Gun ban ends tonight

By Cecille Suerte Felipe, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 12 2013 08:14 AM | Updated as of Jun 12 2013 04:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Gun holders with permit to carry firearms outside residence (PTCFOR) can bring their guns outside their homes tomorrow as the gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ends at midnight tonight.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said the gun ban, which took effect last Jan. 13, will end at 11:59 p.m. tonight, as provided for under the Comelec Resolution No. 9561-A as part of the mid-term elections last May 13.

PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said a total of 3,684 individuals were arrested nationwide from Jan. 13 to June 11 for violating the Comelec gun ban.

Of the violators, Cerbo said 3,398 were civilians, 43 were government employees, four jail personnel, one fireman, seven other law enforcement officers, and four CAFGU members.

“Gun ban ends on June 12. But the PNP will continue Oplan Katok, and the intensified campaign against all forms of criminality,” Cerbo said.

Although the gun ban has been lifted, Cerbo said gun holders without PTCFOR could not bring their guns with them outside their homes or they would be arrested.

Criminal charges have been filed against all individuals arrested for violating the gun ban.

As of June 11, the PNP has already confiscated 3,578 firearms, 1,080 bladed weapons, 239 grenades and 515 other explosive devices.

In November 2012, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II ordered the PNP to launch Task Force Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) 2013 to ensure peace and orderly elections.

In December 2012, the PNP launched Oplan Katok, an aggressive effort to account for 550,000 firearms with expired licenses, prompting the PNP to consider them loose firearms.

About 25,000 loose firearms are reported to be in the hands of criminal elements.

Under Oplan Katok, the PNP has accounted for almost half of the loose firearms, leaving only 245,000 loose guns unaccounted for.

The PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) records showed that there are about 1.6 million registered gun owners in the county.

During the four-month election period, the PNP recorded only 81 cases of election-related violent incidents, which is significantly lower than those recorded for the same period in the 2007 election (229 cases) and the 2010 presidential election (179 cases).