Gun Crazy Philippines

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ August 25th, 2010. Updated on March 21st, 2013. Published in: Travel blog » Discover World Culture » Philippines.
Pistol firing in The Philippines

Another nation obsessed with guns

Guns in The Philippines are everywhere

I am not sure if the average tourist picks up on the fact that guns are everywhere in The Philippines. From the police, to the private security man on down to the general public. In the Philippines you have the right to bear arms.

Sadly on Monday August 23rd a bus filled with tourists in the capital Manila, got to experience this first hand. And, the results ended in a shooting bloodbath.

Manila kidnapping & shooting

The media has covered this story in its entirety (news source wiki source) so I won’t repeat it in detail. The outline of what happened as of today is that an ex policeman, dismissed over allegations of corruption boarded a tourist bus in Manila. He took over and posted signs on the front of the bus asking for a review of his case.

He released hostages throughout the day as his demands were met. Then, his brother, also an active policeman showed up. Somehow the brother managed to make his way to the bus. Police on duty arrested him. This seemed to have set the hostage taker off, and he opened fire, shooting at police and the tourists.

Manila bloodbath

What transpired over the next hour was shocking & horrifying on many levels. The elite police force took a sledge-hammer to the bus and tried to gain entry. Gunshots sounded from inside.  The police hammered on the windows and at the door. Nothing gave in. The gun man continued shooting.

People all around me said the same thing. What on earth are they doing? Even if they did break the windows, they would need a six-foot ladder to get in. They did not have one.

A box of bullets

At 5-7 pesos a bullet, its not so expensive to take a life in The Philippines

One hour later, and much more shooting later. The kidnapper’s body fell from the door; a bullet in his head. A sniper I would presume.

8 tourists were killed.

Filipinos obsession with weapons

Many nations feel it is there right to bear arms. The U.S.A. is one of them. And, every month we hear of the consequences as someone goes berserk, or methodically goes on a killing spree.

In the Philippines it’s relatively expensive to legally own a gun. A handgun may set you back 35,000 pesos. A license another 14,000 per year. And, a license to transport firearms another 10,000.

How this is all enforced, is another matter.

Deadly weapons in the hands of unskilled professionals

I recently visited a shooting range here. A very popular place it would seem. Men, women, and teenagers were all involved in training courses for shooting handguns. Target practice, and defence being the objectives.

Sitting there and watching gung-ho men open up gun cases, then clicking away was off-putting. Then, to see an overweight middle-aged woman pull a .45 out of her handbag was very off-putting. Worse still was her inability to control the weapon.

Perhaps the saddest sight was a young teenage boy being brought there by his parents with a shiny new, and deadly toy.

The army officer who never had arms training

Perhaps the worst thing of the day I heard was from an army officer who joined basic firearms training.

“This is the first time anyone ever showed me how to shoot properly”

That to me, is scary. An army officer who was never shown how to shoot a weapon properly.

Where the professionals come to learn

Louder gun shots, and blasts sounded further down the field. Both uniformed and non uniformed professionals were practicing with shotguns and assault rifles.

Security guards gun

No training, and little skill other than watching TV: everyone can own one

Yes, this was indeed a place you could bring anything, and fire away. Possibly, for the first time.

Big smiles, bigger guns

In the Philippines the bigger your gun, the bigger your smile. This is lone ranger territory, and a tinder box waiting to go off.

As wealth increases within the nation, so too does the ability to buy these weapons.

Here is a place where giant plastic toy guns are seen pridefully in the hands of children. Some 15 years later the plastic changes to metal but the smiles remain the same.

Unskilled, and deadly ideas

I have no problem with someone wanting to own a gun. I do have a problem with the way it is administrated. Money talks here, and anyone can buy a license. And, for that matter a gun.

Just walk into a regular shopping mall and you will find at least one store openly displaying weapons like it were a toy shop or candy store.

Look at the security guard with his old rusty revolver. The person probably has never even fired it. Let alone had training in its usage. But still, he has one.

Untold deaths on the rise

I started this article writing about the events earlier in the week. A former police officer with an assault rifle killing tourists. What went under the news radar that day is earlier a Korean pastor had been shot and killed by an armed gang also in The Philippines.

Death by gunshot is increasing in The Philippines on a weekly level.

In a country known for the violent deaths of more journalists than anywhere else on earth, it is continuing to spiral down a dark tunnel.

Events this week seem to indicate, it’s only going to get worse.

Learn from others, don’t replicate the same thing

We as people learn from our mistakes. Or, at least we should. Why then can nations not do the same?

Why can a nation not look at the problems occurring in another country and try to prevent it from happening in their own?

The right to bear arms has its merits, but look at the mistakes other countries have made in implementing this. Look at this and make a difference. Is this such an impossibility?

Update: 

I just came across this BBC news video about The Philippines firearms industry certainly worth a watch.


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Speak your mind, all opinions welcome - leave a comment below

61 Great responses to Gun Crazy Philippines

  1. Trixie says:

    Very sad and tragic, story. Even more concerning was the attempt made to “storm” the bus? Good time to take some lessons from the Israeli Mossad. Thankfully the sniper knew what he was doing, just too bad so many lives were lost in the process.

  2. ayngelina says:

    The Philippines was the first country I traveled to that had a gun culture and it was really scary in the beginning as I had never seen a hand gun. on anyone other than a police officer.

    I eventually got used to it but I’m not sure if that’s a good thing

  3. Cam says:

    Interesting post. I’m not a big fan of guns. The recent events in the Philippines are terrible.

  4. Milt says:

    Scary Stuff,
    This week I’m supposed to be buying a plane ticket to Manila, landing in mid September, I’ve lived in Thailand for years and there is a slight wild west culture here, but as my first time visiting the Philippines I’m a little unsure with this recent news.

    • I wouldn’t worry too much about coming to the Philippines. It’s not Thailand for sure. Not as touristy by a long way. Tourists are generally not targeted here. Like any place, so long as you are sensible, you’ll be fine.

      The tourist bus incident could, as they say, “have happened anywhere in the world”. But, the handling of it was disastrous to say the least.

  5. Ivy says:

    “Why can a nation not look at the problems occurring in another country and try to prevent if from happening in their own?” Very good question and the answer is very simple … Because some human beings never learn from their mistakes. They have to do it over and over and over again … ;)

  6. David says:

    In the end, I’ll be devils advocate ;) and say, that for this article to have any meaning beyond an opinion piece, you’d have to relate some crime statistics. Is violent, gun related crime comparibly higher in countries like the Philippines/USA than other (comparable) countries with very restrictive legislation?

    I don’t know the answer, just asking…

    • It’s a good point David. Sadly, statistics in The Philippines are not so easy to come by. I had a hard enough time finding data on earnings here. As for firearms, there’s a whole set of articles about this that might explain a bit more about the firearm problem

        here

    • bob says:

      7,700+ gun-related in latest UN stats for the philippines second only to the USA and 3 times that of mexico. something must be done!

  7. Marnie Alvez says:

    It is really unbelievable how guns are casually sold here in the Philippines. Much worse is the high probability that the normal looking person sitting beside you on the bus or walking alongside you in a shopping mall, mind you, is indeed carrying a deadly weapon. Let me mention a personal experience.. I was in Megamall, a huge shopping center in Metro Manila, a few years back. We checked the upper floors, where the trade center area was, for any interesting exhibits or trade fairs. My friend and I were curious to see a long queue by the entrance of one of the trade fairs. Lo and behold, it happened to be the GUNS AND AMMUNITION trade fair which was held yearly and the queue was for visitors to SURRENDER any guns they have.. My jaw just dropped upon realizing that these normal looking civilian-clad men got weapons kept on their waists or bags??!!! And after checking out the trade fair and getting their guns back, they would just be walking inside the mall as usual??!! I know that it’s legal to own a gun if you have the license for it but to actually see normal-looking people own a gun and bring it with them in a mall where families, elders, students would hang out happily still made me uncomfortable..

    Just like any Filipino, anywhere in the world, who have witnessed the hostage taking which happened 2 days ago, I too felt sad and embarrassed with how poorly the situation was handled.. and how incompetent the police force was.. Let those who have died be remembered always so mistakes would be prevented in the future and improvements be given top priority..

    • Insightful experience Marnie. So much for all that mall security! Then again, the security at malls is perhaps more worrying than those coming into the mall with guns. Poke a bag here, and pat a hip there. Not so good.

      But why so many everyday people have to carry handguns here is beyond me.

      I too hope that what happened stands to be remembered, and acted upon. Something went very wrong on that day. The key is to fix it, and stop it from happening again. From all sides.

  8. Three instances of “bare” that should have been “bear”, and the oversight of not pointing out the obvious strong link to American culture in Manila, reduced the quality of this otherwise thoughtful opinion piece to the status of amateur blog posturing.

    It’s common sense that public citizens of the world should never be allowed to own or carry guns. Having said that, I wonder if the gunman chose a tourist bus because he knew no local would be ready with a sidearm to end his intentions prematurely?

    • Thank you for pointing out my spelling mistakes, I will correct them. That’s my dyslexia showing through, there will always be spelling and grammatical mistakes on this blog. There’s no reference to the U.S.A’s influence as there are many other influences that dictate the right to bear arms here. Some of which can be related to the current problems in Mindanao, private armies, and overseas involvement. Here is an article on some of the

      There were also Filipinos on board the bus in Manila. The hostage taker was intelligent and had a wealth of experience. Taking a tourist bus in downtown Manila was a guarantee that he would get maximum exposure. He came in knowing the consequences of all the actions that would unfold that day.

  9. Peter Henning says:

    Great Article! Terrrible event. I watched it on tv. I don’t like countries where guns are easily available. But, being an ex police officer I think restricting public access to guns would have made no difference.

    The problem, from where I was sitting, was how the police took charge. It was amateurish to say the very least. This alone would make me think twice about going to The Philippines.

    • Yes I do think this was a one of, could happen anywhere, type of event regarding the shooting. And, yes I also think the police were at fault for the way the situation was handled. I hope it does not get forgotten about like so many other things!

  10. Earl says:

    I’ve never been a big fan of guns although I have spent a good deal of time in many countries that have a strong gun culture. It just seems that the downward spiral you mention, and which is present in many other places, is unstoppable. For every gun that is purchased, another gun is then purchased by someone else who now feels the need to protect themselves against the first gun, and on and on.

    And when that type of pattern begins, the results are unfortunately more incidents such as the one mentioned in your post.

  11. ciki says:

    that’s gawd awful. I did not know that Phil. as bad as the USA. thank God in Msia guns are illegal!

  12. Janet says:

    this was really scary for me to see especially knowing that happened only 30 min walk away from where i’m based in Manila!! definitely a reminder of how unsafe the Philippines can be..

  13. bob says:

    The ignorance in the reporting of this story is so profound. let me help you all with a few facts, with this officer. He was a very highly decorated officer,very distingished service, just short of his retirement. he went before the athorities several times, to either get reinstated, or get his retirement. His father was a cop, his brother was a cop,etc. this officer was forced to become desperate, because it was all he knew,he has a family/children to support, and the shame brought on his family. when his brother got to him, he told him, to request his application to be reviewed again. However, the athorities arrested his brother, WHICH THE OFFICER SAW, WHICH REALLY MADE HIM ANGRY. he told them to release his brother, or he would have to start killing the chinese tourists, to be heard. The authorities refused, he shot 8 tourists. Just to think this could of all been AVOIDED if they gave him his retirement!!!! Of course people there carry guns, it is one of their last recourses with a government which is ranked either #2 or #3 in corruption. There is no justice, unless you have money there, and the prejudice is very profound. Just look at there mcdonlads they only hire 18 -24 year old GIRLS. (yes u better be pretty.) that is just a start. I love the philippines, and people. Yet, i have had tetanus, and surrounded by 20+ armed men with m-16′s in the middle of the night. Which i had to get away from. To me the philippines is asia, COMBINED with the wild west. YEEHAW.

    • This comment hints at being a personal crusade so I will say little. It’s been well publicized in the media about this former officer, and why he did what he did. It’s also been admitted that this rescue operation was a complete disaster. Whether the hostage taker was provoked or not, the matter remains that this was handled very badly, and it cost lives.

      The reason why people in The Philippines carry guns is because the law says it’s their right. “Why” they carry them is another matter. The Philippines is far, far from being the wild west. Carrying a gun does not make you a gun slinger.

      Specific parts of your comment, and ending your comment with “YEEHAW” is very indicative of the mentality that is bringing The Philippines down today.

    • ncr says:

      i’m a filipino, and i have to say bob’s comment is an accurate observation of my country. the philippines like any other country, has it’s flaws. but what happened was not an everyday occurence. tragically people, both chinese and filipino, died as a result of mishandling of a hostage crisis, and those involved where properly investigated and recommended to be held accountable for their actions.

      ownership of a gun is not a right but a priviledge in my country, but we have filipino gun enthusiast who are responsible owners of firearms. but most of us don’t need to own a gun or carry one. the people seen carrying sidearms inside a mall during a gun show is either a cop or law enforcer or military in civilian clothing. but some tourist don’t know that.

      the philippines is still a good tourist destination, hopefully people visit and see the real situation there.

      • The Manila hostage situation is well covered in the media http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manila_hostage_crisis . People can draw there own conclusions to the results, which in my estimation have only concluded that there were mistakes made. Since then, I’ve heard little of what’s been done to prevent this from happening again from a bureaucratic standpoint.

        I’ve also commented numerous times about the right for a person to own arms in The Philippines. Perhaps it’s a simple language issue, though I doubt it.

        If you go to other parts of South East Asia you will not see the level of armed guards and weapon holding individuals that you do in The Philippines. You will see high security in parts of the UK and USA, which have there own issues. But, one certainly gets the feeling they are a lot better trained. In many Philippine cities Watching a bunch of private security guards stop a locally made armored car in the street, pile out with assault rifles and block the road as a man in a briefcase walks into jollibee is not exactly reassuring to a tourist, nor local.

        As Marnie pointed out, watching people unload weapons into storage in a mall is like watching a gun show. And no, they are not all involved in public security.

        Is the Philippines a good tourist destination, yes.

  14. Is someone going to mercilessly sledge “Bob” (the man with all the facts – including the one about Chinese tourists), or do I have to do it?

  15. Alex says:

    There is no such thing in the philippines as the right to bear arms. It is a privilage to carry firearms. There are hoops to jump through to get a gun and many more to be able to carry it as a civilian….legally.

    Illegally you can buy a gun quite easily from what I have heard (never done it myself).

    For me, as long as you are sensible and not stupid, I dont need a gun.

    • The right to bare arms alludes to the right for a citizen of the Philippines to own a firearm, which they are.

      There are sadly not so many sensible people out there. And, far too many ways someone can buy a gun illegally. This is the rising danger in The Philippines.

      • Alex says:

        I am a Filipino (well half) and our president said earlier this year when discussing the police proposal to make it harder to buy a gun that:

        “It (firearms possession) is not a right under our law. It’s a privilege. There are certain conditions you have to meet to be granted a (gun) license and there is some looseness in the implementation of the rules”

        The Americans when giving the country independence did not put the right to bear arms in the constitution. Its a common misconception that it is a right.

        Dont make trouble (especially at night) and its a really lovely country with kind people, lovely landscape and a great night life. (I am a university student in the UK so when I go to the Philippines I have a lot of fun, for a small amount of money).

        • This is political speak. The fact is a Filipino or anyone legally living there has the right to own firearms in The Philippines. A legal right.

        • rahj says:

          Yes you’re right, it’s not in the philippine constitution the right to bear arms. But the philippine has more right with regards to anything you want. The three most important rights in the philippine constitution which states every citizens has the right to life, liberty and property. Wherein gun belongs to a property right. Yes! Supreme Court already ruled out that, every property in the state is subject to regulations but truthly it can’t be taken away. It just only needs you to be 21 or older to envoke the right to own a gun which is a property right!

  16. John says:

    I’ve been robbed in the streets of Manila(mob of kids),search at airport by police then was ask if you would like to buy my badge(officer).Gun to my head in a hotel in Cebu,my companions were robbed $4000 us,the hotel pretended nothing has happen.

    At a farm house in the jungle a farmer runs in and said there’s a kinnaper outside on a motorbike waiting for you,I said to the farmer what sort of gun he has he said 38,well get me one the farmer was shocked he said we dont have guns,I said wake me up when he comes to the door.The police wouldnt come they did ask what was his no. plate of his motor cycle(boneheads).When the sun came up the police arrested the man whom was a drug addicted.Yet the police try to blame the local NPA(rebels)I dismiss that totally it was a inside job,police,army and a drug addicted goes well.

    I shit myself when the NPA turn up to the farm house,they said Iam a the good australian,they put their guns down and talked about the world,interesting they were no threat!A week later they were all dead fighting the Army,yet they are fighting corruption.

    Talking is the best method of survival,common sense dont panic.

    Of all these above and how I overcame fear is a step on a brown snake in my garage at home a very poisionous snake!

    My best advice for anyone walking in the streets of Manila,dont walk to close to the kerb as your arm my get the chop(dont wear jewels).Foot bridges if you see a gang turn the other way fast get a cab,people been stab for a mobile phone.

    Last thing I got nothing agaisnt the pinoys,I love them!Corruption is in every countries in different ways.

  17. Bart13 says:

    this country is really dangerous for both tourist and filipinos. criminals here are protected by politicians, military and police. if one will dig deep; a criminal always belong to some powerful person. and when it comes to safety, i am sad to say we cant trust our gov’t.

    i am a firm believer that if everybody has guns, crime will be at its low. i saw this when a was a child before the martial laws days. when martial law started, criminals started getting braver and braver bec. they know people don’t have guns anymore.

    have you seen a house here with guns being robbed?

    another reason why we don’t trust our gov’t is our laws. criminals has more rights. our laws are designed to protect criminals than civilians. we filipinos are literally slaves in our own country.

    inspite of the wide spread crime, has anyone seen any gov’t official explain to its people the right to defend ourselves?

    many good filipinos are willing to fight criminality. but why do we seem that we don’t care? it is bec. we are not idiots. we know that our gov’t is not on our side. just look at the victims!

    lastly, do you know that even religious organizations here have private armies and assasins? and they are the most protected by the gov’t! THEY ARE LITERALLY ABOVE THE LAW! everybody knows it but nobody dares talk about it.

    the law here is simple. never cross their paths and you will be fine. never buy expensive things bec. these are invitations. and if you can afford it, leave the country at once. if you have a beautiful daughter, leave at once also. you might not forgive yourself if you become a Visconde Part 2.

    this country is one big syndicate.

  18. joel says:

    in any places.always remember accedent happens all the time.

  19. cholo says:

    Philippines is still the place to be. Hearing and not experiencing is a lot of non sense. In a crowded place of Manila is a no go zone, if you go to the right places you will find Filipinos are kind, polite and hospitable. Every country has a no go zone ( which I traveled most other countries ) I was in Iraq in 1981 and kids got AK47. In Syria women got long arms underneath their clothing. In Greece you could be killed silently and vanished without a trace, etc, etc. Don’t judge it as everyone is a killer or a mobster. I heard a lot about Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia etc. I went there and it is so beautiful, but the only thing don’t encourage them by displaying that you got, so much jewelry, cameras ( 1 is okay ) wallet in the back pocket. Enjoy your every trip. ^_^

  20. Ron says:

    Guns should be more prevalent in all countries. Take a look at the murderous Muslims in the Philippines and you can understand why those that can afford guns buy them.

    All one has to do is do a simple YouTube search and see the peaceful Muslims, MILF and other separatist rebels killing innocent people in the Philippines.

    If more normal people there could posses guns there would be less innocent people dying and more of these murderers.

    • I was hesitant to approve your comment. Views are views even if you don’t agree with them. There is a very small contingent of violent people in The Philippines, that make a lot of trouble for many more. And, it should be noted that not all come from the same religion.

      Your thoughts on arming everyday people equaling less murders is akin to the arms race from the 60′s. I have gun you have gun. I have Ak-47. You have grenade. I have rocket launcher. You have bomber. I have nuclear bomb. We are all dead. Not the brightest idea in the world, and one that’s been proven wrong countless times.

      • Ron says:

        Yes, there are a small contingent of violent people in the Philippines, but saying arming everyday people is like the arms race of the 60′s will cause more trouble is not well thought out. You said, and I agree, “there are a small contingent of violent people in the Philippines.” That being the case, arming the majority of non-violent, good people would give thought to the rebels about kidnapping and randomly killing innocent people, because they will know there is more weapons aimed at them.

        The old false contention that more guns equals more violence is like saying more writing instruments cause more misspelled words. Its the user,not the instruments i.e., guns in this case. Did the fork make Rosie O’donnell fat? Of course not.
        Another analogy is like the neighborhood bully, if you continue to let him beat you up, he will continue to beat you up. Same with evil people in the world. Break their will to fight and you win. MILF and other factions in the Philippines have not had their will broken yet.

        More good people will do evil things out of fear of death from MILF and others. More people will join or support MILF out of fear for their lives. Either way, they will die. They are not and will not live the life they want because of evil people.

        One sad thing about war is innocent people die; that is just a fact. All one has to do is look at villages MILF have attacked randomly and see good, innocent people dead. Lets look at Hitler. He was ruthless -like the MILF. Many innocent people had to die to stop him, but he was stopped, totally. There is no more threat from the Third Reich. I could go on and name others, but you get the point.

        I’ll close with this quote from Edmund Burke:

        All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

        • Ron,

          I agree with a lot of what you just wrote. However there is no way one can compare the MILF to Hitler nor the Nazi’s. Completely different motives, ideals, and mentality.

          The truth of the matter is arming “the people” is simply asking for trouble. Crime, stupidity, and even more violence will and is occurring.

          What’s more, there’s a lot more to violence in the MILF areas than just that group. There are many groups that are committing terrible acts crime and violence every week in Mindanao that are not being reported. But again, they are still a tiny majority compared to the very many peaceful Filipinos in that region.

          Like it or not, a lot of this violence boils down to corruption, irregularities within the governing systems. Mafia like gangs with ties to very high members of authority and so the list goes on.

          The resources are what people are fighting for here. Notice how in election year the region was strife with electrical power cuts. Then this year, none.

          There’s a lot of problems in this region beyond MILF. And, I’m not saying they have nothing to do with it. But arming everyday people to combat this will only lead to vigilante terrorism and crime. Educate people first, and peace will follow.

          So to paraphrase Burke: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing; so educate them to know what’s wrong.

  21. Ron says:

    Hi Again,

    I was stating the MILF is like Hitler per sa. They, like Hitler grave power, blood and money.
    You state there are more factions in the Philippines other than MILF, but Abu Sayyaf and supporters are the most ruthless, I guess I didn’t state that emphatically enough.

    Education is the first step towards freedom and peace, but one must and should pick up arms to defend themselves when there is no other means. I am sure you know most Filipinos are peaceful people and don’t want to fight, but the longer they wait the more powerful the enemy gets.
    Myself and others believe even if MILF and the like get total control of Mindanao their quest for power, blood and money will not end.

    I guess we will disagree on the merits of self defense.

    Have a good day,

    Ron

    • Hi Ron,

      Hitler really was a different kettle of fish.

      But yes, there are ruthless and unjust elements in many terrorist factions. I certainly don’t support any terrorist organisation, nor any violent methods they should use.

      And, yes. We will have to agree to disagree on the merits of self defense.

      Someone else just commented a startling statistic “7,700+ gun-related in latest UN stats for the philippines second only to the USA and 3 times that of mexico.”

      That to me says a lot.

      I certainly wish you the best, and I hope for peace without the need for more violence.

  22. pinoy_ako says:

    It is very obvious that there is a very big misunderstanding on the so called “Gun Culture” in the Philippines but little is discussed on the why’s? and history of a particular place. Just to make you guys think from the perspective of the locals especially if you were not born here or just staying over due to work or for a vacation.

    History:
    The Philippines has been occupied through it’s history by Spain for more than 300 years, then for a short time by the British, then the Americans then the Japanese then Martial Law was declared by a Dictator for 20 years and during this period the Philippines had to fight of TWO insurgencies conducted by the National Democratic Front and it’s armed wing the New Peoples Army. The Other by the Secessionist movement of the Muslim south under the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)when a peace treaty in the 90′s was signed with them another group came in. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, then Afghan veterans who returned started the radical Abu Sayaff Group. To date these insurgencies STILL exists. Hence, the Philippines is the ONLY Country in the world fighting off TWO insurgencies for the past 40 or more years.

    FACTS:

    The Phil Armed Forces is less than 250,000 personnel, the Phil National police is about 150,000 personnel (30% still unarmed). The population of the Philippines is about 90 million covering 7,700 islands.

    Check the news and most often Police or Military personnel are involved in illegal activities ranging from car jacking, drugs, kidnapping etc etc.. even abuse of power and harassment of the lowly civilian.

    Statistics have also shown that crime committed by licensed firearms are miniscule.

    In the 90′s there were several high profile cases of crimes committed in well secured gated housing communities for affluent families.

    Now if you have lived here for most of your life and have seen how crimes seem to be unabated what would you do?

    I am Martial Artist with a black belt degree, I am familiar also on how to use traditional weapons like the baton, nunchucks, arnis sticks, balisong and other knives and yes I am a gun holder and proficient in the use of 9mm, .45acp, 40sw,.357 magnum, 12ga shotguns and m16. My family lives in a gated and guarded housing community and our house is guarded by a Rottweiler.

    Do I carry my gun outside of the house? Yes in the late 90′s when I traveled a lot.

    Now, with regards to what happened to the Tourists. It was a very sad incident that has brought shame to my Country more so with how our incompetent Law enforcers handled it.

    Now as I said earlier on the facts… who committed the crime vs the Tourists?…. Who Bungled the rescue?

    Can you blame the Citizens for taking responsibility for their own security???

    So lets take a peek on the Norway shooting, Columbine,Virgina Tech, Fort Hood.. etc for starters..

    I used to tell my Singaporean friends in the late 90′s, that the Phil Armed Forces maybe poorly equipped but I won’t be surprised if the civilian population is better armed..

  23. Bob B. says:

    If you don’t let your average person carry a gun or have possession of a firearm then only the bad guys will have guns.If trouble happens then at least the innocent people will have a fighting chance. It does not get any simpler than that. Bad guys will always have guns, always.

  24. John says:

    I was a Filipino and now resides in the US. And thank goodness US has an RKBA in their constitution.

    My family and I would have been long time dead if not through RKBA. Armed men thrusted my front door for no apparent reason at all. The police report told me that it is a gang initiation and the more they could kill, the higher their ranks would be. Unfortunately, the home they tried to trash was a strong supporter of guns and they did not stand a chance against me, my wife and my daughter who are all practicing our rights to defend ourselves.

    I hate to kill someone but if the time has come to defend myself and my family, then I choose to use force even it is deadly just to defend my beloved family.

    Imagine if I have to call 911 and wait for the police or sheriff? All they need to do is measure us and put as a statictics. I would rather be alive rather than 6 feet under. This is the wonder of an individual that can defend themselves.

    Now about the Grand Stand incident, that is ill-fated and I wish that did not happened. I am sorry for those who lost their lived and my sympathy goes to their families who were left behind.

    This is my question to the author: Would you rather be dead or would you rather be a person who would have tried your chance to defend?

    Please bear in mind that war is not won through talks. It is won through battle and blood of the defenders. Even Philippines had to shed blood against the Spaniards and Japanese for them to get their indepedence and thanks to guns.

    This message would not satisfy your opinion and I am definitely and absolutely sure that it would not change your point of view. But for my own opinion, I would like to live and defend.

    • “This is my question to the author: Would you rather be dead or would you rather be a person who would have tried your chance to defend?”

      I will of course choose to defend myself. And I’d start by suggesting those that are ill qualified to use firearms be removed of them.

  25. James says:

    I may have to disagree with your intro. statement. Unlike the U.S., there is no law that recognizes the freedom to bear arms in the Philippines. Hence, the ownership of firearms in the Philippines is not technically considered as “the freedom to bear arms.” Either you acquire a license to own a firearm, which is more of a matter of privilege, than a matter or right, because this can be revoked under certain circumstances as provided by law…or you may choose to own a firearm illegally. In the latter case, you run the risk of criminal prosecution if caught by the police….and, BTW, there are honest cops in the Philippines. Now, ownership of a firearm is one issue, while carrying it around you is another. The law requires a qualified civilian a special permit, the PTCFOR (Permit To Carry Firearm Outside Residence). Holding this kind of special permit does not necessarily allow the person to bring his firearm to anywhere he wishes…There are certain places where he cannot take them with him, and if apprehended, while violating the rules governing PTCFOR, he may get his permit revoked.

    • Correct, legally in the Philippines no such right to bare arms exists; however, with the right rationale and requirements, you can, but just not as freely as in the U.S. where this term/right is popularized.

      The brittle truth behind the law vs reality is that many “security personal” have been “trained” and given licenses to carry firearms. Yet from my personal experience alone many could not even clean an aging revolver properly. Let alone use it without quaking. I’m sure they’re qualified though.

      Likewise at a shooting range. Yes one needs the appropriate permit/license to carry a firearm outside of a residence. Strangely the people I talked too again didn’t think it necessary as they were “just” going to the shooting range and then going home. Once that is they finished watching the local police in attendance involved in some assault rifle target practice. I’m sure they were off duty though.

      And yes I’m sure there are some very honest police in The Philippines.

      In practice the law is there however the reality on the ground often shows a different world.

  26. Travis says:

    The problem with crazy people shooting up buses and schools and churches isn’t the fact that guns exist … the problem is that some people are CRAZY and want to shoot up buses and schools and churches. If someone is crazy and wants to do that, no law is going to stop them. They’ll find a gun, one way or another, and do it anyway. It happens all the time in places like Europe where guns are illegal for citizens to own. They get the guns anyway.

    And when they do … there’s only ONE solution to the problem … and that’s a sane person with a GUN, a law abiding citizen, possibly some sort of police but not necessarily. If any other person on that bus had a gun and knew how to use it, they could have ended that massacre before 8 innocent people were killed.

    In fact, here in the U.S. there are many instances of an armed crazy person who tries to shoot up some place who is stopped, not by police, but by other armed citizens. How can this be? Because the problem isn’t the gun. A gun is just a tool. The problem is that there are crazy people. The solution is to allow the sane people to adequately defend themselves against the crazies.

  27. John says:

    I agree the lack of training and firearm safety displayed by these people is frightening. I was in the philipines at the manila international airport, and a guy had a suitcase with a loaded handgun in it, and accidentally dropped the suitcase and the gun went off in the suitcase and shot into the roof and grazed his leg. Luckily nobody was hurt. I am not an anti-gun person but I do believe that people should be responsible gun owners.

  28. Jurgen says:

    So I have been browsing this blog of yours, I respect you opinion as everyone has the right to have one.

    First I would like to know where I can get the ammo for just 5-7 pesos, those are probably cheap reloads that wont always go boom. or they are for .22LR. Now Ammo usually costs around 20-30PHP for majority of handgun calibers and about 40-60PHP for self defense rounds, some going for up to 180PHP

    The Permit to carry costs about 5000PHP if you do it yourself and about 9000PHP is you do it through a gun shop.
    Permit to transport is less than 500PHP or 1k if you do it through a gun shop. Difference is with a PTT you can only bring your gun to the range, unloaded.

    We pinoys do not have the “right” but the privilege to bear arms. But you are correct it is very easy to get one. I do not really agree with the requirements since it is basically just money. But I do believe that there is nothing wrong with owning guns if you are responsible.

    I also agree with people in law enforcement and security not knowing how to use their guns. A civilian with guns would probably have more knowledge on how to use guns than law enforcement or security personnel. Shooting costs money, most SGs and LEOs cannot afford to shoot too much

    I just want to point out that of all gun related crime, less than 1% is done with a licensed weapon. Most gun owners are responsible enough and honestly hope that the “need” to use it will never come.

    As with any country, there are areas to be avoided, if you stay in the major cities and major tourist spots you should be safe, avoid the slums and ask a trustworthy local about places to avoid.

    Seeing someone with a big gun they cannot control is scary but in the range it is safer and they are probably there to practice, you say there is a shortage of training but complain when they train and practice. In major ranges range officers will guide people they notice are noobs, if they do not seem to know what they are doing the RO will stay behind them to make sure the 4 safety rules are observed. At least that is how it is where I shoot.

    • Nat says:

      I have been waiting for someone to say what you just said.
      Plus it does not mean you see a person “conceal carrying” a firearm that person will shoot or do you harm does it.

      Bottom line:

      “bad guys with guns can only be stopped by good guys with guns”

      Gun control is not synonimous to crime control.

  29. alwe17 says:

    hi, i’m from the Philippines, what you had mentioned in your article above probably is in Metro Manila, the Capital City of the Philippines, where everything is ready to be bought and processed(firearms permits), in the province, i have never seen anybody walking around with a gun, or 5-7 peso bullets,

    i agree with the commentor Jurgen above, owning a gun is not a right, but indeed is a privilege, and an expensive privilege at that, crime rate concerning guns are done with unlicensed, illegally produced and sold guns that are either smuggled or locally made in backyards,

    so what’s more scary is if the gun law in the Philippines is even more restricted, because that would only affect the law-abiding gun owners, while those criminals are free to do as they please with people left unarmed, because they’re criminals, they don’t care what the law says anyway.

    on areas where crime is rampant, every country has that, but the thing that really confuses me, is, it’s the foreigners that appear to want to be robbed or kidnapped, i mean, they go to dangerous places where us local people don’t dare step in, they go to the slums, and those places which are reputable criminal hide-outs, and they go there by foot, usually with backpacks<–a telltale sign of being a tourist which means, carrying a lot of cash, i don't know what goes on inside the mind of these foreigners, maybe for "adventure" but it only spells trouble for them and the country's international image