THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has implemented the 150-day total gun ban "to ensure peaceful and orderly elections" on May 10 this year.
Under Resolution No. 8714, promulgated last Dec. 16, Comelec prohibits the carrying and transport of firearms, explosives and deadly weapons from Jan. 10 to June 9 this year.
During the gun ban period, the resolution says:
- No person shall bear, carry or transport firearms or other deadly weapons in public places including all public buildings, streets, parks, and private vehicles or public conveyances, even if licensed to possess or carry the same
- No candidate for public office, including incumbent public officers seeking election to any public office, shall employ, avail himself of or engage the services of security personnel or bodyguards, whether or not such bodyguards are regular members or officers of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines or other law enforcement agency of the Government.
- Issuance of firearms licenses during the election period is suspended. New and renewed firearm licenses and firearms will remain with the Firearms and Explosives Division of the PNP until after the election period.
- Only bonafide members of PNP, AFP and law enforcement agencies in proper uniform and "while in the actual performance of official law enforcement duty or in going to or returning from his residence/barracks or official station are authorized to bear firearms."
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While the intention of the poll body in imposing the gun ban is noble, I don't think it will be beneficial to the general public.
Why? Because only police personnel in proper uniforms and wearing identification tags/cards are allowed to carry firearms. No more plainclothes policemen will be fielded against armed robbers in buses, establishments and busy streets.
The 150-day Comelec gun ban means "happy days" for criminals. But criminals are also covered by the gun ban, right? Yes they are.
But do you think thugs and rogues who are not even afraid of the more serious punishments related to armed robbery, homicide and illegal possession of firearms would be afraid of the penalties associated with the gun ban? I don't think so.
Only ordinary citizens and would-be victims of the now more daring carjackers, kidnappers, hitmen, and hold-uppers will abide by the Comelec gun ban.
Criminals are expected to take advantage of the "season" when no more plainclothes law enforcers and brave civilians with permit to carry firearms would be willing to engage them to a firefight.
How about the Comelec checkpoints?
Checkpoints have been established only to effectively implement the election-related gun ban. They will not prevent armed robbers, especially those on board motorcycles who can always use other roads and streets to avoid checkpoints, from victimizing peace-loving citizens.
The gun ban give "pogi" points to the Comelec and may serve the poll body's objective in minimizing, if not totally eliminating, firearms-related deaths and violence before, on and after elections day.
But to the general public who are already wary of the rising number of crimes, particularly the one who have already been victimized by armed robbers, the gun ban will be beneficial only to those who feed their families with the blood and sweat of others.