Comelec to accept applications for gun ban exemption for barangay, SK elections starting June 5


Posted at May 22 2023 06:56 PM

Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) conduct a Commission on Elections (Comelec) checkpoint near the border of Tanza and Trece Martires in Cavite on February 20, 2023, ahead of the February 25 special elections. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File.
Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) conduct a Commission on Elections (Comelec) checkpoint near the border of Tanza and Trece Martires in Cavite on February 20, 2023, ahead of the February 25 special elections. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File.

MANILA - The Commission on Elections on Monday said they will start accepting applications for gun ban exemptions for the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) starting June 5.

According to Commissioner Aimee Ferolino, they will accept applications earlier than usual to avoid delay in approvals.

"On June 5, we will be starting to accept applications for certificates of authority for all categories. For the first time we will be opening the acceptance of applications earlier," Ferolino said in a press conference.

"Noong nakaraang election we start in December but we found it proper to open earlier to address the complaints for delay of some applicants. Inagahan natin ng 2-months."

Among those who can apply for exemption are personnel of law enforcement agencies, diplomatic missions, security agencies, cashiers, disbursing officers, high risk individuals, security details and sports shooters.

Comelec said they will study each application carefully to ensure that only deserving applicants will be granted exemption.


When asked about the possibility of postponing the elections in Negros Oriental, Ferolino said though they will be assessing which among the provinces and towns in the country can be considered as "areas of concern", it is still to early to decide regarding the elections in Negros Oriental.

"We cannot categorically say that there will be a postponement of elections or the resetting of the elections kasi medyo malayo pa naman tayo - the situation might change. There are parameters in the declaration of the postponement of an election at kapag hindi ito na-meet we cannot just out of whim declare an area not suitable for the conduct of an election," Ferolino said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar, meanwhile, said the military will continue its clearing operations in areas where there are reported terrorist groups like the New People's Army.

"We are continuously conducting internal security operation, not just in Negros Island but in all parts of the country. We are looking at clearing at least these areas where there are presence of armed elements belonging to the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army National Democratic Front and other local terrorist groups. We are looking at previous more or less 300 hoping that but the time election comes - even the strength and capabilities of the armed insurgents is also decimated or decrease so that people can actually exercise the right to suffrage and make sure that this election is credible, safe," he said.

The Philippine National Police, for its part, said they have already identified 3 active private armed groups (PAG) in Region 3.

"Based on intelligence reports, we have recorded 3 identified PAGs (Private Armed Groups) of these PAGs meron po silang 35 members and as reported also they have with them 104 firearms. Not to discount also yung iba pang subject for validation," said PNP Assistant Chief Public Information Officer PCol. Dario Menor.

He added that there are 45 "potential" PAGs all over the country, and the PNP is currently validating these groups.

"Other potential PAGs - mayroon po sa Region I we have 1 group, Region V - 1, Region VI- 3, sa XIII mayroon po tayong sinusubaybayan na isa din, sa BARMM mayroong 37 at sa Cordillera ay mayroong 2. A total of these potential PAGs ay 45 and with these 45 PAGs mayroon po silang 280 na members and are expected of having 392 assorted firearms," Menor said.

PNP declined to identify the specific areas where these groups are, and who they are working for.

Comelec said they have yet to identify areas of concern, and they will wait for the assessment of both the AFP and PNP.

Comelec also believes that accepting applications for gun ban exemption earlier will be beneficial for legitimate gun owners.

"This will ensure that only the right people will have the authority to carry firearms, kasi ‘pag medyo matagal tayong yung mga karapat dapat na magdala ng firearms hindi natin mabigyan ng exemption sa tamang oras ay baka makakaapekto ito sa discharge ng kanilang functions," Ferolino said.

The application will be processed at the Comelec main office since there may be records that cannot be accessed in its regional offices.

Ferolino said applications may be processed within one to two weeks provided that all requirements are complete.

- report from Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News