ONE YEAR AMNESTY FOR LOOSE FIREARMS SURRENDER

Manila, Feb. 1, 2003 - President Arroyo yesterday gave holders of loose firearms a one-year amnesty period to surrender their weapons to the PNP for custody and apply for a license.

Arroyo, through Executive Order 171, said an estimated 350,000 loose firearms remain unaccounted for and unlicensed. She said the EO would encourage owners of loose firearms to obtain the license for their weapons.

She said high-powered rifles or "paltiks" may not be allowed for licensing as a general rule but Ebdane may allow the licensing of some high-powered firearms.

She said those who surrender their firearms will not be prosecuted for illegal possession of firearms while in the act of surrendering their weapons. Each licensed firearm shall have its own distinct description.

Arroyo said an amnesty fee of P3,000 will be collected for high-powered firearms and P2,000 for low-powered firearms. The fees would then be deposited in a trust fund that would support the implementation of the Firearms Information Management System (FIMS), Firearms Records Management System (FRMS) and the Firearms Ballistics Information System (FBIS).

The Firearms and Explosive Division, Civil Security Group, and the PNP regional offices involved in the processing and registration of loose firearms shall retain 20 percent of the gross proceeds of the collections to support the direct cost of the licensing operation.

Arroyo said the submission and registration of the loose firearms would increase the PNP's Firearm Ballistic Data Bank and widen its capability to investigate crimes committed with the use of firearms.

Presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunet said the indefinite ban on issuance of permits to carry firearms outside places of residence could be the solution to the level of violence committed by gun owners which it said has escalated to an "alarming" rate.

"Parang marami na ang lumalakas ang loob kapag may dala-dala na baril, kaya importante na magkaroon ng control sa pagdadala ng baril, lalong-lalo na sa public places," presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye said.

Bunye said those whose lives are threatened should could go to PNP chief Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. and prove that such a threat exists before they could get an exemption.(Malaya)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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