Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Dionardo Carlos, has called for vigilance as the 150-day nationwide election gun ban kicked off Sunday.
Carlos said law enforcers will be conducting checkpoint operations in strategic locations to strictly implement the gun ban from Jan. 9 to 8 to maintain peaceful national and local elections on May 9, 2022.
“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,” Carlos said in a statement Saturday night.
He said the PNP headquarters, thru the Directorate for Operations has instructed Police Regional Offices to put-up joint PNP-Commission on Election-Armed Forces of the Philippines (PNP-Comelec-AFP) checkpoints to implement weapons check and other anti-criminality and police security operations, against loose firearms, deadly weapons, unauthorized security personnel, private armed groups (PAGs), criminal elements and wanted persons.
Wherever necessary, he said checkpoint may be co-located with existing Quarantine and Border Control Points in areas under Alert Level 3 or higher.
Pursuant to the Comelec 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.
Under this resolution, all gun carrying 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.
As a general rule, 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.
Exemption from the Comelec-imposed firearms prohibition may be secured from the Comelec Committee on Ban on Firearms and Security Concerns (CBFSC).
“Let me remind firearm holders that violation of this prohibition shall be punishable with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six 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/permit,” Carlos said.
He added that even with the prevailing national health emergency, the PNP in coordination with the AFP and Philippine Coast Guard will deploy sufficient forces to ensure the public that the 2022 polls will be peaceful, safe, and secure.