By UCA News
A global peace network called on the Philippines to take advantage of martial law in Mindanao “to get rid of illegal guns” and reduce the possibility of them being recycled.
Ed Quitoriano, consultant of the non-government group International Alert, proposed that the government “kick-start the nationwide capture, inventory, and immediate destruction of illegal guns” in Mindanao.
“Martial law presents a unique window of opportunity,” said Quitoriano in Manila on Aug. 9.
Francisco Lara Jr., country manager of International Alert, said the “time is ripe” for President Rodrigo Duterte to follow-through with his promise to eliminate loose guns.
“The Philippine government needs to create a bulletproof plan to strengthen gun policy and institute a gun management mechanism that will empower state authorities to seize, properly store, and obliterate illegal weapons,” said Lara.
International Alert said that in 2014, Filipinos owned an estimated 3.9 million firearms, some 2.1 million of which were illegal, while the police and the military possess less than a million guns.
“State forces are clearly outgunned,” said Quitoriano. “The sheer number of illicit weapons poses a serious challenge to the government’s monopoly of the use of force to protect its citizens,” he added.