WITH the nationwide gun ban in effect until June 12, Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde has ordered the establishment of strong checkpoints in strategic locations across the country to intercept guns, explosives and other instruments of violence as well as illegal security personnel that may mar the holding of peaceful, credible and fair midterm elections this coming May 13.
Through PNP Deputy Chief for Operations Deputy Director General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, Gen Albayalde ordered all 17 Police Regional Directors to launch simultaneous checkpoint operations for the midterm elections pursuant to Comelec Resolution No. 10468.
The PNP memorandum directed all PNP Regional Directors to establish at least one checkpoint in each of the country’s 1,600 cities and municipalities in coordination with the local Comelec officer and the Armed Forces in the area.
Gen. Albayalde assured that all safeguards are in place to ensure that there will be no human rights violations to be committed by the police as they enforce the ban on the unauthorized carrying of firearms and other weapons this year.
He also said they will also strictly enforce the Comelec resolution banning candidates including incumbent officials from maintaining reaction forces or employing unauthorized bodyguards during the election period.
The PNP chief also has ordered the recall of all policemen assigned as security personnel to candidates in the May polls and other VIPs in the wake of the nationwide 150-day gun ban.
The poll body has prohibited during the election period the carrying of firearms outside the immediate vicinity of his place of work; and bars any person to organize or maintain reaction forces, strike force or similar forces during the period.
Gen. Abayalde said that police are also going after thousands of firearms whose licenses were not renewed by their owners including those acquired by some governors and mayors for use by their security men and barangay officials.
He also emphasized that police will fully enforce the nationwide gun ban imposed by the Comelec and ensure that only members of the PNP, the Armed Forces and other law enforcement agencies in their prescribed uniform and conducting official duties will be allowed to bear arms in public during the gun ban period.
The PNP is also intensifying its conduct of the so-called ‘Oplan Katok,’ checkpoints and Oplan: Bakal in search for unregistered firearms that could be used as an instrument of violence during the election period, said PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Benigno B. Durana Jr.