LEGAZPI CITY (28-Dec-2012/PNA) – Preparations are done and the regional police organization in Bicol is ready to enforce the election gun ban starting this coming January 13.
“We have already completed our preparations and now ready for its implementation within the five-month election period starting January 13 until June 12, 2013,” Bicol Philippine National Police (PNP) regional director chief Supt. Jose Arned de los Santos said on Friday.
De los Santos said the preparations involved among others, the orientation of all officers in command of the various operational police units in the region on the provisions of the revised total gun ban rule that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has issued for the May 2013 midterm elections.
“We made it clear the ban prohibits not only the bearing, carrying and transporting of firearms and other deadly weapons but also the use of armored vehicles, unauthorized wearing of police or military uniforms and bearing arms, employment of security personnel and bodyguards and organization or maintenance of strike forces, reaction forces or other similar forces,” he said.
Also involved in the preparations were refresher courses on the rules of engagement, strategic planning for the conduct of checkpoints, determination of possible areas of immediate concern or hot spots and identification of gun ban-exempted groups of law enforcers and security personnel, he said.
In the conduct of checkpoints in relation to the gun ban, De los stressed that each municipal and city police stations are mandated to establish at least one that shall be called the “Comelec Checkpoint” and situated only in places which are well-lit.
Additional checkpoints however, may be established at the discretion of the local chiefs of police highest ranking.
“We also reoriented all chiefs of municipal police offices and other units on the proper conduct of searches, manner of arresting gun ban violators, handling and safekeeping of confiscated firearms, investigations, prosecution and filing of appropriate charges in court,” the PNP regional chief said.
“We are going to maximize the authority given to us by the Comelec in enforcing the gun ban especially in our efforts to recover the about 30,000 loose firearms in Bicol,” he said.
At present, according to De los Santos, the number of unregistered guns in the region’s six provinces is 29,975 and “the problem is that we do not have a concrete idea as to who are keeping them now and where exactly these firearms are.”
Based on the regional PNP records, Camarines Sur had a total of 11,412 unregistered firearms, the biggest compared to the other five provinces in the region.
Albay came next with 7,829, followed by Masbate with 4,403; Camarines Norte with 2,860; Sorsogon with 2,777; and Catanduanes with 694.(PNA)