CHECKPOINT. Authorities have seized some 658 assorted firearms and deadly weapons in Central Luzon since the start of the election gun ban this year. Of the total, 164 various firearms and 494 deadly weapons including explosives were seized at Commission on Elections checkpoints, while 171 individuals were arrested. (File photo courtesy of PRO-3)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – At least 658 assorted firearms and deadly weapons have been confiscated by authorities in Central Luzon since the start of the election gun ban last January 9.

Brig. Gen. Matthew P. Baccay, regional director of the Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3), said on Tuesday to date, a total of 164 various firearms and 494 deadly weapons, including explosives, were seized during the Commission on Elections (Comelec) checkpoint operations.

Authorities also nabbed 171 individuals, he said.

Baccay instructed provincial and city police directors in the region to intensify security measures for peaceful national and local elections on May 9.

He also urged the public to cooperate with authorities at checkpoints as he assured that police personnel will observe the proper policies and procedures in upholding their basic rights.

When passing through a checkpoint, motorists are advised to slow down, dim their headlights and turn on their cabin lights and answer promptly if asked by police authorities.

“I have also reminded our personnel to be courteous to motorists and to adhere to general guidelines prescribed in our Revised Police Operational Procedures,” he said in a social media post.

Based on Comelec Resolution No. 10728, the bearing, carrying, or transporting of firearms or deadly weapons are prohibited outside of the residence and in all public places from January 9 until June 8.

Exempted from the ban are law enforcers but they should have authorization from the Comelec and wear an agency-prescribed uniform while on official duty during the election period.

Violators face imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation.

They also face disqualification from holding public office, deprivation of the right of suffrage, and cancellation or perpetual disqualification from securing a gun license. (PNA)