SLOW down, dim your lights, turn on your cabin lights and don’t panic. Most importantly, don’t attempt to evade our checkpoints.
These are some of the public reminders issued by Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde as the PNP began enforcing a 150-day nationwide gun ban past midnight Saturday to arrest the proliferation of illegal weapons that could be used to disrupt the May 13 national and local elections.
Gen. Albayalde said that drivers and passengers of motorcycles and motor vehicles are both subject to a routine check at a checkpoint. The guidance for the police, he added, is that there must only be a visual check.
“We hit the ground running on the first 24 hours of checkpoint operations starting on the opening minutes of Sunday, January 13, 2019 to strictly enforce the nationwide gunban imposed by the Comelec for the 150-day election period of the 2019 midterm elections in May. As of 12:00 midnight last night, we have conducted an accumulated 4,447 checkpoint operations resulting in the arrest of 25 persons and the confiscation of 27 firearms, 168 rounds of ammunition, seven bladed weapons, 22 gun replica, 70 sachets of suspected “shabu”, and 2 glass pipes with suspected “marijuana,” the PNP chief said.
According to the top cop, the 1st day of the election period may be considered generally peaceful yet there is an indication that violent incidents may still occur due to the number of confiscated/seized firearms.
“Field reports from the Police Regional Offices continue to come in as of this morning on results of Day 1 of implementation of COMELEC Resolution No. 10468. Henceforth, there will be daily updates of reported gun ban violations for the entire duration of the election period thru the Election Monitoring and Action Centers in the national, regional and provincial levels,” he said.
The PNP chief said that over the past two years, they haven’t received complaints regarding policemen who were displaying improper behavior and attitude while manning checkpoints.
“Maybe it’s because of the fact that we’ve been telling our men almost daily to exercise utmost courtesy when dealing with the public particularly when enforcing checkpoints,” Gen. Albayalde told the Journal Group.
He also said that officers manning the checkpoints have been thoroughly lectured on the Police Operational Procedures or POP approved by the PNP leadership in collaboration with the Commission on Human Rights to underscore a very vital function and purpose of law enforcement – protection of human rights.
The PNP-POP states that the checkpoint must be led by an officer with the rank of at least Police Inspector; must have officially marked vehicles with blinkers turned on; must be manned by policemen wearing the prescribed PNP uniform and must have a presentable appearance; and must be placed in well and properly-lit areas with a noticeable signage bearing the name of the PNP unit visible displayed in the checkpoint site to prevent any apprehension from the public of the existence of the same.
It says that the team leader has the responsibility to check if his men are in the prescribed uniform, meaning, the policemen conducting the checkpoint shall display their nameplates at all times. If wearing a jacket, the flap of the jacket bearing their names should also be displayed.
Likewise, the equipment will include but not limited to the following: marked patrol vehicles; firearms with basic load of ammunition; handheld and vehicle base radios; flashlights; megaphone; video camera; and warning signs like Slowdown Checkpoint Ahead, Checkpoint 20 Meters Ahead, etc.
Officials said that the general public must be aware of the following rules on military/police checkpoints which are being intensified.