Loose firearms, guns-for-hire top Ontog's priorities

08/18/2010 - CEBU, Philippines – The accounting of loose firearms and intelligence operations against guns-for-hire top the priorities of newly installed Police Regional Office-7 chief Ager Ontog.

Ontog, who assumed office last Saturday, said that even during the time of his predecessor, Chief Supt. Lani-O Nerez, loose firearms were already identified as the main contributors to the spate of killings in Cebu.

“What we are concentrating on now ay ‘yung mga killings. In fact, we have identified even before General Nerez left, they have identified loose firearms as one of the reasons kung bakit maraming killings and I would like to concentrate on this problem,” he said.

Ontog, who is currently busy attending courtesy calls to the different local chief executives in the region, yesterday held his first press conference with the Cebu media.

As former chief of the national operations in Camp Crame, Ontog believes that by intensifying law enforcement efforts and checkpoint operations to account loose firearms, the commission of crimes will be lessened.

He said that law enforcement effort is more relevant among other components of the national firearms control program implemented by the Philippine National Police for the gun ban.

“We will account for loose firearms, ‘yung mga hindi lisensyadong firearms because during the formulation of this program na-identify natin na very small percentage lang ng crimes were committed with the use of licensed firearms,” Ontog said.

The PRO-7 chief said this is one of the good practices he learned from the recent elections.

“In fact, I was then the chief of the national operations center sa Camp Crame and I was monitoring all the checkpoint operations and kung ano ang relationship nito sa crimes. And we noted a very significant decrease in the number of crimes committed with the use of firearms, parang close to 13 to 14 percent drop du’n sa national level and I’m sure kung mai-implement natin dito sa region 7, it will have a very good, very beneficial effect sa series of killings na nangyari dito,” Ontog explained.

Ontog added that the PRO-7 will also concentrate in intelligence operations to identify the groups responsible for the recent killings in Cebu.

“I was informed that most of the killings were already solved by the police but there seems to be some groups na talagang nauupahan, mga guns-for-hire, and we will concentrate our intelligence effort on that,” he said.

Ontog however clarified that as far as criminalities are concerned, he is happy to inform that even before there were no problems here of bank robberies and other crimes that targeted business establishments and even carnapping.

Ontog said they will conduct more checkpoints in the region and is calling on the public, not jut the local chief executives, to cooperate with their efforts to maintain a peaceful and orderly region.

He assured the public that his administration will uphold the human rights.
(Freeman)

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