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Police shift war on drugs to anti-gun-for-hire drive

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Police regional director and vice chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) for Western Mindanao Chief Supt. Billy Beltran announced recently that all police operatives previously assigned in the war on illegal drugs are undergoing retraining in preparation for their new deployment, this time against suspected hired killers or guns-for-hire.

This, after Pres. Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) relieved of its anti-drug functions, and designated the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to lead the war on drugs.

Beltran reported during the RPOC’s 4th quarter meeting last Friday that the campaign against guns-for-hire is necessary to address the rising shooting incidents, most of which were perpetuated by suspected hired killers.

In his report covering the period from August to October, 181 shooting incidents were recorded in the entire Zamboanga Peninsula, of which 117 were perpetuated by unidentified riding-in-tandem suspects believed to be guns-for-hire.

Of the total, 94 were caused by old grudges, 44 as a result of heated argument, 18 by crime groups, 11 work-related, 6 identified suspects and 5 by insurgents.

“We are tracking down these gun-for-hire groups and we will utilize our personnel who were previously assigned in the war on drugs. But they are still undergoing retraining this time,” Beltran told the RPOC chaired by Mayor Beng Climaco.

Former Armed Forces Chief of Staff now DILG Usec. Eduardo Año was the guest of honor during RPOC-9 meeting Friday.-(Vic Larato)




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