Gun ban starts Sept. 23

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will start implementing the 38-day ban on the carrying of firearms in connection with the coming barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections despite strong indications from Congress that the twin polls will be postponed anew.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said on Thursday that the election period is from September 23 to October 30, 2017. During this time, the carrying of firearms and other deadly weapons, use of security personnel or body guards by candidates, transfer or detail of officers and employees in the civil service including public school teachers; suspension of elective provincial, city, municipal or barangay officer, are prohibited.

Also prohibited are the employment, availment or engagement of the services of security personnel or body guards, “whether or not such security personnel or bodyguards are regular members or officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), other law enforcement agency of the government of from a private security service provider, unless authorized by the Commission.”

The transport and delivery of firearms and/or its parts, ammunition and/or its components, and explosives are also prohibited.

Jimenez said that beginning September 21, 2017, the Comelec Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel (CBFSP) shall accept applications for the issuance of authority to bear, carry or transport firearms or deadly weapons.

The filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) will also start on September 23 to September 30. The campaign period will be from October 13 to October 21.

The twin polls will be held on October 23 unless Congress comes out with an amendatory law postponing the elections.

The House of Representatives has approved the postponement of the elections while the Senate approved it at the committee level.

“Unless Congress gives us the assurance that the polls will be postponed, our preparations will continue. We need to be prepared as mandated by law,” Jimenez said.

The barangay and SK elections were scheduled to be held in October 2016 but were postponed to October 2017. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL

WD/CC

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