By Jennifer P. Rendon
Effective 12:01 a.m. today, August 28, the three-month election gun ban takes effect for the October 30 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
The start of the gun ban period will coincide with the first day of filing of certificates.
Major Mary Grace Borio, Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 spokesperson, said penalties for carrying real guns will also be imposed on those bearing replica guns, to include air guns, toy guys, airsoft guns, antique firearms, and other replicas or imitations of firearms.
Police personnel all over the region have been briefed about the activities that should be carried out to ensure an honest and safe conduct of the barangay and SK polls,
For starters, Borio said uniformed personnel will be deployed to conduct checkpoints to ensure that unauthorized personnel will not bear firearms.
Under COMELEC Resolution 10918, the Commission, unless authorized, prohibits the bearing, carrying, or transporting firearms and other deadly weapons outside residence or place of business, and in all public places; employing, availing, or engaging the services of security personnel and bodyguards; and transporting or delivering firearms and explosives, including its parts, ammunition, and/ or components.
“We reminded our personnel to thoroughly check the document of individuals who claimed they are exempted from the gun ban,” Borio said.
With the gun ban now enforced, only regular members of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other law enforcement agencies of the Government who are duly deputized in writing by the Commission for election duty may be authorized to carry and possess firearms during the election period.
But Borio reminded police personnel that they should in their “prescribed uniform showing clearly and legibly, at all times, their name, rank and serial number or, in case rank and serial number are not applicable, displaying prominently the agency-issued identification card showing clearly his name and position, which shall remain visible at all times.”
But in the case of officers or members of law enforcement agencies, the bearing and carrying or transporting of firearms in civilian clothes shall be allowed in the following circumstances:
* while conducting lawful intelligence or counter-intelligence gathering activities;
* during police emergencies;
* in operations involving national security; and
* in other similar legitimate covert police and/or security operations requiring strict operational security and for reasons of personnel safety;
* duly authorized to possess firearm covered by a valid LTOPF, LCR, CFR or PAR/ARE and to carry the same outside of residence by virtue of a valid, current and updated PTCFOR, LO or MO;
* in the actual performance of official law enforcement and/or security duty and/or election duty, or are going to or returning from his/her residence/dwelling/barracks or official station; bearing, carrying or transporting a maximum of two (2) firearms indicated in his/her name in the Agency’s Application Form and List/Roster of Personnel.
The election period will run until November 29.
The campaign period is from October 19 to 29.