PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Dionardo B. Carlos yesterday assured the citizenry they are conducting a strict screening of persons applying for exemptions to the 150-day nationwide gun ban to ensure that only qualified individuals will get the nod of the Commission on Elections’ Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Concerns.
Amid his order for his men to strictly enforce the gun ban across the country from January 9 to June 8 this year, the PNP chief said they are also tightly screening gun ban applicants before they can be issued a Certificate of Authority by the Comelec.
The move is part of their effort to ensure a peaceful holding of the May 9, 2022 national and local elections amid the new normal brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.
Carlos explained that the applications for gun ban exemption will undergo stringent screening that may take several days to process according to the procedures of the Comelec.
“We would like to make it clear that following the submission of application, it will undergo a process including threat assessment which shall be determined together with the members of the Joint Security and Coordinating Council (JCSS),” Carlos said.
The Comelec said it will issue authority to bear, carry or transport firearms or deadly weapons to qualified individuals provided they pass all requirements.
The Certificate of Authority will include those to be given to Law Enforcement Agencies, Diplomatic Mission, Security Agencies, Cashier/Disbursing Officer and High-Risk Individual or HRIs.
HRIs include public officials, justices and judges, public prosecutors, former public officials and others whose nature of work and profession are considered dangerous and exposes them to danger everyday.
HRIs from private companies are required to submit a certificate of employment, description of and proof that the nature of his official duties, profession, business or occupation puts him at high-risk, a company-issued identification card and a form with the firearms’ description and registration data including the applicant’s License to Own and Possess Firearm, Firearm’s Registration and Permit-to-Carry-Firearms-Outside-of-Residence which should be valid within the election period.
The applicant should also present a Threat Assessment from the PNP Directorate for Intelligence or the Regional Director of the Police Regional Office where he resides and an endorsement/certification from the PNP chief.
Comelec has already released the flow of process during the gun ban exemption application:
1. It will start by accomplishing the digitized application thru MS forms and the hard copies of the same shall be sent to the Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel (CBFSP) with a self-addressed prepaid return envelope;
2. MS Forms generate notification email to the applicant and CBFSP;
3. CBFSC secretariat shall access the file containing the list of submitted applications received and download the same including the attachments;
4. CBFSC conducts a pre-evaluation of the documents;
5. If documents are complete, the secretariat assigns an application number and computes for the Administrative Processing Fee, if applicable. If it lacks document/s, the applicant will be asked to remedy defects or re-submit the application;
6. If there is no documentary concern, the secretariat shall send an email to the applicant with order of payment and instructions on how to pay the fee. The application shall be forwarded to the AFP, PNP and CBFSC for the start of the evaluation process;
7. CBFSP Secretariat transmits thru email the application together with all the documentary requirements to the respective evaluating units of the AFP, PNP and CBFSC. The application will be evaluated simultaneously within three (3) working days from receipt;
8. CBFSC consolidating team shall collate the results of the evaluation;
9. CBFSC overall supervisor submits recommendation to the CBFSC; and
10. If approved, CBFSC secretariat will prepare the Certificate of Authority to be signed by the CFBSC chairperson and the PNP, AFP counterparts. If denied, the applicant will be given a Notice of Denial.
Carlos said the PNP unit that will assist in the threat assessment will base the merits of the application if there is clear and present danger that will put the life of the applicant in high risk.
“The PNP will assist in the issuance of threat assessment and will endorse the approval to grant to application, through the Joint Security and Control Center (JSCC), if it is deemed urgent and necessary,” he said.
The Comelec started accepting applications for the issuance of the Certification of Authority last December 1 until May 25, 2022.
The filing of application may be done online through the Comelec official website: www.comelec.gov.ph.
The requirements for the application are the following: CBFSC Form No. 2022-06 downloadable at Comelec website; 2×2 photograph; Threat assessment; and CBFSC Form No. 2022A-06DA (Certified by the concerned government agency.
Under Comelec Resolution 10728, the poll body has set regulations on the ban on the Bearing, Carrying or Transporting of Firearms or Other Deadly Weapons; and Employment, Availment or Engagement of the Services of Security Personnel or Bodyguards from January 9 to June 8, 2022.
All the political aspirants will be informed through a letter that their security detail will be recalled, said PNP spokesperson, Colonel Roderick Augustus B. Alba.
Exempted from the recall of security detail are the following government officials namely; President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Secretary of National Defense, Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, Chairman and Commissioners of Comelec, Chief of Staff and Major Service Commanders of the Armed Forces and the PNP chief and senior PNP officers.
Gen. Carlos has ordered the strict enforcement of the 150-day nationwide ban on the unauthorized carrying of firearms and other deadly weapons in line with their effort to arrest the presence of tools of violence during the conduct of the 2022 national and local elections.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director, Major Gen. Vicente D. Danao Jr. assured the public that they will be very strict in implementing the gun ban in the metropolis as he called on everyone to be responsible in ensuring that the firearms they carry is duly-licensed and covered with gun ban exemption permits from the poll body.