Don’t worry, Filipinos are a happy people and it’s unlikely that the massacre that occurred on a US school campus would happen in the Philippines.
So said the head of the Philippine National Police office issuing gun permits.
At a news briefing Monday, Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, head of the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO), said he believed the Filipinos’ positive outlook in life would rule out the possibility of something like the Connecticut elementary school carnage happening in this country.
“I don’t think such an incident would happen here,” Petrasanta said. “We are a happy people compared to other countries, where the lifestyle of their citizens is stressful.”
“Maybe because their standard of living is so stressful that the Americans forget to laugh. Here, our people have many diversions to help them forget their problems.”
Petrasanta said the Filipinos’ religiosity would also help control individuals beset with personal problems.
He, however, admitted that much had to be done to ensure only “responsible individuals” were given licenses to carry firearms.
He said the PNP had been supporting the pending “firearms bill” in the Senate which would introduce stricter rules on gun ownership.
The proposed legislation would impose harsher penalties for illegal possession of firearms and require separate permits for guns and gun owners, Petrasanta said.
“Under the proposed bill, we will issue licenses for the firearms and licenses to their owners. It’s like owning a car and having a driver’s license,” he said.
He said the FEO would also require individuals applying for firearms licenses to submit proofs of billing to help authorities establish their identity.
However, Petrasanta acknowledged that having stricter gun control was not an assurance that a licensed gun owner would not use his firearm to go on a rampage and kill people.
“That’s why we are looking for ways to make gun owners more responsible,” he said.
At present, those who want to own and carry a gun should be at least 21 years old and a Filipino citizen. They must also pass neuropsychiatric exams in PNP-accredited clinics.
“We also analyze the source of livelihood and lifestyle of gun owners, especially those who own high-powered guns,” Petrasanta said. “I think we are doing enough to ensure that we give gun licenses only to responsible gun owners.”