Tuesday, February 1, 2011
VISITED MY OLD friends in Danao City on July 21, 2010. I call them Mr. Fine and Mr. Coarse. They are craftsmen skilled in the repair of small handguns and they are a father-and-son tandem. I used to go there once every 3 or 4 months to answer some of my friend's favor to have their pistol or revolver checked for flaws and to improve its features. But not anymore.
This time, I'm dropping by just to say hello and keep the lines open for good times sake. The place look the same but they have a very robust garden now and some ducks and a new member – Mr. Coarse's infant daughter. Mr. Fine's workshop is dusty as ever cluttered with tools, gun parts and other items, some of which are scrap but can be converted anytime into reusable spares. Trust that to Mr. Fine's ingenuity.
For those who don't know, Danao City is a gunrunner's paradise. It has nurtured and developed an underground gun-making industry. The availability of scrap steel in the 1930s have goaded the first gun-makers to make a crude, but workable, replica of a Colt caliber .38 revolver sans the rifling and engraving. Fast forward to the present, it has not only perfected the mechanisms and fine features of revolvers and pistols, but have metamorphosed into copying popular assault rifles and machine pistols as well – thanks to this so-called “transfer of technology”.
To curtail the proliferation of loose firearms, the authorities have given a license to manufacture firearms to a cooperative of gun-makers so they could legally produce revolvers and sell it to legitimate gun dealers. The Workers' League of Danao Multi-Purpose Cooperative (WORLD-MPC) were able to pursue their dream of having a legit source of income without having to worry about police raids by producing their own trade-marked revolver which are bought by security agencies nationwide.
However, loose home-made guns are very much available in the underground market and it is the reason why the number of crimes against persons and properties have continued to rise because of this anomaly. It had not been stopped by World War II, during martial law in 1972-81 and it cannot be stopped now as long as there are hungry stomachs to feed and there are people willing to part their money for that piece of steel.
People come and go into the place of Mr. Fine and Mr. Coarse bringing with them their merchandise – Black Widows, Colt 1911s, KG-9s, shotguns, revolvers – for fine-tuning and for sale. Mr. Fine and Mr. Coarse, both WORLD-MPC members, get a little commission for such transactions and so is everyone else. When I say everyone it means E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E. It is part and parcel of life here in Danao. I look over the guns and I just shake my head in disbelief of how far Danao gun-makers were able to close the gap with imported brands in gun technology.
Mrs. Fine arrive from the market and brought something to treat me: fresh parrot fish (suwa-ay) and fresh elvers (bakasi) for an early dinner. Mr. Coarse instantly coax an ember to life and place the three parrot fish over a grill while Mrs. Fine cook the elvers in thick soup of tamarind leaves and eba1 fruit called linarang. While waiting, I share a half-gallon of fermented coconut wine, known as tuba, with Mr. Fine and we talked of the old wild days until dinner is served. What an excellent late afternoon!
Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer
1Averrhoa bilimbi or camias.