President Duterte has promised to give free guns to members of the public if they use them to fight drugs and crime. What could go wrong with that?
THE Philippines has vowed to give free guns to members of the public — so long as they promise to use them to fight drugs and crime. The Sun reports, President Rodrigo Duterte said he’s considering arming 42,000 community leaders, known as barangay captains, after consulting with the police and intelligence agency.
Martin Dino, the interior department undersecretary responsible for barangays, said handguns would be provided for free, or private purchases subsidised, but only for those not involved in illegal drugs. Mr Dino said: “The condition is that the barangay captain should fight drugs and crime. If he is conniving with criminals, he could be the one shot.”
Duterte has repeatedly said thousands of community officials were involved in the trade, without elaborating. But last week he vowed barangays will be provided with the same legal protection as soldiers or police, and they “will never go to jail” if they shot suspected criminals in the performance of their duty.
The president’s signature war on crime and drugs has killed thousands of people and caused international alarm. Activists and Duterte’s political opponents say the campaign is overwhelmingly targeting users and small-time peddlers in poor communities and accuse police of systematically executing suspects, often based on weak intelligence.