(PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said opening the applications for gun ban exemption earlier or several months before the Aug. 28 start of the election period for the October 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) will give them more time to assess the applications.

Commissioner Aimee Ferolino, chairperson of the poll body's Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Concerns (CBFSC), said they will be accepting applications for gun ban exemption beginning June 5.

"This will ensure that only the right people will have the authority to carry firearms. If we open late, those truly eligible to apply in order to protect themselves won't be able to get their exemptions at the right time. By June 5, we will start accepting applications for Certificates of Authority to carry firearms. For the first time, we will be opening the acceptance of applications earlier," she said in a press briefing.

Based on Comelec Resolution No. 10918, which was promulgated on the filing period for the application for gun ban exemption will be from June 5 until Nov. 15.

Asked if they are expecting an increase in applications amid the recent incidents of violence in the country, she said, "There is no widespread, massive threat we are seeing that would trigger an influx in applications."

Ferolino added that the approval of applications shall not take long if the requirements are complete.

"About one week to a maximum of 15 days upon submission of the complete requirements, it can be approved. It only gets delayed if they lack requirements," she added.

The election period for the upcoming BSKE will run until Nov. 29.

During this period, the poll body prohibits the carrying or bearing of firearms unless it has its approval.

Under the resolution, those who are exempted from the ban are the President of the Philippines, Vice President of the Philippines, Senators, House of Representatives members, judges and justices, Armed Forces of the Philippines senior commanders, Philippine National Police senior officials, Cabinet secretaries and undersecretaries, ombudsman and deputy ombudsmen, state prosecutors and Comelec officials.

Also covered by the exemptions are law enforcement agents, diplomatic missions, security agencies, cashiers and disbursing officers, high risk individuals, sports shooters and security details.

The applications for gun ban exemption shall be initially filed electronically through the poll body’s website, www.comelec.gov.ph and click the gun ban exemption application link. (PNA)