(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The Philippine National Police (PNP) has set up checkpoints in strategic locations across the country to prevent poll-related violence, as the election period kicks off today.
PNP chief Oscar Albayalde instructed police regional directors to start checkpoint operations in cities and municipalities to intercept guns and explosives and go after armed groups that may sow violence that could affect the credibility of the midterm elections in May.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) had declared that the election period would start on January 13 and end on June 12.
The PNP had listed 18 cities in Ilocos Region and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, particularly Basilan and Lanao area, as election hotspots.
It also proposed that Cotabato City and Daraga in Albay should be placed under the control of the Comelec in light of the bombing and the assassination of AKO Bicol representative Rodel Batocabe, respectively.
Beginning today, the carrying of firearms is prohibited, according to the Comelec.
Also prohibited during the 150-day election period is the transfer or detail of officers and employees in the civil service including public school teachers; organisation and maintenance of reaction forces, strike forces or similar forces; and suspension of any elective provincial, city, municipal or Barangay officers.
'The start of the election period is also the official start of election fever, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said in a news briefing on Friday.
Pursuant to Comelec Resolution 10446, qualified persons and entities may seek exemption to the gun ban and other prohibited acts by applying for the appropriate Certificate of Authority (CA) at the Comelec.
'No person shall bear, carry or transport firearms or deadly weapons outside his residence or place of business, and in all public places, including any building, street, park, and in private vehicles or public conveyances, even if he is licensed or authorised to possess or carry the same, unless authorised by the Commission, Jimenez said.
Also prohibited are the employment, availment or engagement of the services of security personnel or body guards, 'whether or not such security personnel or bodyguards are regular members or officers of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, other law enforcement agency of the government or from a private security service provider, unless authorised by the Commission.
The transport and delivery of firearms and/or its parts, ammunition and explosives is also not allowed.
Up for grabs in the May 2019 elections are 12 positions for senators, 60 party-list seats at the House of Representatives, 243 district congressmen, 81 governors, 81 vice governors , 780 members of the Sanggunian Panlalawigan, 1,634 city/municipal mayors, 1,634 city/municipal vice mayors,13, 544 members of city/municipal council and a governor and a vice governor for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and 24 ARMM assemblymen.
The campaign period for candidates for senator and party-list is from February 12 to May 11. Campaigning is prohibited on March 28, 2019 (Holy Thursday) and March 29, 2019 (Good Friday).
The campaign period for candidates for members of the House of Representatives and regional, provincial, city and municipal officials will be from March 30 to May 11.
The substitution of an official candidate of a political party or coalition who died or was disqualified can be done until midday of election day or May 13, provided that the substitute candidate and the substituted candidate have the same surname.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) warned motorists to prepare for traffic gridlocks at the Elliptical Road in Quezon City today because of the Unity Walk for a fair 2019 elections to be held by various groups.
MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo Garcia Jr yesterday said portions of the Elliptical Road would be temporarily closed as 5,000 participants were expected to join the walk.
The agency said members of religious groups and several civic organisations would start assembling at the Quezon City Hall compound at 4am. At 7am, they would march to the Quezon Memorial Circle. 'Let's avoid passing (by the Elliptical Road) because the Quezon City government and police estimate that at least 5,000 will take part, he told reporters.