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PROGUN Reply to Kapatiran Party/ Gunless Society article in Philippine Inquirer

An article appeared today in the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper, entitled "Media Urged to Join Drive for Gun Control", featuring the Kapatiran Party/ Gunless Society's statement through its secretary general Norman Cabrera that guns are to be blamed for the killing of journalists in the Philippines.

Disregarding journalism ethics, the Inquirer did not bother to get the opposing side's view, hence this Reply. 

To begin, the Kapatiran / Gunless Society's focus on the gun and not the individual perpetrator of gun violence is a misplaced and incongruent argument. By analogy, blaming guns for the recent spate of violence against journalists is just as absurd as blaming cars for the illegal acts of drunk drivers. Being inanimate objects, guns cannot think, have no emotion, and much less can they act by themselves. Rather, the logical and proper remedy is to focus on the human actor and intervention as the cause, indentify and apprehend t7he perpetrators, and prosecute them. Kapatiran's statement is an indictment of our entire justice system as flawed, and not just guns.

Crime out of Control

This week marked a crime-filled Christmas season in the Philippines. Today prominent Zamboanga De Sur Mayor Ukol Talumpa was shot and killed along with his wife and 19 month old niece at the heart of the Philippines' capital at Nnoy Aquino International Airport as he had just arrived from a flight. Four other bystanders were injured in the attacked wherein 20 shots were fired from a .45 cal pistol. The gunman escaped on board a motorcycle driven by an accomplice, and to date remains unidentified and at large. Yesterday, the wife of prominent lawyer Atty. Raymund Fortun was shot in the face by an unidentified assailant as she was alighting from her car in front of their house. The target was seemingly her husband, Atty Fortun. And last weekend, the nation's largest mall, SM North EDSA, right in the middle of the city, was robbed by the Martilyo Gang ("Hammer Gang") which used sledge hammers to break the glass displays of jewelries, of which some 5 million worth were stolen.

To date, no suspects or leads have been established.

Traffic Altercations and Road Rage: Avoidance

Once again the shooting and wounding of a girl in a traffic altercation in Quezon City has sparked outrage at gun ownership. The driver of the victim's car was her father who had gotten into a near collision with another car, then some heated words and dagger looks were exchanged and then shots rang out. There is now a police manhunt for the shooter.

Road rages or traffic altercations, especially in the Philippines, can easily turn deadly such as this incident. Since the kiling of student Eldon Maguan by Rolito Go back in 1990, likewise due to a traffic altercation (Go's car met with the victim's car in a one way street), serious concern has been raised about the safety of driving in our streets. To be certain, Attitude plays a big role in whether or not a simple traffic altercation can escalate into a road rage. In any situation, driving or not, it is never a wise move to provoke other people by harsh and angry words or simple dagger looks. Filipinos being who they are, are usually very sensitive to such attitudes which they view as offensive. Unlike other cultures, simple mean looks can result in tragic deadly encounters.

Aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan: Armed Citizens Desperately Needed.

Typhoon Haiyan did not just bring destruction and tragedy in the Philippines. It also brought with it a total collapse of law and order and civil structures. As expected through past experience in Hurricane Katrina and other natural calamities, the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan created chaos and disorder among survivors who were desperate for food and water. It also brought about opportunism, criminality, looting and stealing, amonst those who simply wanted to take advantage of the situation. No police were available in the week after the Typhoon hit the City of Tacloban, Leyte: among 300 or so police only 20 reported for duty, as most we also victimized by the Typhoon, dead or injured, or abandoned their posts. The slow response by the government, both local and national, to quell the rioting and looting resulted in numerous shops and stores ranscaked and their goods stolen. Upscale homes were not spared as marauders broke in and beat up the owners, raped their women, and took away whatever they could. About 600 Local prisoners who had escaped from a prison and local insurgents foraging for food, compounded the problem.

One news account even stated that a store owner in the town of Guian Leyte, witnessed uniformed policemen were among the looters of her store.

PROGUN Opposes the proposed fees of the PNP IRR: An Open Letter to the President and the PNP

PROGUN has learned that the proposed fees in the IRR draft of the PNP for R.A. 10591 are P1600 for registration per gun for every four years. This is in addition to the license fee that must be paid by the gun owner whether Type 1 to 5, ranging from P1000 to P10,000 per gun owner. We strongly oppose such proposed fees as being excessive and exhorbitant. If such fees were to be implemented, then gun licensing costs would be practically the same as under the old law, which is what the new law RA 10591 was intended to address and reform. We also note that the registration fee for airguns and airsoft guns is only P500, hence why should registration of firearms be higher when registration of a gun of whatever nature involves the very same act of entering the information in the database?

The law RA 10591 likewise specifically provides that the licensing fees must be reasonable.

The splitting of licensing and registration under RA 10591, and the adoption of the Type 1 to 5 individual licensing was intended precisely to make licensing costs LOWER and more affordable for gun owners. However, by increasing the registration fees up to P1600 per gun, coupled with the payment of a separate license fee of Type to 5, the costs have practically returned to the level that it was under the old law PD 1866, as amended.

Barangay Elections Gun Ban: A Basket Case for Criminality

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Gun ban began once again last 28 September 2013. It will be in force until 13 November 2013, or during the election period of the Barangay elections. During this election gun ban period, all licensed gun owners are prohibited from carrying their guns outside their residence, unless they apply for and are granted an exemption from Comelec. This year is unique in that we have experienced two Comelec gun bans this year: the senatorial and local elections last May and the barangay elections this October.
 
A gun ban is certainly intended to have noble effects: to disarm otherwise violent politicians and warlords (and their private armies), and prevent them from killing each other as theyr regularly do every Philippine election. However, this is a case where the means did not bring about the intended end. Needless to say, violent crime and killings continued, as usual. The Comelec gun ban which was intended to curb shootings, had no effect whatsoever on the incidence of violent crime and shootings. Likewise, as expected, the only people who followed the gun ban were the legitimate citizens, whereas the criminals exempted themselves and continued to rob, kill, steal, and kidnap.

In the end, as always, the ultimate losers in this case, are the ordinary citizens who are now left defenseless.

The Philippines signs the UN Arms Trade Treaty

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has signed a treaty at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters that aims to regulate the international trade in conventional arms.

“The Philippines signed the [arms trade treaty] ATT to fulfill our country’s commitment to promoting international peace and security. The proliferation of conventional arms has contributed to violence and instability in many parts of the world including the Philippines and there is a need to address this serious concern,” Ambassador Libran Cabactulan said.

Cabactulan, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations, signed the Treaty on behalf of the Philippine Government. This makes the Philippines as the first country in Southeast Asia to do so.

PROGUN crticism of Zamboanga City Gun ban recalled in wake of MNLF attack on the city

This article was written and posted here nearly two years ago on 1 December 2011. At that time, PROGUN was denouncing and crticizing the Zamboanga City gun ban imposed by their local government. With events over the past few days of the MNLF terrorists having invaded and occupied Parts of Zamboanga City, it is apt to revisit again this article and its seemingly prophetic words:

"Yesterday, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo yesterday ordered the cancellation of Mission Orders (MO) and Memorandum Receipts (MR) of military and police assets, civilians and other agents of the law, as well as ordered for the strict enforcement of the gun ban in the city. Robredo’s orders came after meeting with Mayor Celso Lobregat, Isabela City Mayor Cherry Akbar and Basilan Gov. Jum Akbar at the City Hall Conference Room to discuss, assess, thresh out and agree on what to do to quell terroristic acts especially after the bomb blast at the Atilano Pension House that killed three people and injuring 27 others. He suspects someone is behind or manipulating the series of bomb attacks to discredit the administration, thus the need to look deeper into this perception. 

Comments and Suggested Inputs to the PNP Draft Implementing Rules and Regulations for RA 10591

Hereunder are our comments and suggested inputs for the Draft PNP Implementing Rules and Regulations for RA 10591. These comments and suggestions were arrived at a joint effort by PROGUN, Pinoyguns, Lock n Load, and allied organizations and supporters, after several months of discussion and consultation. Please note the following:

1. In spite of our request, we are not members of the technical working group of the PNP (TWG-PNP) for the drafting of the IRR, which we understand is being done under a closed-door policy. We disclaim that we have any direct participation in this process of discussing and drafting the IRR apart from these comments and our attendance at the PNP Open Forum at Camp Crame.

2. Nevertheless, we understand that TWG-PNP is accepting comments and suggestions from civilian stakeholders and organizations. It is in this light that we are submitting these comments and suggested inputs.

3. We have no assurance, and neither are we making any assurance, that our comments and suggestions will be considered or included in the final draft of the IRR. 

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Suggested inputs and comments to the PNP Draft Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10591

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