Gun ban in effect as election period officially starts

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 9) — The May 2022 election period officially started at midnight on Sunday, Jan. 9, with the nationwide gun ban now in effect until June 8, according to the calendar of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

For a total of 150 days, the Comelec prohibits the unauthorized bearing, carrying, or transporting of firearms and deadly weapons outside residences, businesses, and public places, based on the poll body's Resolution No. 10728.

According to the resolution, personnel from the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and other members of law enforcement agencies are exempted from the gun ban, provided that they obtain authorization from the Comelec. They are also required to wear their prescribed uniforms during their official duties for the entire election period.

Checkpoints have already been installed in different areas of the country, with members of the PNP and AFP tasked to monitor and inspect, and to strictly implement the gun ban.

"(Ito'y) para ipakita sa inyo na seryoso ang Comelec and PNP na gawin itong pagche-checkpoint natin saka yung implementation lalong lalo na 'yung sa gun ban natin, kasi alam naman natin na ang habol natin dito malapit na 'yung election e magkaroon tayo ng safe na election," PBGen Eliseo DC Cruz, Regional Director of PNP 4A-Calabarzon said.

[Translation: (This is) to show that the Comelec and PNP are serious with the strict inspection at checkpoints, as well as the implementation of the gun ban, because we all know that the goal is to have safe elections.]

The PNP said gun ban violators will be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation.

In addition, it said the guilty party will be barred from holding public office, the deprivation of the right to suffrage, and the cancellation of and/or perpetual disqualification to secure a gun license/permit.

There are currently 223 checkpoints in different PNP regional units all over the country, with 1,623 checkpoints established with the Comelec.

The AFP also installed 104 checkpoints in different areas.

Overall, there are 1,953 checkpoints, with many of them situated in area boundaries.

Tasked to man the checkpoints are 14,143 police and 825 military personnel.

The PNP also said that checkpoints may be co-located with other existing quarantine and border control points, especially in areas under Alert Level 3.

The elections will be held on Monday, May 9, 2022.