By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo (PNA photo by Lloyd Caliwan)

MANILA – Gun-related crime incidents in the country remain relatively low so far and have been on a downtrend for the past two years, a ranking official of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Monday.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo, in a press briefing in Camp Crame, Quezon City, said 808 gun-related crimes have so far been logged this year — from 5,172 incidents in 2022 and 4,956 incidents last year.

“The nature of these incidents, majority of these are shooting incidents, alarm and scandals, grave threats, (and) robbery,” Fajardo told reporters.

This year, Fajardo said 3,792 cases concerning these gun-related crimes have also been filed before the court.

“Ang nairefer naman na mga kaso sa (Cases referred to the) prosecutor’s office ay nasa (reached) 3,774 at ang (and) under investigation ay nasa (reached) 1,136,” she said.

The PNP has allowed civilians to own semi-automatic rifles after amending the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act — a move which was met with opposition by some sectors and lawmakers who warned of a possible increase in gun violence cases.

However, the prohibition on the use of fully automatic rifles by civilians remains in place.

“We hope this amendment in certain provisions (of the IRR) will encourage them (gun owners) to register their firearms so there will be reduction of loose firearms,” Fajardo said, adding there are some 700,000 loose firearms in the country.

Fajardo said reducing the number of loose firearms would enhance the PNP’s ability to solve gun-related crimes.

“Once we encourage owners to renew their firearms, these would be included in our data system and we can quickly trace these firearms once these are included in the database of the FEO (Firearms and Explosives Office),” she added. (PNA)