Director General Ricardo Marquez, newly installed chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), has ordered the decentralization of the firearms licensing process to ease the burden of gun owners during registration and renewal of licenses.
The move was a sigh of relief not only for the more than 1.5 million gun owners across the country but likewise for the firearms industry which has incurred some 90 percent drop in sales since a previous PNP directive designated Camp Crame in Quezon City as the only place where gun owners could register and renew firearms licenses.
Joy Gutierrez-Jose, president of he Association of Firearms and Ammunition Dealers of the Philippines, Inc. (AFAD), said the order of Marquez is a welcome development for both the gun owners and firearms industry as it promises to make the entire process of gun registration less tedious.
It was recalled that several organizations complained against the previous set up which required them to renew their firearms license only at the PNP FEO (Fireams and Explosives Officer) Headquarters at Camp Crame, Quezon City that entailed big sacrifice for gun owners, particularly those from far-flung areas.
“The challenges brought about by implementing a new Firearms law is another concern requiring serious consideration. It has obviously caused untold sufferings on the part of licensed gun holders. While the provisions of the law are indeed harsh, we can bring licensing and registration activities closer to their doorsteps,” said Marquez in his speech last week.
“I therefore order the Directorate for Operations and FEO-CSG (PNP Firearms and Explosives Office – Civil Security Group) to develop a comprehensive plan to decentralize these activities to the Regional Centers and major urban areas as provided for by law. Also, I am earnestly requesting the National Police Commission for the immediate approval of our recommendation to set up Regional Offices in preparation for decentralization,” he added.
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