5,000 firearms ‘on the loose’ in Ecija
Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija — The top police official here revealed yesterday that there are still around 5,000 loose firearms in this province, which was once the hotbed of political killings.
Senior Superintendent Crizaldo Nieves, Police Provincial Office (PPO) director, said the number of unaccounted guns makes up 20 percent of the total number of firearms in the province.
There are 20,000 licensed guns in the province and those that are considered loose include the ones with expired licenses.
“When you don’t renew your gun license, then your firearm is essentially considered loose also,” said Nieves. He said many of these guns, which were never licensed for whatever reason, might be in the hands of lawless elements.
But Nieves said the province no longer has private armed groups (PAGs) based on the PPO’s latest validation.
“If we go by the definition, PAGs are two or more persons armed with either licensed or unlicensed guns with intent to use them for political gain. We don’t have those groups now in Nueva Ecija,” he said.
Nieves added that the province has the most number of firearms accounted for from January to December 2013 among the seven provinces in Central Luzon under “Oplan Bilang Boga” and “Oplan Katok.”
As such, the number of loose firearms in the province has dropped by half from 10,000 in 2013.