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PHILIPPINES, February 5 - Press Release February 2, 2022

EXPLANATION OF VOTE SB 1155; Committee Report 19: FIREARMS REGULATION Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto 02 Feb 2022

Mr. President, my dear colleagues:

When I first requested Senator Ronald to act on my bill, which injects common sense into our firearms law, he replied: "Will pass it. Itaga mo sa bato."

And today, he's returning with new gun licensing commandments chiseled in stone.

Let me say that this is an example of fine legislative marksmanship. Proof that he's not only proficient in using guns, but in crafting rules for their use as well.

And by the way, if you believe in the chatter heard from boardrooms to barber shops, he too, like Cupid, can shoot an arrow into a lady's heart without miss.

Before I expound on what's in this bill, let me first explain what isn't.

It does not do away with stringent requirements in gun ownership. The battery of tests remain.

It does not relax state control and oversight on gun manufacture, sale, licensing, ownership and possession.

I have to make it clear off the bat because in the age of fake news -when the uninformed shoot from the hip and a loose cannon can distort reality - this bill can be read wrongly, often by those who haven't even bothered to read it.

At present, there is an anaconda-long list of documents required in acquiring, possessing and carrying a gun. Sangkaterba ang dami, mula sa iba't ibang opisina.

The same necessary prerequisites remain because owning a firearm, a lethal device, is not a right but a privilege and therefore must be regulated.

But the state's right to regulate does not give it the right to torture those who would like to enjoy the privilege with a repetitive process which does not raise the quality of vetting.

Let me highlight just three of the many provisions this bill provides:

  • The Permit to Carry Outside of Residence or Place of Business shall be for two years from the date of the approval of the application;

  • The validity period of a license to own and possess a firearm is five or ten years, which the licensee can choose; and

  • The validity period of the firearm registration is five or ten years, which the licensee can choose.

In all of the above, the license can be revoked or suspended sooner for cause. And there are lots of triggers which can initiate the cancellation. What the state giveth, it can taketh away.

In the case of the license to own and possess a firearm and the firearm registration, the reckoning date is the birthdate of the licensee.

Kung ikaw ay sportsman, at lampas isa ang baril mo, the renewals are bundled under one filing date, sa mismong birthday mo, tulad sa lisensya sa pagmamaneho ng sasakyan.

May nagtanong, lugi ba ang pamahalaan?

Hindi po. Synchronizing and streamlining will not leave the government shortchanged. By and large, current fees will be retained. So there will be no loss of income on the part of government.

But most important, it will not lead to loss of lives, as some quarters are spreading as a scare tactic.

Mr. President:

The truth is, there are more unlicensed firearms than licensed ones today. There are 1.8 million registered firearms: 1.289 million in civilian hands, while close to 511,000 are government owned.

But this figure is eclipsed by the number of illicit firearms, which is estimated at almost 2 million.

While by group, registered civilian gun owners account for the most number of guns, they are responsible for the least number of gun-related incidents--in fact, too miniscule to count.

Licensed civilian gun owners did not forcibly occupy Marawi. They do not commit EJKs, nor do they moonlight as "grab riders", meaning armed riding-in-tandems who grab bags.

Licensed civilian gun owners do not compose the world's oldest rural insurgent army. Nor do they make up the thinning ranks of armed fanatics who have sworn allegiance to some Middle Eastern lunatic.

Rather, they are law-abiding citizens who own guns either for sport or self-protection. They who do not endanger other people's lives, but whose own lives are in danger.

This bill is for responsible gun owners like the small hardware owner in a street favored by armed riding-in-tandems.

The wife of an OFW who lives with her small children in an ungated village unpatrolled by the police.

The travelling countryside businessman, the rancher in a remote homestead.

The club member who has taken up shooting as a sport - like my father who was an Olympian and two brothers who were bemedaled members of the Philippine team.

It is for these people that I am voting YES to the bill in this report.