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Girl’s death triggers gun debate in PH



Stray bullet victim Stephanie Nicole Ella (rigthmost) poses for a photo with other children on New Year’s Eve. Complimentary photo

MANILA — The death of a girl hit by celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve sparked calls Thursday for stricter gun controls in the Philippines, where unlicensed weapons are widely blamed for rampant violence.

The girl, Stephanie Ella, aged seven, died Wednesday from a gunshot wound to the head, triggering outrage and condemnation of poor law enforcement that allows hundreds of thousands of unregistered firearms to be on the streets.

“This incident should not be allowed to become just another statistic,” Vice President Jejomar Binay said in a statement.

“We have enough laws to penalize but the problem has always been in the enforcement of laws,” he stressed, as he challenged the police to catch the person responsible for Ella’s death.

Ella and her father were watching a fireworks display outside their home in a Manila suburb on Monday when a bullet, apparently fired from celebratory gunfire, struck her.

Ella was the second young victim to die from stray bullets in New Year’s eve celebrations, when gun owners traditionally fire bullets into the air or explode powerful firecrackers to make noise.

A four year-old boy was also killed, while a 16-year-old was in a coma after being wounded in a similar incident.

Ella’s ordeal, however, was prominently covered in national media, as her grief-stricken parents tensely waited by her hospital bedside as doctors lost the battle to save her.

An outpouring of sympathy followed, led by the office of President Benigno Aquino — himself a keen sports shooter — which issued a statement condemning her senseless death.

Prominent anti-crime crusader Dante Jimenez said the government should impose “a total gun ban during the holidays” and not only during elections, when rival politicians are known to engage in blood feuds.

“There should be no guns on the streets during these times. That is the only way,” he said.

However, he said the bigger problem was the failure of the authorities to seize all illegal firearms in the face of mounting violence.

There were 1.2 million registered firearms in the Philippines as of last year, according to data from the police firearms and explosives office.

It said there were another roughly 600,000 unlicensed firearms in circulation across the Philippines.

While carrying an unlicensed firearm is punishable by up to six years in prison, it remains relatively easy to acquire guns in the black market, Jimenez said.


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Tags: Crime , Gun Control , guns , new year revelry , News , Stephanie Nicole Ella


  • boypalaban

    gaya nga ng suggestion ko kanina…dapat ang gawin ng mga kapitbahay sa mga nagpapaputok ng baril ay sunugin ang bahay at buong pamilya…wala nang mahabang usapan…sunog agad…

  • Hunter421

    The people who fire their guns indiscriminately on a regular basis are PNP members. Why punish responsible gun owners when its the PNP who should be punished?

    • willydee68

      Can you present any evidence for your claim?

      • Hunter421

        Read local and national newspapers.

  • les21reago

    Sumawsaw naman si Rambotito at hinamon pa ang Pulis whose supervision under Roxas of DILG…
    At yung statistics sa Makati, yung mag asawang Hapon na retirees sa Condo na pinaslang at pinagnakawan…na SOLVE na ba yun..

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/hbRkpPw1oYTBJamz.EH7acMZBBVoIlWXriA-#e4348 Felix

    Noong nag martial law ang daming kolorum na baril ang nasamsam pero ngayon ang dami pa din at marahil ay mas marami pa sa lisensyado ang kolorum. Ano kaya kung gawin ng gobyerno ang ginawa sa amerika na tseke palit sa baril na wala nang tanong pa sa nagpapalit ng baril? Hindi na kelangan kasuhan ang may kolorum na baril dahil ang mga kaso ay ginagawa lang perahan ng nasa kapangyarihan. Ang mga baril na nabili ng gobyerno ay ipatunaw sa tunawan ng bakal.

  • bugoybanggers

    Aba, gaya gaya na naman ang mga POLITIKO ng Pilipinas sa US. Iba talaga ang PINOY.

    • http://twitter.com/alfs_alfs Pons Corpuz

       what’s wrong with that if it’s for good?

  • Jinhan

    This will always be the moment each new year’s eve because we are a “weak society”.  Being a “weak society”, we always blame the government or poor law enforcement.  But how can the government police the citizen of 100 million? Being weak on the malpractices of others or the neighborhood and “being silent” is a sign of a very weak people.  With these type of attitude we will always be bullied and victims of bullying.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZWTTKJTI57YO7TZBJC66GA2OLU dennis

    “We have enough laws to penalize but the problem has always been in the enforcement of laws,” he stressed, as he challenged the police to catch the person responsible for Ella’s death.”
    …..”Think much bigger scope”…..Not because of an isolated case like Ella´s death but for the sake of Filipino people! Gun ban must be implemented nationwide! Or a movement like i said in other article like “Firearms for Food or Money”! Gamitin nyo ang taong bayan by using CP,sending text messages regarding suspected neighbors who has firearms.My point is to bring out registration of all firearms.Surprise raid must be conducted because it is a “direct order” from the President or Commander of the Military! Incentives must be claim and the names of claimant must remain confidential.Now,kung may firearms ang isang tao at naunahan siyang isumbong eh pasensiyahan na lang!….We can use “Kabataan”(future generation) for them personally and incentives like “Firearms for Educational Grant” is a very reasonable deal!….Hindi lang yan ang mababawasan but specially “Riding in Tandem”…..Ipagbawal ang may ANGKAS sa Motorsiklo! For the reason that it will reduce number of person involve to commit accident! Just consider it as a high risk factor at may fine ang mahuhuling may angkas!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PZR7JI7G2WD2CTVMZ7LM667FD4 Ugly Bunny

       I concur. Total gun ban!

    • Don Dee

      The problem with the statement is that it came from Binay. We have enough laws … but politicians circumvent it when it does not suit their needs at that particular moment! This fool would slam a PNP officer for trying to enforce the law. Di ba Binay? Walang batas batas kung ikaw o ka kosa mo ang maiipit? Typical… sadly.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4R3GZTGML26TV2VGS6RVHP2THM Fred

    Sana hindi maging ningas cogon ito!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3RMNEZCQQHXWOQRXJROQ2CORFU Homer Guo

    how many more kids must die before we, adults, see the point that guns, no matter whose hand holds it, is meant to kill? it is a tool to kill. sad thing is, children suffer for adults’ senselessness.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YPXFMWG6DOPC2AFNLO5MK2TISI NikM

    If the gun used is registered it could easily be traced.  Think ballistics.

    Yes to gun ban vs loose firearms, vs criminals, NPAs, MILF, MNLF,private armies

  • ztefertilizerscam9

    connection sa PNP or Politician.They can get license to carry.Dapat mahigpit kayo sa pa issue ng gun Permit.

  • DarkSideOfTheMoon2

    marami ang nagpapaputok ng baril pataas….thinking na walang tatamaan ng bala pag pataas….siyempre babalik yung bala paibaba…yung bahay namin nuon nagkaroon ng butas sa yero….then yung bala naka stuck na sa may kisame…meaning kung ulo ng isang tao ang tamaan..maaring ikamatay….mayayabang kasi eh…bakit kailangan pa magpaputok ng baril…ang baril ay ginawa ng tao para pumatay ng kapwa…RIP para sa mga biktima.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/55XNXOYBNF6BG3EWOM5V4YMWXM Pedro

    At pag may  nahuling  mga  tao,  na  may  dalang  illegal  firearms,  hindi  rin  natutuloy  ang  kaso  pag  maraming  kwarta  ang  nahuli. .  tignan  nyo  po ang  statistics  sa  rate  of  convictions  ng  mga  nasampahan  ng  kasong  illegal  possession  of  firearms. .NAPAKABABA  NG  RATE  OF  CONVICTION. . .  kasi  pulis  ang  complainants dito  sa  kasong illegal  possession  of  firearms.  Pag  hindi  sumipot  ang  pulis  sa  mga  hearing dahil nagka – AREGLUHAN  NA ! nagka – LAGAYAN  NA !!   ,  MADI-DISMISS  NA  ANG  KASO. .  kaya  libre  na, .  pero  dapat  madami  kang  pera. . .kaya  nga  hindi  natatakot  ang  mga  violators  . . .

  • akramgolteb

    Kung tratrabahuin ng PNP talaga, mas malaki ang posibilidad mahuli nila ang mga nagpapaputok ng baril sa New Year.  Lahat ng baril na ibebenta sa market at ibibigay sa mga pulis o sundalo ay may balistic test record bago release sa buyer or service personnel. Bawat baril may ginagawang gasgas sa bala na unique bawat baril, parang fingerprint. Puede input sa computer database ang mga balistic fingerprint ng bala galing bawat baril na nakarehistro. Kung may casualty sa stray bullet, kunin nila ang balistic fingerprint ng bala na nakuha sa biktima at gumamit ng computer software para mag search & match ng parehong balistic fingerprint sa database. Basic tool ito ng bansang may matinong pulisiya. Kaagad alam nila kung kanino nakarehistro ang baril. Pero kung unregistered firearm ang ginamit, hindi ito ma trace.

    Nakakahiya ang ginagawa ng mga opisyal ng PNP na pagmasking tape seal ng mga baril ng pulis. Katumbas ito ng paggamit ng ice candy polybag imbes na condom, masyadong medieval at katawatawa kung makikita ng ibang bansa. Kung meron silang computer system na kayang mag match ng balistic fingerprint, hindi na kailangan seal ang mga baril ng pulis. Karamihan ng mga pulis may extra na baril sa bahay at ito ang gagamitin nila pagpaputok tuwing New Year hindi ang service firearm nila kaya bale wala o palabas lang ang pagtape seal ng mag baril.

  • thomashook

    Taking a lesson from William Esposo (Philippine Star, Jan 3, 2013), VP Binay is now trying to extricate himself from the bad press he got after his ill-advised visit of Gwen Garcia. Too bad he had to use this tragedy to rinse himself of the glob.

  • thomashook

    “The problem has always been the enforcement of laws.” VP Binay. And you address this by advising Gwen Garcia to defy the suspension order from the Office of the President?

  • disqusted0fu

    Why does something terrible always have to happen first before authorities make their move? What’s even more appalling is that the government will most likely just act on it in the beginning without any follow through to accomplish their action.



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