DAVAO CITY–President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said the government should improve the regulation of public ownership of high powered firearms and ammunition to prevent these weapons from ending up in the hands of criminals and rebels.
In his speech during the opening ceremony of the Association of Firearms and Ammunition Dealers of the Philippines Inc. (AFAD) Defense and Sporting Arms Show (DSAS) in SMX Convention Center, the President cited the threat posed by the communist rebels which he said have the means to purchase high-powered guns and ammunition from local gun dealers.
The communist rebels are earning money through extortion from mining companies and large plantation owners, he said.
“So they have the money. So we have to control. Kung may magpabili ka ng armas, make sure kung sino and I would create an office,” he said.
“May bagong ano man, si DILG Secretary by June will be Año. So doon ko ibigay ang guidance sa kanya na how to check it out that no firearms would ever, ever land in the hands of an enemy of the state,” the President added.
President Duterte told gun dealers to advise their clients that they have to work on the papers to buy bullets and arms and to submit them early to get their orders on time.
High-powered firearms should not be sold to civilians, he stressed, adding security guards should not be allowed to own firearms. They can be equipped with shotguns to defend themselves.
The President said he has opposed to arming security guards even before with high caliber firearms particularly those who are assigned to far-flung areas because NPA rebels often seized those weapons.
There is a need to revise some of the rules in buying guns and ammunition, he said noting however that it should not harm gun stores in making profit.
At the same time, the President expressed his disappointment about the attacks still being committed by the communists despite the ongoing peace talks.
DSAS, which marked its 25th anniversary this year, showcases the latest array of firearms, ammunition, and shooting paraphernalia. This is the first exhibit of DSAS in Davao City.
DSAS is organized by the AFAD whose mission is to uphold responsible gun ownership to promote the local firearms and ammunition industry.
A similar exhibit will be held in Manila in July and November this year.