You meet some interesting people when you hand out cards announcing that you are a member of the new media. My new friend, Limmuel, above, caught my attention when he cautioned me against believing that “It could never happen here.” Limmuel was just a young boy when it happened to him and his family in the Philippines in 1972. His father told him the details for years afterward . . .
Limmuel’s father was a security guard at a high school in the Philippines when Ferdinand Marcos issued an order prohibiting all civilian-owned firearms.
“NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ferdinand E. Marcos, Commander-in-Chief of all the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and pursuant to Proclamation No.1081 dated September 21, 1972, do hereby order that henceforth and until otherwise ordered by me or by my duly designated representative, no person shall keep, possess or carry outside of his residence any firearm unless such person is duly authorized to keep, possess or carry any such firearm and any person violating this order shall forthwith be arrested and taken into custody and held for the duration of the emergency unless ordered released by me or by my duly designated representative.”
As a security guard, Limmuel’s father received advance notice of the coming house to house search for weapons. He carefully buried his personal weapons to prevent them from being confiscated, retaining only his officially issued firearm in the home. The search was conducted, and no private arms were found. I suspect that the guns that were buried were not on any “registration” list.
Limmuel says that none of the confiscated guns were ever returned to their owners, even though the confiscation was supposed to be “temporary” at the time. Limmuel clearly remembers living under martial law, with a 10 pm curfew for all activities. He says that checkpoints were very common, that vehicles were often searched, but that bribery was also common and that a small bribe would relieve you of the inconvenience of the search.
No two countries are exactly alike, but the Philippines has a long history of association with the United States. Limmuel believes that a current push for gun control in the Philippines results from an emulation of U.S. policies.
As a further cautionary tale, after a number of years, Limmuel’s father tried to retrieve the firearms that he had buried. But couldn’t remember their exact location. They remain buried to this day, a find for future treasure hunters or archaeologists.
I told Limmuel that if he didn’t wish to have his guns confiscated, that he could (still) buy them privately in the United States and then the government wouldn’t know that he had them. “I know”, he said. “I have”. He also said that there are ongoing negotiations between the communist rebels and the government of the Philippines. The government, he says, insists that the rebels disarm. The rebels, he says, will never give up their guns.
Maybe it isn’t a coincidence that the Philippines has become a world leader in the production of sophisticated guns in small, semi-clandestine workshops.
©2013 by Dean Weingarten of the Gun Watch Blog: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.