• Aquino orders police crackdown on loose guns

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    President Benigno Aquino 3rd has ordered an increase in police visibility in the wake of the recent high-profile killings in Metro Manila.

    “Government is firmly determined to stem the tide of criminality and improve the ability of law enforcement agencies to solve crimes,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told a press briefing on Tuesday.

    Coloma said the President instructed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima “to increase police visibility through intensified patrols and checkpoints, stricter enforcement of gun-control measures, neutralization of guns-for-hire and implementation of search warrants for loose firearms.”

    “Increased police visibility may serve as a deterrent against crime, as patrols and checkpoints may lessen opportunities for criminal elements, especially if there will also be heightened citizen vigilance and cooperation with the police,” he said

    Coloma noted that the Quezon City Police Department specifically established 24-hour mobile police desks in strategic points to maintain peace and order and provide immediate citizen assistance.

    In Pangasinan, he said, the PNP created a task force to oversee anti-criminality operations and neutralize guns-for-hire.

    The directives were given after racing champion Enzo Pastor was shot in Quezon City and hotel chain owner Richard King in Davao City.

    But even before these killings happened, Coloma said, the PNP had enforced stricter gun control pursuant to Republic Act 10591 or the “Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act” passed in 2013.

    He recalled that prior to the May 2013 elections, the PNP conducted “Oplan Katok,” a nationwide door-to-door campaign to verify ownership of registered firearms.

    Coloma said this was aimed at neutralizing partisan armed groups or private armies.

    “The successful conduct of this campaign resulted in a significantly lower incidence of election-related violence, especially in known hotspots,” he added.

    Meanwhile, Coloma called for intensified public vigilance and said effective crime prevention needs the people’s cooperation.

    “It needs intensified police intelligence work to track criminal elements,” he said.

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