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THE Chief Executive is open to the idea of arming civilian anti-crime volunteers but nothing is final yet.

However, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte is keeping his options open. “He’s open to the idea pero wala pa naman finality.”

There is not a policy yet. I’m sure it will be subjected to full staff work pero meanwhile may riyalidad na habang tumutulong ang mga volunteers, may banta rin sa kanilang buhay,” Roque said.

He likewise expressed support for the remarks issued by Philippine National Police chief Guillermo Eleazar. The country’s top cop said that civilian anti-crime volunteers have every reason to believe that their lives are on the line and as such has to be protected to some extent.

We cannot allow our volunteer groups to be at the mercy of criminal elements that we encourage [them] to fight alongside with us,” Eleazar was quoted as saying in a separate report.

It was actually Duterte who floated the idea of issuing firearms to civilian volunteers at the launching of the Global Coalition of Lingkod Bayan Advocacy Support Groups and Force Multipliers held at the Camp Vicente Lim in Canlubang, Laguna.

In a related development, Vice President Leni Robredo expressed doubt on the wisdom of arming civilian volunteers. According to her, issuing firearms to civilian volunteers may backfire.

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