The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday launched the online License To Own and Possess Firearm (LTOPF) and Firearms Registration system, touted to make weapons registration easier for gun owners and boost enforcement of gun use laws.
“Ito, magbe-benefit kahit saan ka sa Pilipinas o kahit sa abroad (With this, people from anywhere in the Philippines or even abroad will benefit). As long as your requirements are complete, authentic, valid, you can now apply for LTOPF registration using online system,” Chief Superintendent Cesar Hawthorne Binag, chief of the Firearms and Explosives Office, said in a press conference.
“Hopefully with this, ang ma-achieve natin yung convenience sa tao tapos yung efficiency on our part–mas marami kaming mapo-process dito (we will achieve convenience for the people and efficiency on our part– we could process more through this),” he added.
Under the present system, applicants must apply at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame.
The release time is 5 p.m. of the same day if an applicant is able to file all requirements by the 11 a.m cutoff. Past this hour, the LTOPF will be released the following working day.
This system yields an 85% batting average in terms of LTOPF issuance, according to Binag. But the PNP wanted to expand the system beyond Metro Manila, so they put up the same system in other regions such as Davao.
Binag bared that that system encountered problems in some regions, given the poor internet connection in certain areas.
“Nahihirapan pa kami sa ibang regions. Mabagal talaga, I have to admit, sa ibang regions kasi naka-connect sila sa computer pero yung linya, yung bandwidth, nagkaka-problema tayo diyan (We are having difficulties in other regions. It’s really slow, I have to admit, because while the computers are connected to the [internet], we are having problems with the bandwidth,” he said.
The PNP is hoping the project would boost their agency’s efficiency and clamp down on corruption among their ranks, citing reports of questionable LTOPF transactions involving police officers.
“Halos wala nang contact dito sa amin. Magpapakita na lang ang aplikante kapag ike-claim niya ang kanyang lisensya at pipicture-an siya for validation (There is almost no more contact with us. The applicant will just show up to claim the license or get a picture taken for validation),” said Binag.
A centralized database would also help the PNP enforce laws governing firearms and ammunition, he said. The prevalence of loose firearms has long been a problem for the PNP, making it difficult for police to trace guns used in criminal incidents.
Chief Superintendent Edwin Nemenzo, director of the PNP’s Information Technology Management Service (ITMS) said the new system is capable of validating and authenticating an applicant’s neurological and psychiatric exam results, drug test results, and government issued clearances.
Data are automatically filled in once the user types his existing National Bureau of Investigation ID number or Professional Regulation Commission ID. For renewal, an applicant would only need to type his or her old LTOPF control number.
“Online applicants are assured of streamlined processes and have the luxury to choose their desired schedule. Most importantly, LTOPF and Firearm Registration can now be claimed not only in Camp Crame, Marikina, Cebu and Davao, but also in all police regional offices, particularly at the regional civil security units,” Nemenzo said.
Applicants or their representatives are advised to strictly follow their preferred scheduled dates or else lose their slot and line up as walk-in applicants, he added.
“We are appealing to the public na with the new system, lumipat na po kayo dito para mas mapabilis po ang pag-apply, pag-proseso at eliminate po natin ang graft and corruption, at mas magiging convenient po ito sa inyo (We are appealing to the public to use the new system because it speeds up the application and processing, we could eliminate graft and corruption, and it will be more convenient for them,” said Binag.