Amnesty for loose guns to start next week

By Cecille Suerte Felipe, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 04 2014 02:38 AM | Updated as of Jan 04 2014 10:38 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A six-month amnesty for loose firearms in accordance with Republic Act 10195, the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition Control, is set to start next week.

Chief Superintendent Louie Oppus, Philippine National Police (PNP)-Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) director, told The STAR they are finalizing the requirements for the gun amnesty.

“We are now working on all the documents,” he said.

“We have met with the DO (Directorate for Operations) as part of the process. Hopefully, we can start within the second week of January.”

The gun amnesty will allow holders of unlicensed firearms to register their guns and avoid stiffer penalties, he added.

PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima signed the implementing rules and regulations of RA 10195 last Nov. 24.

“We want individuals with loose firearms to have their guns registered or they will face stiffer sanction when caught in possession of loose firearms,“ he said.

Sen. Nancy Binay wants stricter regulations on the use of firearms following reports of people being hit by stray bullets during the holidays.

“In the past week, it was saddening to see so many children who were victims of violence,” she said.

“It’s such a painful and heavy scene to see parents grieving over their children who were frail victims of indiscriminate firing of guns, and young girls raped and killed. This is something that needs to be addressed.”

During a visit to the Philippine General Hospital with her father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, she saw several children confined due to injuries from indiscriminate firing of guns.

“The families of these children are grieving,” she said.

“The children were made human toys in a playground of gun-toting neighbors. Random crimes like rape and indiscriminate firing create fear and anxiety in every home.”

Binay called on law enforcement agencies to implement stricter gun control and community-based policing to deter lawlessness.

Police must step up profiling of gun owners, she added.

Binay said some form of community-based investigation and audit must be done to check on holders of unlicensed and home-made ordnances.

“I do hope that the ongoing investigations would yield the possible suspects of the crimes and that they would be made to answer for the crime as soon as possible,“ she said.

As of November 2013, police records showed 1,700,398 licensed firearms, about 292,698 guns with expired licenses are being processed, and 602,317 licenses have expired.

Under RA 10195, holders of unregistered firearms and those with expired licenses shall register and renew them through the final general amnesty within six months from the issuance of the IRR. – With Marvin Sy