MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has seen an increase in the number of gun owners in the country. “There’s a bit of increase of gun ownership now,” PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said yesterday in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the 26th Defense and Sporting Arms Show in Mandaluyong City organized by the Association of Firearms and Ammunition Dealers (AFAD) of the Philippines where he was guest speaker. Chief Supt. Valeriano de Leon, director of the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO), said there are about 200,000 individuals with licenses to own and possess firearms. The figure is higher by 51.51 percent compared to 132,000 persons registered in the FEO database last year. Around 600,000 firearms are registered in the FEO, according to De Leon. Meanwhile, there are approximately one million loose firearms nationwide. Albayalde clarified that the increase in gun ownership has nothing to do with the perception that people are fearful of their safety under the Duterte administration. Albayalde said the reason for the increase is the PNP’s reforms, which have made the process of application and renewal of gun licenses easier.