By Jennifer P. Rendon
More than a month into the start of the election campaign, police in Western Visayas said they have yet to monitor any active private armed groups (PAGs) in the region.
“So far, there is none,” Lieutenant Colonel Arnel Solis, Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) spokesperson said.
“However, we have been on the look-out for possible re-grouping of inactive PAGs members.”
Solis said they’re not closing the possibility that new PAGs will emerge since the campaign period for candidates in local elective positions – members of the House of Representatives and regional, provincial, city and municipal officials – will begin on March 25.
“On the number of groups that could possibly regroup for PAG purposes, we don’t want to preempt anything,” he added.
Solis said that they have widened their radar against former PAG members because they also have the potential to be hired as armed personal bodyguards of politicians.
Earlier, the PNP hierarchy has been constantly reminding policemen to intensify operations against PAGs and loose firearms.
PRO-6 has continued its campaign against loose firearms.
Through its initiative, Kontra Boga (locally known as TKAL or Tokhang Kontra Armas-Luthang), PRO-6 has set to account/address the proliferation of loose firearms.
PRO-6 recorded an increase in the number of arrested persons and surrendered, deposited, and abandoned firearms in 2021 compared to the previous year.
But the number of firearms recovered in police operations dramatically dipped.
For the said period, 561 persons were arrested in the campaign against loose firearms. The number is higher by 7.06 percent against 524 arrested persons arrested in 2020.
Also, 325 firearms were recovered or lower by 47.33 percent from the previous year’s 611 seized guns.
The number of surrendered/deposited/abandoned firearms was pegged at 2,738 or higher by 4.86 percent against 2,583 in 2020.