Achilles Plagata, Gen. Luna Street, Iloilo City.
The ICAC-PTD helped lobby funds for the construction of the building, which also houses the office of the ICPO Special Weapons and Tactics SWAT).
Uygongco, a known marksman and gun handling expert, said that upon the creation of ICAC-PTD more than five years ago, the plan to build an indoor firing range was immediately in the pipeline.
They looked for would-be sponsors but an initial talk with a firearm exporter didn’t prosper because the initial P9 million construction cost was too big for them.
Following the re-election of Mayor Jerry Treñas, the plan was brought up to his attention.
Treñas offered no objection until last year when he gave his go-signal to proceed with the project.
Bidding for the P10.25-million firing range and SWAT building was immediately conducted.
Uygongco, who also has his own indoor firing range, helped design the ICPO’s firing range.
MODERN FIRING RANGE
Uygongco said they took into account several factors in designing the indoor firing range.
Foremost is the promotion of safety and efficiency in operations, on top of its affordability and easy-to-maintain aspects.
The ground floor of the two-storey building is where the firing range is situated while the top floor will be for SWAT use.
Construction started around February and finished in early September 2022.
As to the firing range, Uygongco said there are four shooting booths that all users can fire at the same time.
A table is provided in each booth where the users could place their guns.
It is also equipped with an electronic control.
“The target could move by just a push of the button,” he said.
It also has a 2HP outlet and 0.5 inlet fans.
The ventilation system pushes away the gunpowder fumes from the shooters and filters them.
“The fans are sufficient that you can’t inhale the smoke,” Uygongco said.
He assured that the range is very safe.
Uygongco said that projectiles cannot penetrate the walls, floor or ceiling, and ricochets or back splatter cannot harm range users.
The sloping roof is made of 1/4-inch steel that encloses the concrete beam.
“Kung maigo sang bala, mawas-ag lang. If it’s concrete, the bullet could ricochet,” he said.
Uygongco also noted that the floors, walls, and ceilings could also contain the sound of the bullet fired.
But like most indoor firing ranges, it is not designed for rifle firing. It could only accommodate pistols and shotguns.
A ceremonial turnover, blessing and inauguration of the ICPO SWAT building and indoor firing range was conducted on September 16.
Treñas and Brigadier General Leo Francisco, Western Visayas police chief, led the turning over of the key to ICPO Director Colonel Leo Batiles.
Along with the turnover, Treñas announced the additional donation of firearms and thousands of assorted ammunition.