W. Visayas cops recover 1.7K guns in exchange for rice, money

W. Visayas cops recover 1.7K guns in exchange for rice, money

ILOILO CITY – The Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 (Western Visayas) has recovered 1,760 loose firearms in the region under its Tokhang Kontra Armas Luthang (TKAL) campaign from Aug. 15, 2022 until Feb. 28 this year.

“TKAL is the PRO-6 revitalized campaign against criminality, particularly in addressing the proliferation of loose firearms,” Maj. Grace Borio, PRO-6 spokesperson, said in an interview on Tuesday.

Borio said the PRO-6 employed the soft hand approach or the Tokhang Panagbalay, the Ilonggos’ courteous way of appealing for support and cooperation from the community, and the iron hand approach or focused targeted operations with the use of a search warrant.

Under the soft hand approach, the Negros Occidental Police initiated the Armas Baylo Bugas (rice in exchange for firearms) while the Iloilo Police has Oplan Sigabong (Ilonggo Cops’ Campaign Against Loose Firearms), which gives a monetary reward of PHP10,000 for positive information and tips on selling or manufacturing of loose firearms.

Borio added that the soft hand approach has led to the confiscation of 1,615 firearms while the targeted operations recovered 145 firearms.

Col. Gilbert Gorero, chief of PRO-6’s Regional Operations Division, in a separate interview on Tuesday, said 74 percent of the homemade firearms recovered in Negros Occidental were in exchange for rice.

“We have received support from the local government units. Some of the rice was sponsored by the local government units,” he said.

The volume of rice varies depending on the firearm but it could be one or half a sack.

Gorero added that in the past, it was the practice of the older generation to keep a firearm as a means to defend their families.

However, he said, the younger generation believes it is no longer necessary as police personnel is very visible so they opted to surrender them rather than face cases.

PRO-6 Director Leo M. Francisco presented the recoveries to the media after the flag-raising ceremony held at the regional headquarters on Monday. (PNA)

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