‘Strict gun control, public vigilance can prevent Norway incident’
Posted on July 25, 2011
Philippine Star | Jul 25, 2011
MANILA, Philippines – A senior military officer reminded the people yesterday that the enforcement of laws against illegal firearms and the vigilance of citizens are needed to prevent violent incidents similar to those that claimed the lives of more than 90 people in Norway last Saturday.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deputy chief for operations Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. said public vigilance would complement the efforts of the security forces.“Two important things can thwart similar incidents. First is strict gun control. Second is the vigilance of the citizenry to complement the initiatives of our security sector,”
Mabanta told The STAR yesterday.
He said the enforcement of laws against loose firearms is a major concern in the Philippines especially in the south.
AFP spokesman Commodore Miguel Rodriguez said the incident in Oslo should serve as reminder to citizens to remain watchful of their surroundings
“Vigilance is not only for soldiers. We should not leave our safety to a third party. We should always consider our personal safety,” Rodriguez told radio dzBB.Rodriguez said the developments in Oslo, Norway would prompt the military to review existing security operations.
“We are revisiting our measures,” Rodriguez said.
“We cannot really be 100 percent prepared (for these types of incidents). The best we can do is make sure we are conscious of the need for personal security and community security and those who need to do their part should do their part,” he added.Rodriguez said the military is working closely with the police, local governments and citizens to ensure public safety.
“We are adopting the whole-of-nation approach. All stakeholders should cooperate to ensure safety
with the AFP and the PNP (Philippine National Police) taking the lead,” he said.
Rodriguez said the coordination among stakeholders is being conducted through the joint security coordinating councils in the regional level and provincial levels.
He said the military is continuously convincing members of armed groups to surrender to prevent violence and to sustain the government’s development efforts.
At least 92 people were killed in two violent incidents that comprised what has been labeled as the deadliest tragedy to hit Oslo, Norway since World War II.
Reports identified the suspect as Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old Norwegian who is said to be an anti-Muslim, a Christian fundamentalist with far-right leanings. Breivik is the suspect in the bombing of government buildings in downtown Oslo that left seven people dead.
He later wore a police uniform and took the ferry to Utoya Island, where he shot dead 85 persons attending a youth camp.
Breivik was nabbed by Norwegian security forces at the scene of the shooting in Utoya Island.
The Philippine foreign affairs department said no Filipino was adversely affected by the two violent incidents.
There are more than 21,000 Filipinos in the European country, which hosts the talks between the Philippine government and communist rebels.