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NR # 3085
Belmonte for stricter gun control
In the light of Filipinos’ reactions to news on various incidents of random shooting in the United States and fear of potentially similar crimes happening in the country, the gun control issue has emerged as a topic of debate. Reacting to this, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.’s said, “I am for a policy of strict gun control.” Belmonte also said that this would most likely be among the many issues to be taken up when the 16th Congress convenes in July. As this developed Rep. Marcelino Teodoro (1st District, Marikina City), one of the authors of House Bill 5484 or the Comprehensive Regulation of Firearms, Light Weapons and Ammunition gun measure, underscored the need for comprehensive, sustainable and stricter regulations on all types of firearms and its components. Teodoro said the proliferation of firearms is becoming rampant, making it easier for criminal entities to perform acts of violence. The bill seeks to repeal Presidential Decree 1866 codifying the laws on illegal possession, manufacture, dealing in, acquisition or disposition, of firearms, ammunition or explosives or instrument used in the manufacture of firearms, ammunition or explosives. “A gun control law must be upheld and fully enforced upon by the concerned agencies and supported by the government to eradicate criminal acts,” Teodoro said. Teodoro stressed that the Aquino administration should be keen and serious on gun control to truly ensure peace and order in the country. The position of Belmonte and Teodoro was supported by a sizeable majority of Filipinos (67%) who believe that guns and their proliferation were among the key reasons why crime and violence occur in the country today. In fact, three out of every four Filipinos (75%) support a policy of gun control. Based on a multistage probability sample of 1,800 representative adults, 18 years old and above, Pulse Asia’s Ulat ng Bayan nationwide survey conducted from March 16 to 20, 2013 using face-to-face interviews, revealed that this sentiment was echoed by most Filipinos across geographic areas, with figures ranging from 57% in Mindanao to 80% in Metro Manila. Mostly Pinoys belonging to socio-economic Class E were in agreement (61%) to 69% in Class D. Around one in ten Filipinos (13%) disagreed with this view while about two in ten (21%) express ambivalence on the matter. Undecided responses were
manifested in the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao than in Metro Manila (20% to 26% versus 9%). Moreover, a policy of gun control in the country is supported by most Filipinos (75%) with levels of support for such policy ranging from 66% to 87% across geographic areas and from 72% to 81% across socio-economic classes. Metro Manilans (87%) are more inclined to support a gun control policy than their counterparts in Mindanao (66%) and the Visayas (70%). The survey also showed that 78% of Filipinos favor a law allowing only law enforcers and licensed private security guards to carry firearms in public places while only 22% prefer a law allowing all licensed gun holders to openly carry such weapons. The survey fieldwork was conducted during the time where many developments preoccupied Filipinos that included the continued hostilities in Sabah involving members of the Royal Army of the Sultanate of Sulu and Malaysian military forces; the filing of multiple murder charges by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) before the DOJ against 14 police officers and 11 soldiers involved in the killing of 13 individuals in Atimonan, Quezon; the suicide of Kristel Tejada, a student of the University of the Philippines-Manila for failure to pay her tuition fee and the capture of 21 Filipino peacekeepers by Syrian rebel forces and their subsequent release. (30) lvc