42 SHOOTING INCIDENTS SINCE JANUARY
GRASSROOTS intelligence will be strengthened by the police as it aims to neutralize guns-for hire who are behind most of the shooting incidents in the province.
P/Sr. Supt. Marlou Chan, officer-in-charge of the Pangasinan police, reported in a media forum last week that 42 shooting incidents have been recorded for the year, of which 20 were perpetrated by suspects riding in tandem on a motorcycle.
Speaking during the KBP Forum on Thursday, Chan said, “We will be more pro-active as we need to keep watch on players engaged in guns-for-hire.”
He noted that the shooting incidents continued despite the election gun ban, which took effect January 18.
In 2012, there were 249 shooting incidents in Pangasinan, or an average of 21 in a month, and the crime solution efficiency was below 50 percent due to lack of witness and lack of evidence, according to Chan.
He declined to confirm a report that Pangasinan ranked second nationwide in terms of the highest number of shooting incidents in 2012.
But comparatively speaking, he said, the 2013 record indicates a decline in shooting incidents.
Nonetheles, he added, “… that’s not the concern of the PNP (Philippine National Police). To us, one or two incidents is already one too many.”
Chan said he has ordered all police stations to intensify their intelligence networks down to the remotest barangays to help identify and monitor suspected guns-for hire and to bolster the campaign against loose firearms.
“Kung walang baril, walang mababaril,” he said.
It was previously reported that there is an estimated 1,600 loose firearms in Pangasinan and so far, only 47 unlicensed guns have been seized since the gun ban.
Chan also announced that the Motorcycle Anti-Street Crime Operatives (MASCO) unit is already in place as a police response against armed men riding in tandem.
However, many police stations still lack motorcycles and some policemen assigned to MASCO are using their personal motorcycles to carry out their tasks.
Meanwhile, the Regional Special Operations Task Group (RSOTG), formed before Chan took over the helm of the Pangasinan police two months ago, is now probing the killings perpetrated by armed men riding in tandem.
Chan said the cross-matching done by investigators on slugs of bullets found in a strafing incident in Balungao town late last year indicated that the firearm used in that incident was also used in five other shooting incidents.
Investigators are now profiling these shooting incidents using the same gun, which is indicative of a gun-for-hire group in operation.
Chan said the role of the “contractors”, they who hire the services of these gun-for-hire groups for special clients, are also also being looked into.
Chan assured town mayors who are allegedly circulating a manifesto seeking his replacement that the police are addressing the shooting incidents.
He also said he has requested for more police personnel to be deployed around the province, especially during the last five days before the election on May 13, at which time there will be one policeman assigned to guard each precinct count optical scan (PCOs) machine 24 hours a day in every electoral precinct.
He pointed out that without manpower reinforcement, the current force will not be enough to cover all the electoral precincts in Pangasinan.
He cited the town of Mangatarem, one of the biggest towns in Pangasinan in terms of number of voters that only has 26 policemen.
Currently, police visibility has been intensified with a new duty-shifting of policemen on a 12-hour schedule basis daily, seven days a week.
Chan said they are also counting on the promised assistance from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which has been deputized by the Commission on Elections.—with report from Eva Visperas