The Philippine National Police is banking on the conduct of Comelec checkpoints to help address the proliferation of guns that maybe used to coerce voters, in line with the May 13 elections.
Senior Supt. Romeo Baleros, officer-in-charge of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, yesterday said that they are conducting Comelec checkpoints 24 hours a day, to prevent the carrying of guns.
Six persons, including three security guards, have been arrested by the police for gun ban violations in Negros Occidental, which include four in Bacolod City.
Baleros said they have not monitored the existence of any private armed groups or those maintained by politicians.
The checkpoints are aimed at checking on persons riding in tandem on motorcycles, who are also usually involved in the commission of crimes, citing the latest incidents in Hinigaran and Bago City, where motorcycle riders were suspects, Baleros added.
In the campaign against loose firearms, Chief Inspector Mary Rose Salve Pico, NOCPPO Operations chief, reported yesterday that 821 firearms and 25 explosives were accounted for last year in Negros Occidental.
In the same period, 207 were arrested for illegal possession of firearms, Pico added.
This was on top of 1,158 firearms with expired licenses surrendered by licensed gun holders, she also said.
As to places in Negros Occidental that may be included in the EWAS (Election Watchlist Areas) list, Baleros said they are still in the process of validation, using the election related violent incidents in three previous elections, including the period from 2013 to 2016.
They may able to come up with a list as soon as the campaign period starts, he said.
Baleros called on the candidates to let the people select their new leaders, and respect the rights of suffrage of every citizen.
If we are aspiring for a peaceful election, Baleros also said that everybody should cooperate with the authorities, he said.*
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