Thursday, January 10, 2013

Gun-owner Philippine President Hesitates Total Gun Ban

President Benigno S. Aquino III said he doesn't favor imposing a total gun ban in the country.

He suggested instead the government must go after criminals and private armed groups to prevent gun violence in the country.

In an interview Wednesday in Malacanang, the President said a total gun ban sounds nice but it won't reduce gun-related violence because outlaws will not surrender their weapons and will only make law abiding citizens defenseless.

"It sounds nice, total gun ban, but the total does not happen because the outlaw will not surrender guns. So we will not stop in our pursuit of these people who are outside of the law and get them before the bars of justice," the President said, referring to criminals and private armed groups.

The government, through the security forces, is dedicated to go after private armed groups in the country, the President said.

He noted that the government made notable successes in driving private armed groups away from areas where they operate and that does not mean that it is stopping, adding that the police and the military will be more active in preparations for the upcoming midterm elections this summer.

The President said he was alarmed by the proliferation of these armed groups, prompting him to instruct the Philippine National Police, the Dept. of Justice, and the National Bureau of Investigation to coordinate efforts in dismantling these groups.

According to the President, the Constitution prohibits the creation of private armed groups.

Among his concerns include the rising number of local officials or former local government officials or people being attacked, killed or injured especially as the country gears towards this year's election.

The President said that so far the authorities have arrested 64 individuals, killed nine, and detained 50 persons.

The police also cited a total of 123 members of private armed groups. A total of 249 firearms were also recovered, he stressed.

He said that there was an ongoing campaign to make this year's election orderly and peaceful.

While the police and the military crack down on private armed groups, the President said the government will remain committed to fighting graft and corruption that also threatens peace and security.

"Talagang seryoso tayo doon sa ating anti-corruption efforts so baka 'yung iba nag-iisip kung wala silang perang pambili at pang-corrupt ng mga kung sinuman ay baka daanin sa dahas," he said.

"So gusto natin itong unintended consequences of the anti-corruption effort not to happen. So tuloy-tuloy 'yung kampanya and this is nationwide."

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