By: Boy Ryan B. Zabal
Ati-Atihan Site Task Group (STG) commandeer Senior Superintendent Lope Manlapaz has reminded duty uniformed policemen to intensify the campaign against loose firearms after the arrest of a 32-year old man. Joenel Ibaos, a resident of Barangay Libang, Makato, Aklan, was apprehended at the height of Ati-Atihan celebration in Kalibo, Aklan for carrying unlicensed gun.
Two police officers assigned in Police Assistance Center (PAC) 1 near the Kalibo-Numancia bridge collared the suspect at around 4:30 p.m. on January 16. Ibaos yielded a .38 caliber revolver with three cartridge cases. The suspect also failed to present the necessary documents supporting his possession of the firearm.
The firearm was turned over to Aklan Provincial Crime Laboratory for ballistic and gun residue examinations. Manlapaz also ordered the duty officers in PACs and Pedestrian Screening Areas (PSA) to conduct strict inspections of backpacks and bags of revelers and visitors for public safety.
Meanwhile, Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa also suspended all permits to carry firearms outside of residence for 10 days from January 12 to 21 for the Kalibo Ati-Atihan festival. Dela Rosa, in his memorandum on December 26, 2017, said the gun ban is part of the security preparations to guarantee the Ati-Atihan will be free from firearm related incidents and to ensure the safety and security of local and foreign tourists.
Only members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines and other law enforcement agencies who are performing their official duties and in agency-prescribed uniforms are allowed to carry firearms./MP