The Philippine Councilors League (PCL) has sought exemption from the ban on carrying guns for local legislators in Mindanao.
Davao City Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang, PCL national chairperson, said their members feel the need to carry firearm at all times for self-defense amid the spate of killings of local officials.
Dayanghirang said he already wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressing their concerns over their members’ safety, noting that two councilors have been killed in Northern Luzon in the last six months.
“Most of the officials are faced with threats, especially when ordinances are passed that may directly affect the lives of those from the other side of the fence,” Dayanghirang said in the letter to Lorenzana dated July 18.
Dayanghirang pointed out that Mindanao officials, who are gun holders cannot carry their firearms outside their residence because martial law remains in effect. It may be recalled that when President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao, he also cancelled all Permits to Carry (PTC) firearms for the entire island.
“With the exemption to be granted, we can be assured of safety measures and be able to execute self-defense at all times,” Dayanghirang said.
Copies of the letter were also sent to Interior and Local Government’s Secretary Eduardo Año, Special Assistant to the President Secretary Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and to the National Executive Board (NEB) of the Union of Local Authorities in the Philippines (ULAP).
Dayanghirang, who sits as Public Relations Officer of ULAP-NEB, assured that Mindanaoan local officials who are PTC holders will faithfully comply with all the requirements of exemption to carry firearms.
Dayanghirang said the local officials’ concern on the killings was raised during a recent dialogue with President Duterte in Malacañang.
He said not all of the cases were political killings but there were also cases of robbery and related to the businesses of the victims. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)