BANGUED, Abra – An Abra resident is the first gun ban violator in the Cordillera region.
Police manning a checkpoint in Tangadan, San Quintin town, caught Mark John Bumatnong Biccay with caliber .38 revolver tucked in his waist Monday afternoon.
Unable to show any official document for carrying a gun, Biccay was taken to the San Quintin police station for further questioning and faces criminal charges for illegally bringing a gun.
Abra policemen were placed on red alert midnight Sunday as the election season officially started.
Abra has not been listed as among the “areas of concern” for the May elections despite its long history of poll-related violence.
Gov. Jocelyn Bernos said the situation in the province has since significantly improved over the past years.
To ensure a safe, accurate and fair election (SAFE) in Abra, the Abra Provincial Police Office (PPO) will reactivate the “Abra Shield,” a special group in the police that will implement security plans for the May 13 polls.
“Abra Shield is tasked to conduct strategic anti-criminality operations, and neutralize criminal groups carrying loose firearms during the election period in the province,” said the Abra police chief, Sr. Supt. Caesar Tannagan.
Abra Shield was formed several years ago and reactivated every poll season as a special team that maintains security, and peace and order in the province through special operations on strategic anti-criminality, neutralization of criminal groups and confiscation of loose firearms during the election period.
The group is also tasked with setting up checkpoints in the province.
In the recent Joint Regional Security Coordinating Council meeting in Baguio, the Abra province was considered as an area of concern due to the past election-related incidents in the province but it still need for further assessment.
Last week, a shooting incident was reported in Lagayan, Abra between two political groups, prompting the deployment of a mobile police force company in the five barangays of the municipality.
Tannagan said the situation in Lagayan town is manageable.
“Actually, we remain on heighten alert and we have a lot preparation to ensure SAFE in Abra,” said Tannagan. (Freddie G. Lazaro)