MANILA - At the stroke of midnight Saturday, the election period officially starts in the country.
Police are now prepping up for their checkpoints to enforce the election gun ban.
"Talagang extensive ang gunban na ito and we will be very strict and we'll be conducting inspections also to all the checkpoints that will be established," said Police Director Alan Purisima, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief.
The police has prioritized almost 900 areas in the country which were initially identified as election hotspots.
According to Purisima, they added checkpoints upon recommendations made by regional directors.
The President has already tasked the PNP for stricter implementation of their campaign against loose firearms, especially during the election period.
"The issue of loose firearms is an important component of our fight against criminality, not only because we want peaceful and safe elections in 2013 but for greater peace and order in our community," said President Aquino III.
Those who will be caught violating the gun ban may face a jail time of six years, and lose the right to vote and run for public office.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Leonardo Espina reminds gun owners that there is still time to surrender loose firearms to the PNP.
"Kung may loose firearms, ipadala n'yo na lang kung ayaw n'yong magpakilala. Padala n'yo sa nearest police station," said Espina.
In his Twitter account, Commission on Election (COMELEC) Chairman Sixto Brillantes explained that they have already allowed exemptions in the gun ban for a number of government officials.
Based on the new Comelec resolution, Vice President Jejomar Binay and senators who are not running in the mid-term elections are exempted.
Also exempted are Cabinet secretaries, members and heads of agencies, such as the Bureau of Corrections, Department of Justice, Bureau of Immigration, Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Human Rights.