DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said government should improve the regulation of public ownership of high-powered firearms and ammunition to prevent these weapons from ending up in the hands of criminals and rebels.
In his speech at the opening of the Association of Firearms and Ammunition Dealers of the Philippines Inc. Defense and Sporting Arms Show at the SMX Convention Center here Friday, Duterte cited the threat posed by communist rebels who have the means to purchase high-powered guns and ammunition from local gun dealers.
Because of what they earn through extortion from mining companies and large plantation owners, he said, the rebels “have the money. So we have to control. Kung may magpabili ka ng armas, make sure kung sino (When you sell arms, make sure you know who buys them) and I would create an office.”
He said he would give incoming Interior Secretary Eduardo Año guidance on ensuring that “no firearm would ever, ever land in the hands of an enemy of the state.”
Duterte told gun dealers to advise their clients to work on the papers to buy bullets and arms and submit these early to get their orders on time.
On the other hand, high-powered firearms should not be sold to civilians, he stressed. Also, security guards should not be allowed to own firearms and can be equipped with shotguns to defend themselves.
Duterte said he opposes arming security guards with high-caliber firearms, particularly those who are assigned to remote areas, because the New People’s Army often seizes such weapons.
There is a need to revise some of the rules in buying guns and ammunition, he said, noting however that it should not keep gun stores from making profit.
At the same time, Duterte expressed disappointment over continued attacks by the communists despite the ongoing peace talks.