MANILA (UPDATE) — Authorities set up thousands of checkpoints across the country as a gun ban took effect Sunday, marking the start of the May 9, 2022 election period.
Nearly 2,000 checkpoints manned by over 14,000 personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Commission on Elections (Comelec) were established to enforce the poll body's resolution prohibiting the carrying and transporting of firearms and other deadly weapons from Jan. 9 to June 8, 2022, said police chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos.
Under the resolution, the PNP suspends all permits to carry issued to licensed firearm holders, juridical entities and members of government law enforcement agencies.
Only members of the PNP, AFP and other law enforcement agencies on duty are allowed to carry firearms.
At the launch of the nationwide gun ban in Cainta, Rizal, Comelec Regional Director Maria Juana Valeza said the checkpoints were placed at random and limited to plain view.
If there's no probable cause, citizens can refuse authorities who want to check the compartment of their vehicles.
Those caught carrying unauthorized firearms may face jail time or be refused the right to suffrage, Valeza said.
Police chief Carlos said he has yet to receive any report of "major incidents" during the first 6 hours of the gun ban.
"Ibig sabihin po ay ang ating mga kababayan ay alam na magsasagawa tayo ng Comelec gun ban," he said.
(This means our people know that we're going to implement a Comelec gun ban.)
Aside from the gun ban, uniformed personnel manning the checkpoints will also enforce COVID-19 health protocols, Brig. Gen. Eliseo Cruz, director of the Calabarzon police.
Cruz appealed to the public for understanding should the checkpoints cause traffic.
At a checkpoint in the border of Pasay and Manila, authorities issued tickets to several motorists whose vehicles were unregistered as well as those with overcapacity, which violate COVID-19 protocols.
— with reports from Anna Cerezo and Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News