Comelec starts accepting application for election gun ban exemption
PRIVATE individuals and security agencies may now start applying for special permits to carry firearms as an exemption during the election gun ban from January 10 to June 8 next year.
Lionel Marco Castillano, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Cebu provincial election supervisor, said a total gun ban will be enforced.
“This includes the bearing, carrying, or transporting of firearms and other deadly weapons,” he told reporters.
Chief Supt. Prudencio Bañas, chief of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas, said an assessment will be made to determine if there is basis to exempt an applicant from the gun ban.
Bañas said the PRO-7 is also looking at the possibility of implementing a gun ban during the Sinulog and International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in January.
Last November 13, the Comelec promulgated Resolution No. 10015 specifying rules and regulations during the gun ban period in 2016.
Castillano said knives and other sharp objects are classified as deadly weapons, but cases where these are used in one’s trade are not counted.
Airsoft guns and other imitation firearms are also prohibited as well as carrying live bullets.
Personnel from the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines and government law enforcement agencies are exempted from the gun ban.
These personnel must be wearing proper uniforms in their area of jurisdiction, and in the performance of their duties for the exemption to apply.
Cashiers and disbursing officers, during transportation of money, are also exempted from the ban.
The Comelec resolution also covers the employment, availment, or engagement of security personnel or bodyguards during election period.
“With regard to hiring security personnel, candidates and other private individuals may apply for exemption, but only for gubernatorial and congressional posts and higher (offices),” said Castillano.
He said officials with existing police body guards will be allowed to maintain two.
If they can justify the need for two more, the request can be considered.
All other candidates and private individuals, Castillano said, will have to hire personnel for protection during election period through a private security agency.
Those who violate the provisions of the resolution will be guilty of an election offense. Their firearms license can be cancelled, suspended, or revoked.
Any person found guilty of an election offense may be imprisoned from one to six years without probation.
The guilty party shall be disqualified from holding public office and will lose the right to vote.
A foreigner who violates this policy shall be deported after the prison term has been served.
The application procedure and requirements can be downloaded from the Comelec website, www.comelec.gov.ph.
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