MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections is imposing a nationwide gun ban beginning Sunday, January 13, 2013, the start of the 120-day election period for 2013.
Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said everything is prepared for the implementation of the gun ban, including the setting up of checkpoints in poll hotspots.
"The [Philippine National Police] and [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and Comelec are prepared to install these checkpoints to eliminate electoral violence," he said.
This after the poll body met with the PNP for the implementation of the gun ban.
Sarmiento said the Comelec may also consider in the future inputs from various sectors calling for a total gun ban after recent high profile cases of gun related crimes.
He revealed many businessmen are already applying for exemptions from the election gun ban. Sarmiento declined to name the applicants for now as the commission will deliberate on the applications in Tuesday's en banc session.
Comelec cool to total gun ban
The poll commissioner said Comelec is cool to calls for a nationwide total gun ban.
"Baka hindi pa rin ma-convince ang Comelec ang total gun ban because of public officials who need exemptions, officials who hold sensitive positions," he said.
"Pag-uusapan kung dapat impose ang total gun ban. While there are those asking for exemptions there are also those calling for total gun ban. We have to balance these 2 calls consistent with national interest," he said.
The Commission en banc issued Resolution 9561A back in December 2012.
The resolution states "No person shall bear, carry or transport firearms or other deadly weapons outside his residence or place of business, and in public places including any buildings, streets, parks, and private vehicles or public conveyances, even if licensed to possess or to carry the same and that no candidate for public office, including incumbent public officers seeking election to any public office, shall employ, avail himself of or engage the services of security personnel or bodyguards, whether or not such bodyguards are regular members or officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or other law enforcement agency of the government."
The resolution further requires a permit from a special Comelec committee for the transport, importation and sale of firearms and explosives and their spare parts.
Exemptions to the ban must be applied with the committee on the ban for firearms and security personnel.
Aside from firearms, airsoft guns and any deadly weapons like bladed instruments are also banned from January 13 to June 12, 2013.
The resolution further identifies persons authorized to bear, carry or transport firearms or other deadly weapons during the election period.