An executive of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) defended the proposal of President Rodrigo Duterte to give firearms to village chairmen, also known as barangay captains, in order to combat criminality and illegal drugs in their area of jurisdiction.
According to DILG Usec. Martin Dino, Section 389 of Republic Act 7160, also known as the Local Government Code, entitles village heads ‘to possess and carry the necessary firearm within his territorial jurisdiction, subject to appropriate rules and regulations’.
However, Dino explained that village chairmen still need to acquire a License To Own and Possess Firearms from the Philippine National Police before being allowed to carry any type of gun.
The DILG official also clarified that the plan of the President is to only arm village chairmen that will vow to fight illegal activities in their area, and not those involved in illegal drugs and other criminal activities.
“Sa batas na ito inaallow lahat ng barangay captain sa 42,000 barangay na mag-possess and carry firearms kaya lang sinabi ni Presidente na doon lang sa mga talgang lalaban ay aarmasan niyan,” Dino said during DZRH’s One On One.
“Hindi naman lahat iyan mabibigyan ng armas. Papaano yung mga may kaso? Ang magbibigay naman ng permit to carry, LTOPF, at saka ng license ay ang Philippine National Police. Siyempre merong tayong isusubmit na requirements. Iyon ang maliwanag diyan,” Dino added.
Dino further admitted that they do not have a budget in the 2018 General Appropriations Act to fund the procurement of the firearms for village captains, but since the idea came from Duterte, they expect that it will be funded by the special funds of the President.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and Sen. Richard Gordon have already voiced their support to arming village officials in order to protect themselves.
While, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, insisted that the proposal of the President needs to be discussed first by the Congress since a budget needs to be appropriated if the firearms will be provided by the government.