By Aaron Recuenco | Manila Bulletin
Starting midnight, Jan. 9, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be setting up checkpoints across the country to strictly implement the nationwide gun ban as part of the security measures for the local and national elections on May 9 this year.
PNP spokesperson Police Col. Rhoderick Augustus Alba said the checkpoints will be implemented until June 8 this year as part of the 150-day nationwide prohibition on the carrying of firearms.
“Pursuant to Comelec (Commission on Elections) Resolution No. 10728, the PNP has suspended the validity of all Permits to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence (PTCFOR) issued to licensed firearm holders, juridical entities and members of government law enforcement agencies,” said Alba.
“Under this Resolution, all guncarrying privileges by virtue of PTCFOR issued by the PNP are suspended for the entire duration of the election period. Also suspended are Permits issued by the PNP to transport firearms, ammunition, explosives, public firearms display and exhibits, as well as employment of security personnel for VIPs,” he added.
Alba explained that only bonafide police, military and members of government law enforcement agencies in complete uniform and while on official duty are allowed to bear firearms for the entire duration of the election period.
He said exemption from the Comelec-imposed firearms prohibition may be secured from the Comelec Committee on Ban on Firearms and Security Concerns (CBFSC).
“We appeal to the public to abide by the provisions of COMELEC Resolution No. 10728 that imposes a 150-day firearms prohibition period for the entire duration of the election period from January 9 up to June 8,” Alba said.
The official said the checkpoints will be located in strategic areas and will be set up, wherever necessary, with existing Quarantine and Border Control Points in areas under Alert Level 3 or higher.
Alba said the existence of checkpoints will be reinforced by other anti-criminality and police security operations against loose firearms, deadly weapons, unauthorized security personnel, Private Armed Groups (PAGs), criminal elements and wanted persons.
“Let me remind firearm holders that violation of this prohibition shall be punishable with imprisonment of not less than one (1) year but not more than six (6) years and shall not be subject to probation, in addition, the guilty party shall suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage and lastly, cancellation of and/or perpetual disqualification to secure gun license or permit,” said Alba.
“The PNP, together with other agencies are ready to protect all vital installations and economic key points and other places of convergence. We call on the public to be vigilant at all times to prevent unscrupulous individuals and lawless elements from taking advantage of the election season,” he said.