MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) is looking to limit coverage of its gun amnesty program to licensed firearms owners who failed to renew their licenses, an official said Thursday.
During the opening of the Defense and Sporting Arms Show at the SM Megamall Megatrade Hall, Senior Superintendent Danilo Maligalig, operations management chief of the PNP Firearms and Explosive Division (FED), said the planned ?administrative amnesty? would replace the existing PNP gun amnesty program, which he admitted has loopholes.
The proposed amnesty might involve waiving penalties for gun owners who have failed to renew their licenses.
?It will be like our existing amnesty program, but we will not be catering to loose firearms. We will be catering only to registered but not renewed firearms. A gun license is like a driver?s license. Once your driver?s license expires, you cannot drive. In the same manner, if your gun license expires, if it?s in your house, and you don?t bring it around, technically it is legal. But once something happens and you use it, it becomes illegal. We will be encouraging everyone to renew their firearms with this administrative amnesty that is still in the drawing board,? Maligalig said in an interview.
Based on latest PNP data, of the 1.1 million licensed gun owners, 500,000 have failed to renew their licenses, Maligalig said.
?So we are considering an administrative amnesty for those registered but unrenewed firearms. Technically these are loose firearms but in our records, we can call them and let them renew. We?re considering that if the period during which the license was not renewed is short, we can consider waiving the penalties. But, for example, you did not renew your license for 10 years, maybe there will be may slight penalties. We?re coming up with a program to entice everyone to renew,? he said.
Maligalig admitted that under the existing gun amnesty program, the number of loose firearms increased. For the second quarter of this year, the number of loose firearms increased to 115,000 compared to the 108,000 in the first quarter of this year.
?What?s puzzling us is that despite of the gun amnesty program, the number of loose firearms still increased,? he said.
Maligalig attributed this increase to gun smugglers taking advantage of the gun amnesty to ship in high-powered firearms to the country.
The gun amnesty program for this year is set to expire Friday. Maligalig noted that out of the 115,000 loose firearms owners, only 15,000 availed of the amnesty. But he is expecting the number to increase to 18,000 by tomorrow.
?You know the Filipino usually waits until the last minute,? he said.