GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Police authorities here have intensified their monitoring against the presence of loose firearms and even private armed groups (PAGs).
Col. Gilberto Tuzon, city police director, said on Wednesday the move is part of their continuing preparations for next year’s national and local elections, and efforts to prevent the occurrence of more gun-related crimes.
He directed the city’s eight police stations and their support units to monitor and identify individuals in local communities who own unlicensed or illegal firearms.
“This is to prevent violence and ensure the peaceful conduct of the elections here in 2022,” Tuzon told reporters.
In terms of the PAGs, the police official said they dismantled in the past several months a group that was previously based in Barangay Labangal.
He said the group’s members surrendered along with their firearms following a series of intelligence and security operations.
Earlier, the National Task Force on the Disbandment of PAGs, headed by Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano, said at least 130 groups are being monitored by police and other law enforcement units in Mindanao.
Tuzon said they are continually monitoring the possible emergence of new PAGs and other threats to the city’s peace and order situation.
This includes those behind the over 20 shooting incidents recorded in the city since January that were perpetrated by motorcycle riding-in-tandem suspects.
He said they have expanded their investigation and security operations to identify the suspects and prevent the occurrence of similar incidents.
Tuzon said they could not confirm yet whether gun-for-hire groups were behind these killings but assured that they are considering all angles to resolve these incidents. (PNA)