Press Release
May 31, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today urged law enforcement authorities to take immediate steps to solve the perennial problem of acute deficiency of firearms in the Philippine National Police (PNP) which undermines its capability to enforce law and order and combat criminality.

Pimentel was disturbed by the report of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and PNP that only 61.5 percent of 115,000 policemen have government-issued firearms.

He said that while there are orders for the purchase of firearms to be issued to nine percent of the police force, this will still leave 30 percent of them without guns.

Pimentel said the insufficient number of firearms in the PNP has been aggravated by the closure of local manufacturer that used to supply the police organization with revolvers and pistols. He said the DILG and PNP officials reported that all firearms, as well as ammunition, for the police have to be imported.

Firearms manufacturers in Danao City are still making paltiks or shotguns, but these are not suitable for the use of policemen.

Pimentel asked the authorities to look into the possibility of helping a local company to make arrangements with foreign manufacturers for making firearms locally to supply not only to the PNP but also to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

May be we should put our hearts together on how we can do that for the self-sufficiency of our law enforcers in terms of firearms and ammunition, the minority leader said.

Meanwhile, Pimentel voiced his objection to the proposal to allow journalists to carry firearms, saying this is a wrong approach to prevent the killings of newsmen.

He said he is against any policy that will only worsen the proliferation of firearms, which will make the country more prone to violence.

Pimentel argued that if journalists will be allowed to arm themselves, nothing can prevent other citizens from demanding that they be issued gun permits too.

We know very well how that can give rise to a lot of problem of criminality if we allow that to happen. It is not the duty of the citizens to protect themselves from criminal elements. That is the duty of the police, he said.

Pimentel advised the authorities to be strict in issuing gun permits and to intensify the campaign against loose or unlicensed firearms.

He observed that foreigners, especially those coming from more civilized nations in Europe, have been turned off by the proliferation of firearms that are in the hands of people who are not members of law enforcement agencies.

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