LAOAG CITY – Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos said the series of killings involving village officials does not warrant proposals to arm barangay captains to protect themselves from violent attacks.
Marcos reacted to a report about clamor among village officials for them to bear firearms in the wake of killings targeting their group.
At least three barangay chairmen from Sarrat and Dingras towns have been shot and killed in separate incidents beginning 2009.
Marcos said arming barangay officials does not sit well with the provincial government’s campaign to dismantle private armed groups.
“We have loose firearms as it stands now. And now we want to arm chairmen. It contravenes our efforts towards dismantling armed groups,” she said.
The governor, however, assured officials that sufficient protection will be accorded to those who are in a clear and present danger.
“We will not allow officials who are in a clear and present danger to be defenseless. But arming them is not the solution,” she added.
Meanwhile, the anti- private armed group task force has gained ground in its campaign against loose firearms with the seizure of guns during its recent operation in Currimao town.
Task force chief and provincial board member Fidel Cimatu said the group has obtained a list of individuals involved in contract killing.
“We have a list of individuals involved in guns for hire. They are now being monitored,” he said.
Cimatu said the task force is given a year to run after private armies and confiscate loose firearms. (Cristina Arzadon – PIA Ilocos Norte)