Follow SONA gun ban or face raps, PNP warns arms holders

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

July 15, 2022, 2:37 pm

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday warned all licensed gun owners to refrain from carrying their firearms in Metro Manila from July 22 to 27, where a gun ban will be in effect for the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

"This early, we are already informing the public, particularly gun owners, of the implementation of the gun ban in the National Capital Region for their information and guidance in order to avoid any legal trouble," PNP director for operations, Maj. Gen. Valeriano de Leon said in a statement.

He added that violators will face consequences that include suspension or even perpetual disqualification from owning a firearm, aside from criminal charges.

De Leon, who served as former chief of the PNP Firearms and Explosive Office, earlier warned that he would personally make sure that gun ban violators are punished accordingly for disregarding the rules and regulations of the PNP.

He explained that since owning a firearm is a privilege being extended by the government to citizens, those who have been granted such a privilege are duty-bound to obey the law and the rules and regulations of the PNP, including the implementation of the gun ban.

De Leon then appealed for understanding over the implementation of the gun ban, noting that it is necessary to maximize security measures to protect the President and other officials attending the SONA.

Marcos is scheduled to deliver his SONA on July 25 at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City, where he is expected to lay down his plans to improve the country’s economic condition and the lives of Filipinos.

"We have contingency planning for all scenarios that may happen in big events like SONA. That is why we are really preparing for all major events where all possibilities are considered, "said de Leon.

At least 15,000 policemen, soldiers, and other force multipliers from various government agencies will be tapped to secure the SONA, which includes traffic rerouting and dealing with protesters.

The PNP will also create a task force to oversee the implementation of the SONA security measures. (PNA)