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Ban the Gun

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Aside from leading the urgent, rear-guard fight against corruption, one other equally life and death problem President Aquino must act on pronto is the very high incidence of gun-related violence and criminality in the country. People bearing guns, including policemen involved in strings of cases, have been committing holdups, kidnappings, robberies, murders and homicides everyday and everywhere. Residents of Zamboanga City know this better than others who live elsewhere. We don’t need naugthy police statistics to deny this fact because these crimes are splattered all over the media everyday.

Anti-gun advocates mostly from civil society have written PNoy to ask him to hasten the approval of at least two bills pending in the House and Senate that seek to regulate the ownership and carrying of firearms, which would enforce a permanent gun ban.  These bills as reported have been languishing in Congress for the past 20 years.  Apparently pro-gunners have been successful in stopping the proposed laws.   But with his immense political influence and the majority he commands in both legislative houses, PNoy can easily swing the bills this time.

But, the President is himself known to be a gun enthusiast. Yet, like his symbolic self-sacrificing divorce with his beloved Porsche car, he can start a no-nonsense campaign against gun violence and criminality by taking a personal stand against guns.  It should not be too hard for him, since he lost his father by way of these weapons of death.

With the estimated million loose firearms in the country, we are virtually a nation at war with one another. Most of the more peaceful countries in the world, including our now more progressive neighbors in Southeast Asia, have very strict laws against guns. To catch up with them economically and socially, we do not only have to curb corruption but also our appetites for shooting people.

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Kudos to the local TV station of ABS-CBN for its new TV Patrol Chavacano program segment called “Asunto”. In its daily edition, the segment spotlights on a current public issue or concern, with an appropriate guest to respond to questions and observations from the public using ICT and social media.

Equally amazing is how residents have been robustly participating in the short segment - expressing their views, giving suggestions, pointing out aspects.   Even the occasional silly remarks are instructive of the state of public affairs. It seems that while most people are too lazy to write letters to editors of local publications, they are readier and happier to say their piece in a broadcast program. It demonstrates, too, how social media can work for community development.

Asunto is providing local residents a much-needed avenue to stir up good governance, pro-active civic action, and cause-oriented advocacies. It is another example how good media can make a difference, of realizing the common good through common goodness. (Peace Advocates Zamboanga)

By PAZ




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