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ICC Note: According to Philippine National Police (PNP), more than 200 priests and preachers from other religious background want to carry firearms to protect themselves, after three Catholic priests have been gunned down in the last six months. Under the new gun ownership law in the Philippines, priests are among the professionals who are allowed to carry firearms.

06/21/2018 Philippines (PhilStar) – Over 200 priests and preachers from other religious denominations want to carry firearms, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde revealed yesterday.

According to Albayalde, the PNP received requests for permit to carry firearms outside residence (PTCFOR) from 188 Catholic priests and 58 ministers, preachers and pastors from June 2017 to June 2018.

“As a policy and by the power vested in me as the approving authority for PTCFOR, we may accommodate requests for PTCFOR by duly qualified gun holders among members of the clergy and leaders of religious congregations, subject to their compliance with the minimum requirements,” Albayalde said.

The PNP chief did not say if any of the applications has been approved.

Albayalde, however, added there were some requests following the barangay elections last month.

He made the announcement a week after Fr. Richmond Nilo was shot dead while about to hold mass in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija.

Nilo’s murder raised concerns among the clergy as he was the third priest to be gunned down in six months.

Last May, Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura was shot dead by an unidentified gunman after celebrating mass in Gattaran, Cagayan.

In December last year, Fr. Marcelino Paez was also shot dead after assisting in the release of a prisoner in Jaen, also in Nueva Ecija.

Albayalde clarified that the PNP is not aware if the religious leaders seeking gun permits have received death threats.

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