PRO-6 kicks off gun ban campaign

Police have begun conducting checkpoints as part of the implementation of the election gun ban which runs until June 8, 2022. (PRO-6/RPIO photo)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

No one was arrested hours since the election gun ban started Jan 9, 2022.

At the stroke of midnight, a Commission on Elections-Western Visayas (Comelec Region 6) checkpoint kicked off at Barangay Balantang, Jaro, Iloilo City.

Atty. Wilfred Jay Balisado, Comelec-6 regional director, was joined by Police Brigadier General Flynn Dongbo, Western Visayas police chief, and Colonel Orlando Edralin, deputy commander of the 301st Infantry Brigade, in the checkpoint.

Lieutenant Colonel Arnel Solis, PRO-6 spokesperson, said the kick-off ceremony was to spread awareness to the public on the rules and guidelines that shall apply during the election period.

The conduct of checkpoint is contained under Comelec Resolution No. 10741 promulgated on Dec. 16, 2021, which mandates the establishment of checkpoints in all cities and municipalities.

Under the rule, there shall be at least one Comelec checkpoint in each city/municipality.

Solis said they have already reminded field units manning the checkpoints that they should follow the guidelines like ensuring that a Comelec checkpoint must be led by a regular rank of lieutenant.

Further, “adequate number of AFP and PNP shall man the checkpoints and they must be in complete service uniform with the name plates and other identification tags clearly visible and readable.”

It is also important to note that they must not be under the influence of liquor and/or dangerous drugs.

A Comelec checkpoint must also be “well-lighted, properly identified and manned with uniform personnel.”

There shall also be a signboard measuring three feet by four feet (3’x4′) to clearly identify the place as a checkpoint from a reasonable distance.

It can be noted that carrying and transporting of firearms and other deadly weapons is prohibited until June 8, with the start of the election period for the May 9 elections on Jan 9.

The gun ban is contained in Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution No. 10728 promulgated on Nov. 10, 2021.

During the said period, “no person shall bear, carry or transport firearms or other deadly weapons outside his/her residence or place of business, and in all public places, including any building, street, park, private vehicle or public conveyance, even if he/she is licensed or authorized to carry the same, unless authorized in writing by the Commission, through the Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Concerns (CBFSC).”

Further, “no person shall employ, avail him/herself or engage the services of security personnel or bodyguards, whether or not such security personnel or bodyguards are regular members or officers of the PNP, AFP, other law enforcement agencies of the government or from a private security service provider, unless authorized by the Commission.

Under the resolution, Solis noted that any permit to carry firearm outside residence, letter order, or mission order issued by the Chief PNP, the Chief of Staff of the AFP, the Commanding General or Flag Officer in Command of the Different Branches of the AFP and their sub-units, or their duty authorized representatives, or any other head or duly authorized official of government law enforcement agency are hereby declared suspended, ineffective, and without force and effect during the election period, unless covered by a certificate of authority duly issued by the CBFSC.”

However, those who were able to secure a certificate of authority (CA) issued by the CBFSC are deemed exempted from the ban.

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.

However, the COMELEC resolution also stated that, “when in the possession of firearms, the deputized law enforcement officer must be: (a) in full uniform showing clearly and legibly his name, rank and serial number, which shall remain visible at all times, and (b) in the actual performance of his election duty in the specific area designated by the Commission.”