THE celebration of Christmas and New Year across the country has been “generally peaceful” with no significant incidents recorded, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.

PNP Chief General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said the peaceful celebration can be attributed to the heightened alert status of its units and full operational readiness of police maneuver forces that bolstered the anti-criminality, law enforcement and public safety operations of the PNP.

He said there was zero casualty especially during the New Year’s revelry.

The PNP, however, recorded four cases of indiscriminate firing in Quezon City, Iloilo, Nueva Vizcaya and Manila from December 31, 2022 to January 1.

PNP chief of the Public Information Office Colonel Red Maranan said the suspect in the December 30 indiscriminate firing incident in Nueva Vizcaya was a police officer identified as Patrolman Loreto Abrio, who was assigned at the 145th Special Action Company, 14th Special Action Battalion, PNP Special Action Force.

Abrio was relieved from post along with his commanding officer Captain John Louise Pacres over command responsibility.

Abrio will be facing administrative charges.

“As I have warned at the onset of the holiday security operations, criminal liability for indiscriminate firing is further aggravated if the offender belongs to the uniformed services. The chief, FEO (Firearms and Explosives Office) is directed to consolidate the names of those who violated the law on firearms use and to cause the revocation of their licenses without delay, likewise to initiate the filing of appropriate criminal cases,” said Azurin.

Maranan said Ferdinand Bagundol, a member of the Philippine Coast Guard, was arrested for illegally firing his firearms in Quezon City on December 31. Seven spent shells were recovered from the scene.

In Manila, Leonardo Colana was arrested over the same offense.

Maranan said two individuals were injured due to indiscriminate firing in Iloilo and Quezon City.

He said 42 individuals were arrested for selling and/or using illegal firecrackers while P2.5 million worth of which were recovered.

Meanwhile, from December 21 to January 2, the Department of Health recorded a total of 211 fireworks-related injuries, 16 percent higher than the cases lodged during the same period in 2021. (SunStar Philippines)