THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to implement total gun ban on Jan. 10 for the duration of the election period by recalling the firearms permits of government security forces as well as private individuals acting as bodyguards for politicians.
However, the implementation will be launched first in the national level following a coordinating conference with regional directors of Comelec officials together with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officials on Jan. 7 in Manila.
“Wala pa ta makasugod dinhi sa regional level but after sa atong coordinating conference didto sa Manila, this will go down dire sa local,” said lawyer Renato Magbutay, Comelec Northern Mindanao regional director in an interview with RMN-dxCC Monday.
Under the guidelines, PNP and military personnel acting as body guards of politicians will also be recalled and will automatically report to the PNP Headquarters without passing through the regional level.
In its Resolution 1814, the Comelec ordered the recall of permits of all gun-holders, including law enforcement agencies and private security groups accredited by the PNP as bodyguards for politicians.
Resolution 8714 defines the rules and regulations on who are authorized to carry firearms during the election period, and the procedures on how to avail of the services of security personnel or bodyguards during election period.
The Comelec issued the resolution in an effort to minimize election-related violence during the campaign period leading to the May 10, 2010 elections.
Only the PNP, AFP, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), security personnel of the Philippine Ports Authority, Bureau of Immigration, Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Bureau of Customs, Manila International Airport Authority and accredited security agencies were allowed to bear firearms as identified in the resolutions.
With this development, the Comelec said candidates for the 2010 elections would have to pick their security detail from law enforcement agencies or private security agencies accredited by the PNP.
“Local candidates will file their applications for security escorts sa regional Comelec office,” Magbutay said.
Meanwhile, Governor Oscar Moreno stressed he had no problem with regards to Comelec resolution, particularly in applying for security escorts within the duration of the campaign period.
For his part, Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez disclosed he is planning to have one security personnel at the start of the campaign period for preventive measure, though he had no bodyguards ever since. (Annabelle L. Ricalde)