New gun law paves way for armed priests, journalists, and accountants in the Philippines!

Gone are the days, it seems, when priests walked around confident that a crucifix in hand and a rosary in their pockets sufficed to protect them from harm and “evil”. And then there is the now obsolete saying that “the pen is mightier than the sword”. Apparently “journalists” have now lost confidence in that notion, preferring instead to rely on a shiny heavy piece instead of wielding the pen to pack their might. And if you are an accountant? Well, it’s all good. Perhaps the nerdy stigma attached to accountants can be erased now that our bean counters can legally play cowboys and indians with their new toys while debiting and crediting our books.

Lo que Dámaso no lleva un arma?
Lo que Dámaso no lleva un arma?

So goes the rationale behind a new law reportedly signed by Philippine President and gun enthusiast Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III making the carrying of firearms legal for priests, journalists, accountants, and other people engaged in “dangerous” professions…

Under the Philippines’ Republic Act 10591, people working in these sectors — along with nurses, engineers, bank tellers, and lawyers — are considered “in imminent danger due to their profession” and will be allowed to carry small guns when outside their homes.

To qualify for a special firearms permit, people in these professions have to pass drug and psychiatric tests, and show they don’t have any criminal convictions or pending cases for crimes with punishments of more than two years in prison.

This relaxes the requirements of the previous gun law, the Republic Act 8294, under which they had to prove they were under “actual threat” of danger to carry a firearm.

And yes, but of course

The regulations could be good news for reporters in the Philippines, who live in one of the world’s deadliest countries for the media, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Some 74 journalists, mostly covering politics, have been murdered in the Philippines since 1992, the press freedom group says. In more than 70% of cases, the killers have gone unpunished.

According to the World Health Rankings website, violence ranks Number 7 in a list of the Philippines’ top causes of death making it one of Filipinos’ top lifestyle-related killers. Violence, after all, is a way of life in the Philippines. Filipinos kill one another for the smallest things — ask any foreigner living in the Philippines and it is likely that their greatest fear will be something involving getting shot in the back over offending the fragile ego of the corner tambay.

Not surprising, considering President BS Aquino is an avid gun enthusiast. BS Aquino once insisted on packing a piece despite his being under the constant protection of an elite squad of security men. If I were one of BS Aquino’s security guys, I’d feel really insulted. And insulting a Filipino (much more an armed one) really isn’t such a smart thing to do. You could end up with a bad case of lead poisoning in your back.

Indeed, as the Washington Post observes in the aftermath of that brazen SM Megamall armed robbery, the Philippines is more gun than fun

The proliferation of firearms — police estimate there are up to 1 million unregistered weapons — have fueled violence and insurgencies in the country for years despite calls from lawmakers and pressure groups for tighter gun control. A dysfunctional justice system with crowded jails and underpaid prosecutors and judges has produced a massive backlog where a criminal trial can stretch over six years or more.

The biggest irony surrounding this violent country is its utter lack of a strong martial tradition. Filipinos are not known for a proud tradition of victory in the battlefield. This is evident in the sad way the Philippines continues to depend on the United States, its former colonial master, to defend it from an increasingly aggressive China. Indeed, Filipinos maintain a pipsqueak military force — barely enough to fight even the most unprofessional of armed militias and bandits that roam its countryside with impunity. For a country that prides itself in having the pound-for-pound greatest boxer in the world as one of its own, it is a mouse where it matters. With millions of able-bodied Filipino men just wiling away their time on street corners drinking beer, the Philippines is a society of people begging for a clear purpose in their lives.

The new gun law signed by the country’s gunslinger-wannabe president is evidence that the Philippine government continues to utterly fail at one of its most basic mandates — to build a safe and just society that Filipinos could truly be proud of.

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40 Comments on “New gun law paves way for armed priests, journalists, and accountants in the Philippines!”

  1. My wife was driving home after dropping the kids to school on a 4 lane national road (2 lanes, opposite ways). The oncoming lane was jammed, but her lane was fairly flowing. She was on the inner lane and a bus was on the other lane at same speed. Being in the Philippines, motorcycles from the oncoming lane was counterflowing, occupying her lane. Most of them moved back to their lane as she was oncoming but one guy on motorcycle stood his ground, stopped and pulled out a gun aiming it at my wife who had no choice as she had no way of changing lanes because of the bus. She stopped on a dime, prompting angry blowing of horns and curses from the vehicles behind. Needless to say, she was traumatized. No traffic aides, no cops, no help if anything could have happened there. Now you tell me, Benign0, is it wrong for me to contemplate owning a gun, too?

    1. Jeez, that incident alone definitely proves that crime isn’t going down contrary to what the bald moron during his 2012 SONA said.

      1. The BS Aquino is one massive liar. As one of my colleagues at work said, if you want real security for your family, you better have your own security agency, aka private army because you will not be getting any from the government.

    2. hi joeld, owning a gun for yourself wouldn’t solve the problem if that gun playfully aimed at your wife that fateful day was fired. thank God nothing bad happened to her. let us celebrate life and fight for change. for the better.

  2. Annual Deaths by firearms – nationmaster

    US – 9,000

    Philippines – 7,700 and a rising trend ( 5th highest in the world)

    Zimbabwe – 600

    Australia – 59

    Germany – 46

    UK – 12

    The US gun lobby had an easy ally in pea shooter aquino and his side kick puno.

      1. \\I wonder how many from the 7,700 incidents are from registered guns and gun owners?\\

        that is a good point. you could ban all guns except for military and police tomorrow but you are still in danger of being shot since 1. the govt has no capacity to actually go after all the illegal guns under current law, much less if a law banning all guns is passed, and this is just for civilians, we’re not even talking about the terrorists and rebels 2. a few uniformed police military do shoot civilians, sometimes its a crime of anger/passion, sometimes the policeman/soldier has a sideline as a criminal

    1. USA has 250 million firearms and 311 million people but only 1300 more firearm deaths. Remove the gang related and it drops to the 1500 range. Considering the USA has the most liberal guns laws it is what you would expect, but at least ordinary citizens can defend themselves. Also if you look at the highest murder rates it is where the gun laws are the most strict.

    2. That number can actually be interpreted in several different ways, here is one way:
      USA has a Population of 316,148,900
      one can say that there is 1 death per 35127 people. Philippines meanwhile has a population of 98,985,000 so using the same logic there is roughly 1 death per 12855 people. So lets make it per 5 people. US has a 0.000142 deaths per 5 people, Philippines. has 0.000389 deaths per 5. In terms of percent Philippines have more deaths. Zimbabwe has 0.00022 deaths per 5 people, still greater than the US. Also those deaths do not take into account whether the firearms was used in self-defense or not. Also since you put UK there I should tell you UK has a higher rate of violent crime than the US; also in UK the people there are 8 times more likely to be victims of violent crimes.

      1. you need to compare apples with apples when comparing stats.

        uk is not 8x incidence of violent crime categories compared to us.

        1. As i thought, less violent crime in uk compared to us. And i have lived in both.

          Robbery:
          U.S. 2009 robbery rate: 133 per 100,000.
          U.K. 2009 robbery rate: 164 per 100,000.

          The burglary rates were far higher in the U.S.:
          U.S. 2009 burglary rate: 716.3 per 100,000
          U.K. 2009 burglary rate: 523 per 100,000.

          And in the U.S., you are nearly four times as likely to be murdered:
          U.S. 2009 murder rate : 5 per 100,000.
          U.K. 2009 murder rate : 1.49 per 100,000.

          Rape also higher in US :
          US 2009 rape rate : 88,000 (56 per 100,000)
          Uk 2009 rape rate : 14,000 ( 51 per 100,000)

          Shootings incidents in schools 2013 : US – 25 ( and another one today)
          Shooting incidents in schools 2013 : UK – zero ( last one in 1996)

  3. why just the priests, journalists and accountants anyway? why not all professionals? all of us can be at the wrong place and at the wrong time. with a poverty-stricken country, starving-gone-psycho banes of society may lurk anywhere, everywhere. and anyone, professional or not, may fall prey.

    with this new law, let us expect more people flaunting their guns when caught in heated and heavy traffic. i can bet on this i swear. psychiatric test? yeah right. with Napoles and tanda and sexy and pogi still enjoying their time outside jail, people can lose their temper so fast. expect more Jason Ivler cases in the future. expect more people to die so early.

    1. Creating specialised, protected groups IS one of the key problems of Filipino society. The Aquinos ushered in an exclusive oligarchic hegemony following the Marcos years and now we have some of the highest levels of economic inequality in the world. Persistent poverty is the breeding ground for the violence that we ALL live with every day as well as a host of other social dysfunctions. Not just those professions singled out by the new law. Yet instead of addressing that social exclusion as he promised during his campaign for the presidency, Penoy has just told all of us: “Bahala kayo! You can fend for yourself!”

      He could at least have done the courtesy of letting EVERYONE own a firearm. Chances are civilians will be more competent and professional gun owners than policemen in this country.

        1. An armed society is a polite society.
          Am fully aware that this is the clarion call of the morons in the gun lobby.
          Facts and experience are wasted on such idiots who rarely have experienced war, having to kill someone, and seem to still think and act like children in the playground.
          ‘gunfight at o.k. corral’. get it on big boy

        2. There are armed societies and then there are polite societies. Filipinos have demonstrated that they are NOT polite. Neither is Philippine society likely to become friendlier if people have more chances to perforate one another.

  4. i came here 5years ago with an aim of starting a trade school plus develop a unique auto shop making fibreglass bodies and sending them back to autralia,,,,but right now i am packing and returning to aust,,being robbed of all electrical goods as we slept,,told many times i was lucky i didnt wake up,,,,this incident was the last straw of many letdowns here ,,the experience should make great reading soon on my website,,,

  5. Maybe some of these priests can use the barrel of a gun to threaten their boy toys. But on another note, arming priests with firearms is an affront to that supernatural being they serve.

    1. The man of the cloth is now the man with the gun. Better to confess your sins with lead.

      In all seriousness, out of all professions, why should priests be permitted to carry arms? I don’t remember violence towards the clergy to be as worse as journalists. Plus, take a look at their entourage. They’re as well protected as VIP dignitaries at times. Is this another concession given towards the Philippine Catholic Church to grant them their “omnipotent blessing” in case what’s left of real legitimacy from them becomes nonexistent?

  6. The Philippines is the only country with pistol packing priests. I will never be attending Masses; if I will see the Priest, having a gun.

    Aquino is a coward. He pack guns, but is afraid , if the other fellow has a gun, and can shoot back. This is proven, in the Luneta massacre incident. He was nowhere to be found.

    We are the Wild Wild West country in the Far East. We should add in the Job Opportunities in the Dept. of Labor.

    “Wanted , experienced Gunslinger. Good in fast draws. Can work without job insurance (accidental death , from being shot). Must keep the peace. Must be good in rounding out, or shooting the Bad Guys…”

    How does this sound?

  7. The philippines is seeing some disturbing trends, be it increase in guns, drug cartels establishing the country as the asian hub, and the philippines now one of the global centres for child sex cyberdens.

    As the pnoy administration spend all their time on grabbing power, persecuting enemies, and of course feathering their own nests, they are neglecting the very fabric of society and allowing it to slip into a malaise which will soon require radical solutions, or serious unrest, and a domino effect on investment, tourism etc.

    Cleary pnoy aquino does not care or have any ideas. The problem is neither it seems does any other politician.

    as asean neighbours move up the social scale, the philippines remains an island mentality with heathen values.

  8. Philippine society spiraling out of control. Utter chaos everywhere. Electing an inept leader with no worthwhile cause to run a country.

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