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PIA Press Release

Comelec sets gun ban guidelines

by Redjie Cawis

Baguio City (25 September) -- The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) issued guidelines covering the bearing, carrying and transporting of firearms and on the employment of bodyguards as part of security preparations for the October 25, 2010 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

In Resolution No. 9028, the COMELEC en banc reiterated the need to strictly enforce Sections 32 and 33 of Republic Act No. 7166, that states "During the election period, no person shall bear, carry or transport firearms or other deadly weapons in public places, including any building, street, park, private vehicle or public conveyance, even if licensed to possess or carry the same, unless authorized in writing by the Commission. The issuance of firearms shall be suspended during the election period."

The Comelec has set the election period from September 25 to November 10, 2010 or 30 days before the date of the election and 15 days thereafter. This is the period when gun ban is effected.

The provision also states that only regular members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other law enforcement agencies of the Government are authorized to carry and possess firearms during the election period, provided they are in their full uniforms and are in the actual performance of their election duties.

Section 33 of RA 7166, meanwhile, states that "during the election period, no candidate for public office, including incumbent public officers seeking reelection to any public office, shall employ, avail himself of or engage the services of security personnel or bodyguards," unless otherwise "assigned by the Commission upon application."

The said provisions in the Republic Act were also enforced during the May 10, 2010 national and local automated elections through COMELEC Resolution No. 8714.

"The strict implementation of Resolution 8714 significantly reduced the number of election-related violence in connection with the May 10, 2010 automated national and local elections, resulting in an honest, orderly, peaceful and credible elections," the COMELEC en banc ruled.

Candidates for the Barangay and SK positions, any public officer or private individual, however, may avail of the services of security personnel or bodyguards, provided that they file the proper application before the Commission.

The application must be accompanied with a "threat assessment issued by the AFP or PNP." A filing fee of P1, 000.00 shall be charged for each application. (PIA) [top]

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