ZAMBOANGA CITY City Mayor Celso Lobregat has asked newly-installed Police Regional Director Chief Supt. Nathaniel Estilles to help in the strict enforcement of the gun ban in a bid to thwart all forms of criminality in Zamboanga City and other parts of the region.
Shooting in this city has been a daily occurrence and the local police estimates that there are about 10,000 gun holders in this city in possession of unlicensed firearms.
The number does not include guns in the hands of bodyguards of officials who pass through the city, those kept at home and those in the hands of rebels and terrorists occupying nearby islands in Zamboanga.
Almost all of the crimes are committed by men armed with pistols riding tandem in motorcycles.
Lobregat issued the directives during Estilles' courtesy call in City Hall Friday morning, a week after Estilles was installed into office January 30.
In an interview after the courtesy visit, Estilles said there were guidelines that Mayor Lobregat wanted implemented, specifically on the proliferation of illegal firearms, drug abuse and the spate of killings.
We have to come out with plans together with (City Police OIC Director) Col. (Edwin) De Ocampo and then we will also involve other agencies, the PRO-9 chief said adding we want to implement a comprehensive and effective plan and that is what we will implement.
Lobregat furnished Estilles with a copy of the joint guidelines on the implementation of the firearms and explosives ban in the city a document that was signed and agreed upon by concerned agencies including officials from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The initiative was coined in 2004 at the start of the Lobregat administration.
Estilles said he would review the guidelines afterwhich a comprehensive plan would be formulated and implemented.
On the other hand, the new PRO-9 chief clarified that De Ocampo will stay as the City Police OIC director pending the designation of a new official.
De Ocampo is occupying his position in an officer in-charge capacity for the last two years.
He was supposed to have been relieved of his position two weeks ago, but the main police headquarters have not decided on his replacement, although five police officers have already applied for the position.
The PRO-9 as well as the Office of the Mayor have yet to receive the list of recommendees for the position of City Police Director.
It is routine in the PNP that an official who has occupied the position for a period of two years will be transferred or reassigned to another post.
Meanwhile, during the courtesy call, Lobregat also turned over to Estilles computer units and a vehicle for the use of the local police. (PNA)