MANILA, Philippines - The 45-day gun ban implemented by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in connection with the Oct. 28 barangay elections ends today, Wednesday.
But Comelec Commissioner Lucenito Tagle reminded the public that this does not mean that the prohibition on the carrying of unlicensed firearms will now be relaxed.
Tagle said there are other existing laws and the police would strictly implement the ban on the possession of illegal firearms after the election gun ban has been lifted.
“The difference when you are caught having an unlicensed firearm during the gun ban is that you will be charged with two offenses – violating the election gun ban and possession of illegal firearms, so there is really no escape,” he noted.
According to Comelec Commissioner Elias Yusoph, gun ban committee chairman, the implementation of gun control had helped reduced the crime rate in the country.
Yusoph added that as of election day, they were informed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) that crime incidents in the country went down by almost 50 percent.
The Comelec had implemented the gun ban nationwide during the barangay election period from Sept. 28 to Nov. 12.
The other prohibited acts during the election period included appointments, promotions, creation of new positions or giving of salary increases in government agencies; raising of funds through dances, lotteries and cockfights; transfer of officers and employees in civil service, including public school teachers.
Senior Superintendent Wilben Mayor, spokesman for PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, said gun holders with license and permit to carry outside the residence (PTCFOR) could bring their firearms outside their home.
Mayor said gun owners without PTCFOR who would carry their firearms outside residence could be arrested for illegal possession of firearms.
As of 1 p.m. yesterday, Mayor said the PNP arrested 878 individuals for violating the gun ban from Sept. 28 to Nov. 12.
The arrested gun holders included 815 civilians, 10 policemen, nine soldiers, 11 government employees, 30 security guards and three militiamen. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe