Various groups on Monday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to declare a total gun ban during the campaign period, including disarming bodyguards of politicians.
Norman Cabrera, secretary-general of Gunless Society and co-convenor of Kapatiran, said the Philippines ranks seventh among more than 200 nations in terms of number of deaths by firearms, next only to US and some Latin American countries.
“Around 700,000 Filipinos are killed by gunshots, that is at least 20 Filipinos a day,” he noted.
Cabrera said during election period, shooting incidents are significantly reduced and cases of illegal discharge of guns are mostly committed by bodyguards of the politicians.
“We might as well disarm the bodyguards,” he told the Tapatan sa Aristocrat news forum.
Bro. Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral care (ECPPC) and a member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), suggested that instead of police officers being deployed as bodyguards, politicians should instead hire security guards.
“These security guards should be in uniform so people could identify them,” he said, adding that that instead of being detailed as bodyguards, more policemen could be deployed to reflect police visibility.
Dr. Ted Herbosa, a former undersecretary of the Department of Health, now with the Philippine General Hospital and chairman of the Physicians for Peace, said regulation is not enough, but change of behavior of the citizens.
If use of guns could be controlled during elections and Christmas and New Year celebrations, he added, it could also be controlled during ordinary days.
Butch Valdez, president of Save the Nation Movement and chairman of LaRouche Philippine Society, urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Police Commission to come up with a comprehensive peace and order plan for the country.
He said the more poor Filipinos, the more crime and drug-related crimes will happen.
Meanwhile, Senior Supt. Ferdinand Daway, deputy director of the Firearms and Explosives Office of the PNP, said there are 1.8 million privately-owned guns, with 700 thousand licensed gun holders.
About 400,000 are for renewal.
Daway added that the PNP is ready to implement any directive, including the total ban on guns during election period and the recall of policemen assigned as bodyguards to politicians.