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Monday, April 22, 2024

PNP tightens watch on private armed groups, ahead of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) has intensified its focused law enforcement operations amid the forthcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in October this year.

“The PNP policing strategies have been adjusted to cope with the added requirements for a conducive peace and order environment that will guarantee a secure, clean and fair elections in the country’s more than 42,000 barangays,” PNP chief General Benjamin Acorda Jr. said.

He said during a news briefing on Monday that the PNP’s primary concerns include the existence of private armed groups and loose firearms.

As part of police preparations, PNP units in six regions of the country are continuously monitoring the activities of three active private armed groups (PAGs) and 45 potential PAGs with an estimated more or less 200 members and with almost 400 firearms that “may be used for partisan activities in the 2023 BSKE.”

Also being monitored are activities of “communist terrorist groups” and criminal gangs that based on historical data, were “known to act as armed goons for politicians during elections.”

Acorda said a total of 897 members belonging to 200 neutralized criminal gangs have been arrested in 690 police-initiated operations. Ten other gang members died in the operations, while 84 other gang members surrendered.

The operations yielded 124 firearms from the gangs’ arsenal from January 1 to June 2, 2023.

The PNP chief said police operations against wanted persons and loose firearms also remain at “full speed in support of the overall security strategy for the 2023 BSKE.”

From January 1 until June 2 this year, PNP units confiscated a total of 12,059 illegal firearms from 3,758 arrested persons. During the same period, the PNP received 7,032 firearms for safekeeping.

During the same five-month period, the PNP captured 30,591 wanted persons and accepted the surrender of 184 others. Some of the operations resulted in armed encounters wherein 29 wanted persons died in lawful police interdictions.

Meanwhile, Acorda also said during the news briefing that the PNP has opened another satellite office in Laguna that will process and issue National Police Clearance required for local employment, government transactions and other licenses and permits.

The National Police Clearance System operates on a fully digital format that has eliminated some tedious physical procedures in the old manual system.

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