CAMP SK PENDATUN, Maguindanao: Police officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on Wednesday said that more policemen will be issued firearms following the arrival of new hand guns for cops assigned in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
Chief Supt. Noel Delos Reyes, PNP-ARMM regional director, said a container van arrived Friday at Polloc Port, Parang, Maguindanao loaded with 1,117 pieces of Glock 17 Gen 4 intended for the PNP-ARMM.
In a press statement, Delos Reyes, said the firearms were part of the P1.2 billion handgun procurement by the PNP so that every member of the PNP can possess at least one gun.
“Defintely, we want all our policemen in the region to be equipped with firearms,” he said.
The police officers must use their guns not only to protect themselves but to safeguard the public,” Delos Reyes added.
The hand guns will be issued to qualified personnel of Maguindnao and Lanao del Sur police offices and the Regional Public Safety Battalion.
Superintendent Warren de Leon, PNP-ARMM chief logistics officer, said that the regional office is expecting another batch of firearms anytime soon which will be distributed to Basilan, Sulu and Tawi Tawi police provincial offices.
Delos Reyes said the shipment also included 31,276 rounds of ammunition, 3,351 pieces magazine assembly, 153 pieces patrol shoes, six poles rappelling rope and 16 pieces of tactical belt.
Earlier this month, Delos Reyes admitted the regional police office lacked firearms with some policemen having one or more firearms while others have none.
An internal audit conducted on firearms in the ARMM regional office showed some policemen were issued more than one firearm while many are yet to be issued firearms.
The audit showed that there were 228 police personnel assigned to the field who have more than one issued firearm, Delos Reyes said.
Following the audit, Delos Reyes ordered the recall of 737 issued firearms and re-issued them to other police personnel assigned in various police units in the region, according to threat level and crime situation.
The audit also discovered there were 335 firearms listed in its inventory but remained unaccounted for.
Because of this, he said said his office is now implementing a policy to rationalize the issuance and distribution of mission-essential equipment to line units.
With the new firearms supply, Delos Reyes said he hoped that the region will meet the 1:1 gun per police officer ratio. PNA