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Election gun ban will officially start Sept. 28, says Comelec

By Alvin Murcia
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday disclosed that the ban on carrying firearms and employing security personnel in public will officially begin on Sept. 28 as it will be the start of the election period in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections on Oct. 28.
Because of this, the poll body also declared in an en banc resolution that gun owners that were given exemption on the May 13 mid-term elections will enjoy the privilege of carrying their guns outside of their residence during the conduct of the SK and barangay elections without renewing their permits.
The resolution effectively extended the validity of the gun ban exemptions earlier granted to politicians, private individuals and companies in the just-concluded national elections.
But the poll body said that it doesn’t automatically gave permission to companies to hire security personnel even if they were given exemptions during the May 13 elections because they still have to file an application for the purpose.
The applications that were approved for employment, availment and engagement in the last elections will be subject for renewal, the poll body said.
However, the process for the reapplication will not be difficult as what was observed in the last elections.
If those who applied for exemption to hire security personnel in the last elections has the complete required documents they won’t spend a long time to renew their exemption.
On the other hand, Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia said that the poll body decided to extend the validity of the exemptions given to some qualified individuals and groups in order for the (Comelec) to save money as their budget that was allotted by the House of Representatives is not that big.
Earlier, the Comelec had asked the different local government units to shell out 10 percent of their budget in a resolution so they can augment the budget given to them by the Department of Budget and Management as approved by Congress.
Because of the so-called shoe-string budget the poll body think of a strategy to conserve their resources like the extension of the gun ban exemptions.
Under the provision of the resolution on the gun ban that was issued in the last mid-term elections anybody that include some 38 groups are not allowed to carry their firearms outside of their residence during the election period.
Those excluded from the exemption included the President and several government offices, such as the Offices of the Vice President, the secretary of Interior and Local Government, the National Defense, agents of the Bureau of Corrections, members of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

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