Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said it was aiming for zero casualties of indiscriminate firing in New Year revelry even as its commander announced that he has ordered policemen to barge into houses when they hear gunshots.
The PNP, at the same time, warned that it will be unforgiving of policemen who will be caught indiscriminately firing their guns to greet 2017.
As of Monday morning, at least seven persons had been arrested by the police for indiscriminate firing of their guns.
Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, PNP chief, told a news conference in Camp Crame in Quezon City that he has authorized policemen to enter residences in search of those firing their guns indiscriminately.
Dela Rosa invoked the principle and doctrine of hot pursuit.
“We want zero casualties this coming New Year’s revelry… this is a fair warning to everyone if you want change, let’s change. Let’s show the whole world that the Filipinos are disciplined. We appeal to everyone,” he said.
The PNP chief appealed to gun owners to think first about those who might be hit by stray bullets if they opted to fire their guns in welcoming the New Year.
“If you hear a gunshot, respond and go to the house. Knock, but make sure that you are in proper uniform and using a patrol car. In the regular performance of your duty, you will really encounter conflicts. A [policeman]who is never sued is a [policeman]who does not do his job,” dela Rosa said in Filipino.
The PNP, for the first time in recent years, will be breaking its annual tradition of sealing the muzzle of the service firearm of police personnel to prevent indiscriminate firing in greeting 2017.
“To the policemen who will fire their guns, you have been warned. I will not forgive you if you are arrested,” Dela Rosa said during the news conference.
He added that he will sack police chiefs or station commanders who will fail to arrest policemen behind indiscriminate firing in their areas within 24 hours of the incident.
Dela Rosa said police personnel will not have any holiday break during the New Year celebration.
These personnel, according to him, will patrol the streets together with village officials and watchmen from 5 p.m. of December 31, 2016 up to 5 a.m of January 1, 2017.
“They have enough time to be with their families before 5 a.m. Forget your family and focus on your duty. Offer
those 12 hours to the country,” dela Rosa said.
Meanwhile, the PNP chief on Tuesday noted that the country is not yet ready for a total ban on firecrackers.
He said it might be too late for the government to impose a total ban on the selling of firecrackers because sellers and manufacturers have already bought their materials.
.”The Philippines might not be ready for this policy. We’ll see next year because this requires long information dissemination especially to those making firecrackers as they may have already purchased their components abroad,” dela Rosa added in Filipino.
President Rodrigo Duterte last November said he was thinking of imposing a nationwide ban on the use and manufacture of firecrackers over an explosion at a fireworks factory in Bulacan that killed at least two children.