Don’t fire guns on New Year, soldiers warned

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THE leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) warned its 125,000-strong force against indiscriminate firing of their guns in welcoming the New.

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AFP chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista said that any violation of its no-firing policy will be dealt with accordingly in accordance with existing laws and military rules.

Bautista’s order covers all uniformed personnel in its three major services—Air Force, Army and Navy, including those at the general headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.

AFP spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said that soldiers are prohibited from firing their guns except when they are under attack from the enemy, in defense of the civilian population or in defense of vital infrastructures like power lines and military camps, among others.

Tutaan also reminded soldiers of the existing 26-day suspension of military offensive (SOMO) against the communist New People’s Army.

He explained that the SOMO prohibits the conduct of offensive operations against the rebels but does not restrict them from doing security-related tasks.

Capt. Anthony Bacus, officer-in-charge of the Army Public Affairs, said that under their guidelines, soldiers need not muzzle their weapons.

“They know the repercussions if such policy will be violated. It is clear to every Army personnel that firing their weapons indiscriminately is punishable under the Articles of War,” Bacus said.

The illegal discharge of firearm is punishable by demotion or dismissal from the service.

“All unit commanders on the field are reminded to consistently monitor their respective subordinates on or off duty to ensure that this policy is strictly enforced not only in the observance of this significant occasion but all throughout the coming year as it is our duty to be role model to others,” Bacus added.

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