Press Release
June 28, 2021

Drilon: 'We need good governance not guns to solve criminality and poverty'

What can solve the country's growing problems on criminality and its main drivers - poverty and hunger - is good governance not guns, according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Monday as he opposed the proposal to arm civilian organizations to reduce crimes.

"More guns do not make a country safe. More guns will not solve poverty and hunger. More guns will not bring back lost jobs. More guns will not bring back investor's confidence," Drilon said in a statement on Monday.

"What the government needs to do is to bring back good governance to address the causes of criminality which are poverty, hunger and joblessness. These are the main factors that drive people to commit crimes," Drilon stressed.

"Kung kumakalam ang tiyan, ang ibibigay mo pagkain at hindi bala," he added.

Drilon said he completely agreed with Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas who called for a need to bring back good governance and decency and integrity in government during a mass for the late President Benigno S. Aquino III.

"Good governance involves the proper implementation of the law. There is a law that provides for a comprehensive law regulating the ownership, possession, carrying, manufacture, dealing in and importation of firearms and ammunition. Is it being strictly followed? How many crimes involve loose firearms?" said Drilon, referring to Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Law of Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

"Stricter implementation of firearm licensing regulations is needed, rather than arming groups. In fact, the PNP must intensify its operations against loose firearms," Drilon said.

Drilon led the Senate in defeating an administration-backed proposal to arm firemen in the proposed Bureau of Fire Modernization Bill.

Before it adjourned last June 3, the Senate rejected the bicameral report on the bill modernizing the Bureau of Fire Protection after the panel inserted a provision allowing firefighters to carry guns, which the Senate had rejected earlier.

Drilon, who was Senate President four times, said the proposal to arm civilian organizations is definitely "not the solution to rising criminality."

"We will oppose it. Given the Senate's strong opposition to the proposal to arm firefighters, I don't see the Senate will support the proposal to arm civilian organization" he said.

Drilon further said that the proposal is an admission that the government is failing in its duty to provide security and protection to Filipinos.

"The proposal would serve to create the impression that the government is incapable of protecting the safety and welfare of Filipinos," Drilon said.

"The increasing incidence of crime in the country that involved a firearm is already a cause of concern. The proposal carries a high risk that guns may fall in the wrong hands and, therefore, only exacerbate criminality," he added.

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