SIX more government offices were added to the roster of agencies that were given exemptions from the gun ban implemented by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Comelec Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, head of the Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel, identified the offices allowed to carry firearms as follows:

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* Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (Cafgus);

* Presidential Security Group (PSG);

* Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP);

* Treasurers, Deputy Treasurers, and members of the Internal Security Division of the Bureau of Treasury (BOT);

* Optical Media Board (OMB); and

* Security personnel of accredited foreign diplomatic corps and establishments.

The exemption is included in the Resolution No. 8742 of the Comelec, which was promulgated last January 11, 2010.

Earlier, the poll body issued Resolution No. 8714, giving a go signal to officials and personnel of Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the 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 to carry firearms.

Last Sunday, January 10, signaled the beginning of election period, which bans the carrying of firearms by civilians.

But certain portions of the resolution that outlined the rules and regulations on the bearing and carrying of firearms and other deadly weapons and the employment of bodyguards during the election period were amended.

The Comelec also ruled to rename the Regional Joint Security Control Desks to Regional Joint Security Control Centers (RJSCC), which is tasked to accept applications from congressional candidates and other candidates for local elective positions for authority to avail or employ bodyguards in the regions.

It likewise authorized the transfer or delivery of firearms bought during the election period so long as it is done by the “authorized dealer itself on a one way basis directly to the address of the buyer within twenty four hours. (FP/Sunnex)