By Miguel C. Gil
The Philippine’s first Firearms Enthusiasts Day was a big success, if the number of attendees was any indication.
Thousands of Filipino gun aficionados flocked to the Metro Tent at the Ortigas Center last Saturday in what was seen as a show of force even as the Election Gun Ban remained in effect.
No firearms were brought or displayed at the venue, however, in keeping with the Commission on Election’s (Comelec) no exemption policy.
The event was jointly organized by the Association of Firearms & Ammunition Dealers of the Philippines (AFAD) and the anti-crime group A2S5 Coalition, to promote goodwill and camaraderie among shooters.
The overall festive mood of the occasion was further reinforced by the raffling off of eight firearms which were donated by AFAD members, as well as a mini-concert by the rock band Midlife Crisis.
But gun rights advocates say the event may also herald the mobilization of legitimate gun owners into a credible political force.
They said that the time has come to resist unnecessary gun-control measures being imposed by government regulators on law-abiding citizens.
Meantime, representatives of the Firearms & Explosives Office of the Philippine National Police (PNP-FEO) were also present to defend some unpopular tactics being implemented in its drive to crackdown on loose firearms.
Also, highlighting the day’s activities was the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between A2S5 and the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) providing for enhanced private-sector participation in the war against illegal drugs.
The anti-crime group vowed to assist the DDB in its efforts to curb the country’s illegal drugs problem through the regular exchange of information and ideas.