A prominent constitutional lawyer says the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) new method of reminding gun owners to renew their gun licences on-time, is unnecessary and may potentially do more harm than good. Tagged “Oplan Katok,” policemen have been knocking on the doors of legal gun owners whose licences have expired, telling them to settle their dues as soon as possible.
But Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) director Federico Ples says there are much better ways to remind gun owners to pay their gun licence fees. He said that the PNP should initially send formal letters to delinquent gun owners informing them of their unmet obligations. He added that this can be followed up by phone calls and E-mails, if needed.
On the talk show Practical Business last January 17, the veteran lawyer explained that this is the professional manner of conducting business and it spares gun owners as well as their families from the emotional stress of having a “visit” from the police. Ples, who is also a retail sector leader, said the police should avoid causing undue alarm to citizens over relatively minor issues.
Soon after assuming the top post late last year, incumbent PNP Director General Alan Purisima reportedly told police personnel that they have yet to win back the trust and confidence of the people they serve. This is an admission that police presence and the feeling of safety does not always go hand and hand, observers say.