Issues in the Philippines: Pro-Gun or Gunless Society?
In the News
GunPolicy.org singled out Philippines as with the most lax gun regulations in the Asian region. Almost everyday, the news wrap-up for the night will not be complete without death news caused by gun shooting, gun suicide or massacre.
You can easily own a gun of any caliber if you have a starting money of Php 15, 000 pesos coupled with its license. No BIG questions are needed to buy a shotgun for hunting or home protection.
Or the worst scenario, owning a gun by illegal means that can be used in illegal activities, like carnapping, holdup or even gun smuggling.
The purpose of owning a gun lies solely to the responsibility of its owner as protection for his/her business, job and family against possible enemies, haters or aggressors.
Culture of Bang-Bang
There are two opposing reasons regarding gun.
Mr. Randy Pacheco, founder of Gunless Society in the country stands for peaceful options. Without owning a gun, you can still live peacefully in this discriminating society.
Whereas, Pro-Gun Advocate lawyer, Attorney Ernesto Tabujara III strongly stands for owning a service firearm in order to protect himself from death threats. Furthermore, giving a chance to all responsible civilians to own guns in order to protect their businesses is the right thing to do here in the country.
What's more real is he alarming gun-related death incidents for the past years.
As of 2010, there are 5, 779 cases that pertained to irresponsible gun ownership.
Although, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III successfully eradicated the sounds of Wang-Wang in the streets, a peaceful Philippines is sill just a dream due to gun-related incidents.
Citizen Protection Act of 2010 is still pending on its approval. (As of this writing, legislators of the 15th Congress are clinging their time on other issues.)
There are improvement as to the concern of classifying gun ownerships for private individuals and public servants.
The Comprehensive Firearm Control Bill is also in the cooking stage so that the country will not be topping the list of having the most irresponsible gun owners in the region.
The Gun and the Suicide Note
13-year old Janjan Vilchez committed suicide using the gun of his father Mario last August 1, 2011.
Prior to the tragic event that happened 11 pm of that day, Janjan already posted his reasons of committing suicide at his Facebook account.
Early that night, he told his elder sister Cristina to open his Facebook account for something that he cannot personally say to his sister.
A family friend, Amelia Burgos, happened to inquire for Janjan that evening. She noticed a written note at the refrigerator's door. (Buksan mo ang Facebook mo. Mayroon akong mahalagang mensahe sa lahat. - Open your Facebook account. I have a message for everyone.)
The bewildered Amelia inquired the shocked Cristina that immediately went to Janjan's room that was already locked. Crying, Cristina pleaded her younger brother to stop his plan. Until they heard a single shot.
Looking at his last message on Facebook, Janjan wrote that " I always hate myself for not telling the truth." He was guilty of being a computer-game addict.
What Janjan left to his family was the trauma of owning a gun. His father will never forget what was left of him after his suicide, bloody face and the reminder that his gun was responsible for the death of his son.
Personal account about Guns
Owning a licensed gun runs in the family, especially at my father's side. They've been hired as the primary help in a big hacienda that were divided later to all its tenant-farmers.
I witnessed how my father and his brothers and cousins, practiced shot guns, caliber 38 and carbine-type with live ammunition.
During the Martial Law with the Marcos regime, the Civilian Home Defense Force was integrated with the military and police forces in order to secure far-flung barangays from the rebels, the leftist guerillas of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Early 80s saw the intensified recruitment and campaign of the group that cost the life of my uncle as gun snatching happened in our place, mostly done by the rebels.
My father hid and buried his caliber .38 gun along with the live ammos, that even after his demise in the late 90s (due to health problem), I still cannot find it.
The personal shotgun was already destroyed. The carbine was bought by my cousin who's working in the government.
I lost track of the hidden gun but still hoping to find it by digging its possible location at our old house.
Dismantling an armalite or AK-14 rifle was taught during my college years. I even tried firing one of the unit and securing its safe lock after the exercises. Our commandant and officers made all the college reservists know the basic parts and function of a rifle and handled an actual gun while marching at the platoon.
Military science is still required in order for a college student to graduate. Although, both naval, regular and affiliate units are now implementing an optional training to the plebes who are willing to undergo training for the whole 4 semesters.
I've seen some of my colleagues in the media carrying guns for protection. You see, most of the hard-hitting commentary anchormen in the radio and television always receive death threats that some became victims of gun shooting that often lead to death.
When I changed my work as a seafarer, I was also informed that the master or captain of the ship has an access to the reserved gun onboard the ship. It will be used if pirates will hijack the vessel or if time allows it to be used for emergency.
My opinion rests on the responsibility of the gun owner.
I have cousins and family members who work as law enforcers or in the military forces. They even have personal prayers when handling guns.
Life is precious. The world must promote the eradication of deadly weapons, like guns, in order to attain peace.
Right to bear Arms c/o ExitSuperHiWa
Show host Zaldy Lennon consults with Engineer Arthur B. Uy
about the American Experience on Gun Ownership during DZRJ;s Mate.
This video was post on July 24, 2010 at YouTube where the sole concern is to let Filipinos know the responsibilities or being a gun owner.
With the heinous crimes that are happening everyday, every Filipino household fear that they can be a victim of gun-related incidents that can easily claim the lives of family members.
Gun and the Society
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