Two weeks ago, I was trying to encash a check OTC at a large unibank. For id purposes, I presented my Firearms License Card (issued by the FEO-PNP) which is still valid for another year. The male teller asked for another id. I reacted saying that the FA License Card is a government issued id and it should be honored. He managed to smile while saying, “we don’t honor it anymore sir”, pointing to a desktop sign at the customer service desk a few feet away. I pulled out my about-to-expire driver’s license and handed it to him.
My driver’s license was in a sorry state, my picture was almost blurred and even if my personal data was almost impossible to read, it was acceptable to the bank. Under my breath I cursed LTO for producing a shitty and poor quality driver’s license (that’s another story) but I still could not understand why my nicely and clearly printed Firearms License Card is no longer acceptable at the bank. After my transaction, I snapped a picture of the desktop sign on my cellphone camera. The teller was right, the FA License card is no longer in the list of accepted ids. I remember seeing it in that list because I have used my FA card for id purposes in banks a few times in the last few years.
Only recently, I ranted about the useless DFA scheduling system for passport applicants. I now feel a lot better knowing that my passport is still acceptable as a “valid id” when doing banking transactions.
We’re talking here about official documents/id issued by two different departments of the PHL Government, the DILG-PNP-FEO and the DFA.
Why banks are honoring one and not the other is the subject of my brief discourse.
In the past it was easy to leave the country on forged passports. I believe that the stringent processes in the verification/validation of the applicants identity and the significantly improved security features of the e-passport have nowadays made it difficult for people to pretend that they are someone else when leaving the country.
What about the Firearms License Id’s? Well, I phoned a friend in the banking industry and asked him about the matter. He said that there were some data integrity issues on the personal information presented in the Firearms License Card. I asked him to elaborate and he gave me two (2) examples.
A.) The home address of the F/A Licensee. Now, I am beginning to understand. Mr. HotShot BigShot gets a license for his FA and give his address at 999 Van Nuys Blvd. Nowhere City, Philippines. When Mr. HotShot BigShot gets into trouble with the law, the LEO can’t find him because he gave a fictitious address or if the address is valid, he doesn’t live there or no one knows him or heard about him in that address.
B.) The Photo of the Licensee. Sometimes, the photo is not the image of the person whose name is on the license. This is even worse. They have his name but cannot associate it with a real face or vice versa. (Wow, hope it’s the picture of a handsome and macho movie star and not an ugly and wanted fugitive).
I read in the papers recently that the PNP has mandated that all renewals for FA licenses must be done in-person at the PNP HQ in Camp Crame. There will be no exceptions and no regional or provincial processing of renewals because they are centralizing the process. The rationale for this brilliant idea is to weed out the fake addressess and ensure only the legitimate gun owners can renew their licenses.
With this directive, the PNP is asking for trouble. You have almost one million registered firearms. Let’s assume for the sake of simplicity that we have a one-to-one relationship – one firearm = one owner. That’s a million legitimate gun owners scattered all over the archipelago from as far as Batanes in the North to Tawi-Tawi in the South who will need to renew their licenses on their BIRTHDAY.
Let’s do some math.
Given : 1,000,000 licensed gun owners
Assume : 83,000 renewals a month (1,000,000 / 12)
Average Daily Licenses to be Processed : 83,000 / 20 working days a month
= 4,166 licenses a day.
You are expecting 4,166 gun owners to troop to the PNP HQ on a daily basis. If you are from the National Capital Region, it’s probably NO BIG DEAL. If you are from Southern or Central Luzon, it’s a HASSLE. If you are from Northern Luzon and the Cagayan Valley, it becomes BIG DEAL If you are from the Visayas and Mindanao Regions, then it becomes an ORDEAL. Just to renew your license (which I think is approximately 3K to 4K) you will rack up additional expenses for bus/ship/air fare, meals and lodging, and probably some shopping :=)
And moreover, the FEO-PNP cannot handle the expected volume. JMHO, but I have my own personal knowledge why I feel that their resources both technology and people, are not ready to take on this huge task.
And what a way to solve the data integrity issue problem. Punishing the majority in order to fix the problem caused by a minority. Of course, I am assuming that majority of gun owners are legitimate like me. But I could be wrong.
It’s like drying up an entire river so you can catch crocodiles. Never mind the small fishes.
Bright idea indeed !Published in