MANILA, Philippines - After being urged by several people to drop his pack of cigarettes, presidential front-runner Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is now asked to give up his own gun.
The Gunless Society of the Philippines, led by Nandy Pacheco who founded the "Ang Kapatiran" party list, said Aquino should implement a total gun ban in the Philippines following the positive impact of the police's gun control efforts on the general conduct of the 2010 elections.
Areas perenially branded as "hot spots" for violence during election season were surprisingly "peaceful" last May 10, according to a group involved in pushing for electoral reforms (Read article here).
"I hope Noynoy can set an example [through the total gun ban] and have political will," Pacheco told ABS-CBN News.
Pacheco lamented that the previous administrations have not heeded his group's call.
Should Aquino, a registered gun owner, give up his firearm and uphold a total gun ban in the Philippines, he said violent incidents in the country will certainly go down.
Of course, as with any other issue, the total gun ban proposed by Pacheco's group did not sit well with some people.
Atty. Ernesto Tabujara of Peaceful Responsible Owners of Guns (PROGun), for one, said a total gun ban is "unrealistic and not feasible" in the Philippines.
"Unlike the western countries, the Philippines suffers from rampant crime in the form of robberies and thefts, kidnapping, drug violence, terrorism in the south, communist insurgency, and political and profession-related killings," Tabujara said.
According to Tabujara, the total gun ban would not be implemented properly given the limited number of policemen and law enforcers. For this reason, he said wealthy Filipinos tend to hire personal bodyguards for their own protection.
"The more affluent Filipinos hire private security guards for their homes and subdivisions or personal bodyguards for the even wealthier," he added.
Chief Supt. Gil Meneses, chief of PNP's firearms explosives division, for his part said: "The gun dealers will be affected. Why would a person buy a gun if he can't even carry or use it?"
Amid the criticisms, however, Meneses assured that the PNP will consider the implementation of the said measure. On Friday, a second national firearms summit will be held to discuss ways to effectively control gun use in the country. -- Report from Alex Santos, ABS-CBN News