Gun ban violators now almost 1,800; more than 1,500 firearms seized since January

April 4, 2010 11:57 am 

MANILA, April 4 – Violators of the Commission on Elections (Comelec)-imposed nationwide total gun ban has reached almost 1,800 individuals while more than 1,500 firearms were confiscated during actual conduct of checkpoint operations by combined police and military elements since the implementation of the ban last January 10.

Quoting reports from the National Election Monitoring and Action Center (NEMAC), Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina said that on Black Saturday, a total of 21 gun ban violators, composed of 19 civilians and two government personnel, were apprehended throughout the country.

Espina said the latest violators yielded 15 firearms, three of which were classified as high-powered while 12 others were low-powered; two gun replicas, seven bladed weapons and two explosives during actual inspection along various checkpoints nationwide.

As of midnight Saturday, NEMAC data showed that a total of 1,790 individuals, composed of 1,601 civilians and 189 government personnel including active members of the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have been arrested since the Comelec ordered the implementation of the nationwide total gun ban last January 10.

A total of 1,519 firearms, composed of 563 high-powered and 815 low-powered; 815 different kinds of gun replicas,437 bladed weapons and 250 explosives were confiscated from the violators.

The Comelec, through Resolution 8714, has imposed a nationwide total gun ban as part of the government’s step-up measures to ensure honest, orderly and peaceful elections in May.

Under Comelec Resolution 8714, only bonafide members of the PNP, the AFP, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and other government and accredited private security agencies are allowed to carry firearms during actual performance of their duty and wearing proper uniform within the prescribed election period.

The election period started January 10 and will last up to June 9.

Aside from the nationwide total gun ban, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also ordered government security forces to dismantle private armed groups (PAGs) operating in the country to prevent election-related violence. (PNA) LDV/MM

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