The Philippine National Police (PNP) has ordered all its station commanders and other top officers to regularly inspect their ammunition storage facilities.
The order was issued in the wake of the fire and blasts that razed the ammunition complex of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro City last Tuesday evening.
PNP director for operations, Maj. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, has directed all regional directors to exercise due diligence in storing firearms ammunition that can cause serious accidents when mishandled.
“Our commanders should always make sure to check the weather condition and the temperature inside the storage areas. Moisture may develop inside which can ignite the ammunition inside. We have to be careful and responsible in handling this because we don’t want any similar incident that happened in Cagayan de Oro City to happen in police camps. The best way to ensure that this would not happen is to take regular preventive measures,” he stressed.
De Leon said the same due diligence must also be observed in evidence storage areas where confiscated firearms and ammunition from criminal elements are stored.
“The PNP, headed by our officer-in-charge, Lt. Gen. (Vicente) Danao is waiting for the result of the investigation on the Cagayan de Oro City incident to learn lessons from it and help prevent similar incidents to happen,” he added.
De Leon also warned that those who would be found remiss in their responsibility of properly taking care of ammunition storage areas would face administrative cases.
“They would surely face administrative liability if they would not exercise due diligence because we have already reminded them through a memorandum issued from the PNP National Headquarters,” he added.
No troops were reported injured in the Cagayan de Oro fire that was declared out at 3:10 a.m. on Tuesday but three civilians were taken to the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
Some 245 persons residing near the ammunition complex have also been evacuated and are now temporarily sheltered at the 4th Infantry Division gymnasium and the Barangay Patag covered court.
The ammunition complex also houses 155mm howitzer rounds and various small arms ammunition.