DILG Central News
DILG recommends 30-day region-wide gun ban in ARMM, five nearby non-ARMM province and citiesJune 25, 2012
The Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary will recommend to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) the imposition of a 30-day region-wide “gun ban” at the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), including five nearby non-ARMM province and cities, to maintain peace and order and ensure clean and free general re-listing of voters from July 9 to July 18, 2012.
“There is a need to impose a strict gun ban during the July 9 to 18 ARMM general voters’ registration. There will be no exception to this and we will arrest and file charges against those caught violating the ban. We will deploy sufficient police and military personnel to ensure that the gun ban is imposed and implemented in all areas during the ARMM general voters’ registration,” Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo said.
He said the proposed gun ban will be imposed ten (10) days before and ten (10) days after the registration period, and all Permits to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence (PTCFORs) issued by the PNP to civilians and other government personnel shall likewise be suspended during said period.
“The gun ban, under our proposal, will also be imposed in non-ARMM cities that include Cotabato City in Maguindanao, Isabela City in Basilan, Zamboanga City and Iligan City and the whole province of Sultan Kudarat. This is to prevent private armed groups and political warlords from using these places as ‘staging areas’ for whatever evil designs they have in mind during the registration period,” Robredo said.
DILG chief aired his proposal during the 2-day (June 19-20, 2012) ARMM Local Government Units Convention on Local Governance held in Davao City which was attended by President Benigno S. Aquino, ARMM OIC Gov. Mujiv Hataman and his officials, the five governors and more than 140 mayors from ARMM, Comelec representatives, and top security officials in the region.
Robredo said all politicians in the region, particularly the incumbent governors and mayors, will not be exempt or spared from the gun ban, and only those who have “validated threat assessments” issued by the Philippine National Police will be accorded at least two uniformed police security escorts during the gun ban period.
Aside from the Comelec personnel assigned in the 1,154 established registration/voting centers in ARMM, the poll body will also deploy 928 Augmentation Election Officers (AEOs) together with their respective Voting Registration Machines (VRM) from non-ARMM provinces to complete the one Election Officer per registration center who would capture the biometrics of registrants which include their pictures, fingerprints and signatures.
Robredo said the Comelec’s VRM data base is capable of registering 50 million voter registrants and can easily determine those who have registered more than twice during the registration period. “Flying voters or unqualified registrants would be arrested and charged in court if they are caught attempting or have successfully registered twice or more for violation of the Omnibus Election Code.”
There are 1,778,817 million ARMM voters recorded by the Comelec as of April 8, 2011, and the figures include 179,811 voters in Basilan; 341,536 in Sulu; 167,610 in Tawi-Tawi; 567, 443 in Maguindanao; and 522,417 voters in Lanao del Sur.
Basilan has 12 cities and municipalities with 210 barangays and 169 voting centers; Sulu has 19 municipalities with 410 barangays and 87 voting centers; Tawi-Tawi has 11 towns with 203 barangays and 184 voting centers; Maguindanao with 36 towns with 508 barangays and 469 voting centers; and Lanao del Sur with 40 towns, 1,159 barangays with 246 voting centers.
During the ARMM conference in Davao City, incumbent local chief executives in the ARMM all pledged to cooperate with President Aquino’s efforts to reform the region’s bureaucracy and ensure there would be no registration of flying voters and underage residents during next month’s general voters’ registration.
The Comelec has already issued a resolution deputizing the PNP and AFP for the voters’ registration and they are under orders to tightly guard the registration sites to prevent armed groups or political warlords from illegally intervening and manipulating the listing of voters in their favor.
Hataman, chairman of the ARMM’s inter-agency regional peace and order council, earlier expressed apprehension over possible attempts by private armed groups and political warlords to “import “ flying voters in their areas and interfere in the 10-day voters’ registration in the region.
The Comelec has earlier disclosed that there were about 300,000 multiple registrants in the area, mostly listed in far-flung precincts in towns where political rivalry is intense.