20 May 2014
HONORABLE GRACE POE
Committee on Public Order & Dangerous Drugs
Senate of the Republic of the Philippines
Pasay City, Metro Manila
Dear Senator Poe:
We deeply appreciate the opportunity you are giving us in airing our side with regards to how Republic Act 10591 is now being implemented. It was a far cry from how the industry sector and the citizenry in general viewed the positive effect of the said law as far as their right to pursue a lawful firearm business, and the citizen’s right to be able to own and possess firearms for their and that of their family’s defense.
The clear intent of the law to recognize the right of every qualified citizen to pursue a lawful firearm business, and to own and possess firearms is stated in Section 2 of the said law when it was declared as a State policy that:
“It is the policy of the State to maintain peace and order and protect the people against violence. The State also recognizes the right of its qualified citizens to self-defense through, when it is the reasonable means to repel the unlawful aggression under the circumstances, the use of firearms. Towards this end, the State shall provide for a comprehensive law regulating the ownership, possession, carrying, manufacture, dealing in and importation of firearms, ammunition and parts thereof, in order to provide legal support to law enforcement agencies in their campaign against crime, stop the proliferation of illegal firearms or weapons and the illegal manufacture of firearms or weapons, ammunition and parts thereof.”
It is on this major premise that the law defined and enumerated in Article II thereof, the standards and requisites in owning and possessing firearms.
The problem came, however, in the manner by which the Philippine National Police (PNP) implemented R.A. 10591. They made it too restrictive and centralized that it became extremely difficult for those residing outside of Metro Manila to be able to secure a license for the firearms they intend to possess and own.
Consider the following:
- Without any basis in R.A. 10591 or its Implementing Rules and Regulations, the PNP shut down their satellite offices in the region and centralized the processing of firearms licenses only at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
- Contrary to the provision of Article II, Section 4(b) that they have to accredit psychologists and psychiatrists to conduct the required psychiatric test of a firearms license applicant, they refused to do so and only accepts the test result conducted by the PNP Health Service in Camp Crame Quezon City. This means that those from the Visayas and Mindanao areas will have to either have to take a flight or travel by sea to Camp Crame just to be able to take the said psychiatric test. This entails additional expense and becomes impractical for those who live in those areas.
- Contrary to the provision of Article II, Section 4(c) that they have to accredit drug testing laboratories and clinics, the PNO refused to do so and only accepts the test result conducted by the PNP Crime Laboratory stationed in Camp Crame. The effects are the same as in the preceding paragraph.
The adverse effect these has caused the firearms industry, and the unnecessary burden these has caused to those intending to own and possess firearms, are immeasurable.
It is here to mention that the firearms industry has been on a stand still for almost six months now as a result of such manner of implementation. The firearms sales has gone down to practically “zero” as people are discouraged to buy firearms for their protection because of such requirements and the xpense involved in securing the same. Numerous firearms dealerships have closed down and more are going to. Mass lay-offs are also being resorted to by our licensed and legitimate firearms manufacturers due to lack of sales brought about such wrongful manner of implementation of the said law.
It is for this reason that we urge the Honorable Senator, in the exercise of her oversight function, to take a closer look at how the PNP is implementing the law which her Committee successfully passed in the last Congress and adopt the necessary measures to correct the same.
Thank you very much.
Downloadable version of this position paper can be downloaded here: AFAD Position Paper Senate TWG 2014-05