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Election gun ban starts tomorrow

MANILA, Philippines - The gun ban will take effect tomorrow as the 45-day election period for the Oct. 28 barangay elections starts today.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said a number of measures, such as the gun ban and the setting up of checkpoints nationwide, would be in effect with the start of the election period.

For next month’s polls, the Comelec has adopted the policies on gun ban and security escorts that were implemented in the May 13 elections.

Brillantes said the poll body does not grant personal or individual gun ban exemption, but those who wish to be excluded from the ban may apply for security details instead.

Law enforcers on duty and in uniform are excluded from the ban, while other members of law enforcement agencies would still have to apply for permit to carry firearms, he said.   

Private security agencies may also be excluded from the gun ban.

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Aside from the gun ban, other prohibited acts are issuance of appointments, promotions, creation of new positions, or giving salary increases in government offices, agencies or instrumentalities; raising funds through dances, lotteries, cockfights; transfer and detail of officers and employees in the civil service such as public school teachers and suspension of any elective provincial, city, municipal or barangay officers.

Asked about prohibitions on early campaigning, Brillantes said he could not warn prospective candidates on this.

“We don’t have a warning because there is still no candidate. Same problem in the May elections. The filing of certificate of candidacy is on Oct. 11.”

Brillantes said those who would post their campaign materials before the start of the official campaign period should be labeled as “epal” instead.

PNP ready

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is ready to implement tomorrow the nationwide gun ban.

Although the conduct of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls has been postponed, the PNP has made early preparations to ensure the barangay polls on Oct. 28 will be peaceful and orderly.

Under the law, the gun ban will be in effect from Sept. 28 to Nov. 12, or 30 days before and 15 days after the Oct. 28 elections.

The Comelec has set on Oct. 11-17 the filing of certificates of candidacy for the barangay elections.

PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima said among the security measures laid out by the PNP is the strict implementation of the gun ban.

“SAFE 2013-Alpha also sets operational guidelines to PNP units to thwart attempts by the local communist insurgency movement to take advantage of the situation and raise funds through extortion and expand their foothold into peaceful communities,” he said.

Purisima has issued command memorandum circular SAFE 2013-Alpha (Secure and Fair Elections-A), which set policy guidelines in cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines through the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center.

The circular also intensifies intelligence-driven law enforcement operations and strengthens police-community partnership to prevent violence in polls.

Purisima designated Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas as commander of the National Task Force SAFE 2013-Alpha.

– With Jess Diaz

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