FOLLOWING the nationwide gun ban implementation, 235 civilians and 11 government officials were already apprehended for violating the policy and recently, 39 more were added in the list.

Of the 39 arrested, 22 are members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and 17 are Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) personnel, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.

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In Negros Occidental, nine have been arrested, including an engineer and a rebel leader.

Police Inspector Rico Santotome Jr. said that due to intensified gun ban imposition, people have become aware and that so far no violators were intercepted at respective Comelec checkpoint areas.

In a report from the PNP central office, 238 firearms, 21 bladed weapons and five grenades were already confiscated.

The Comelec Resolution 8714 dictates that only bona fide members of the PNP, AFP and other government and accredited private law enforcement and security agencies, in proper uniform, are allowed to carry firearms only during the performance of their official functions.

It was the first time that the Comelec has imposed a nationwide total gun ban with no exemptions issued to anybody but allows the AFP to deploy military troops to act as security escorts, upon approval by the poll body, to political candidates during the election period.

The ban was also meant to rid the country of private armed groups (PAGs) being operated by warlords to sow violence during the elections, police said following a political clan’s involvement in the Maguindanao massacre. (George M. dela Cruz)