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Davao City, Philippines

Firearm ban starts Sunday

January 09, 2019 - Wednesday 5:01 PM by Ayan Mellejor

ARMED. Only police and military personnel in full uniform, like these two officers providing security for the Black Nazarene procession in Apoko, Tagum, Davao del Norte, will be allowed to carry firearms during the Comelec gun ban period. ARJOY CENIZA

DAVAO CITY – The gun ban period prior to the May midterm election starts January 13 and will stretch all the way to June 8, 2019.

The ban covers not only civilians but also members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), which are now under the operational control of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Police and military personnel are allowed to carry firearms only when they are on duty and in complete uniform bearing their names and units

Chief Inspector Jason Baria, the spokesperson of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 11, said the Comelec gun ban “is even stricter than martial law.”

Civilians are already barred from carrying firearms in Mindanao because the island is still under martial law.

Baria said military and police personnel carrying guns will be arrested if they are not in proper uniform.

Under the Comelec gun ban, people are prohibited from bearing, carrying, and transporting firearms, explosives, and other deadly weapons.

“We will intensify the implementation of the gun ban,” Baria told reporters during Wednesday’s AFP-PNP Press Corps briefing at The Royal Mandaya Hotel.

Baria added that persons can carry firearms only when they are exempted. Exemptions from the gun ban can be secured with the Comelec.

Baria said civilians or politicians who want to have bodyguards because their lives are at risk or they have been threatened can write the Comelec for exemption.

Their security condition will be assessed and validated through intelligence check.

Captain Jerry Lamosao, the spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division, said the members of the military also follow orders from the Comelec because they are deputized by the poll body just like the police.

“Our area of concentration is different (from the police) but we closely coordinate with the police in the election preparation,” Lamosao said.

Chief Superintendent Marcelo Morales, the Director of PRO-11, earlier ordered all city and provincial chiefs of police to implement 24/7 checkpoint operations across the region for the whole duration of the election period, which ends June 12.

Morales reminded police officers manning the checkpoints to rigorously observe the guidelines set by the Comelec, which include wearing of full uniform and the setting up of checkpoints in well-lighted areas to allow motorists to read signage and see police officers on duty.