By Filane Mikee Cervantes

CHECKPOINT. Quezon City Police District personnel operate at a checkpoint along Luzon Avenue in Quezon City on Aug. 28, 2023 for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections. Increased police visibility, checkpoints and gun bans are to be carried out until Nov. 29. (PNA file photo by Joey O. Razon)

MANILA – A party-list lawmaker on Thursday urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to set up more visible gun ban checkpoints and conduct gun safety checks at campaign rallies, house-to-house sorties, and motorcades.

Ang Probinsiyano Party-list Rep. Alfred Delos Santos made the call amid the election-related violence reported ahead of the Oct. 30 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE).

“Ikinalulungkot natin ang mga insidente ng karahasan, pamamaril, pati na rin mga aksidente ng mga motorcade sa kasalukuyang kampanya para sa Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (We are saddened by the incidents of violence, shootings, and motorcade accidents during the current campaign period for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections),” Delos Santos said.

“Hindi kailangang humantong sa ganyan ang kampanya. Kung kampanya pa lang maling ehemplo na agad ang ipinapakita sa taumbayan, paano pa kaya kapag nasa katungkulan na sila? (This is not how campaigns should be done. If they set a horrible example during the campaign, imagine what they will do if they actually get their positions?),” he said.

He noted that some motorcade accidents have become “deadly” for bystanders, as he stressed that safety checks on the vehicles and the drivers must be done before and even during the motorcades.

In its latest data, the police force said the number of validated election-related incidents (ERIs) climbed to 23 as of Thursday, out of a total of 129 cases it has recorded nationwide.

Undergoing validation are 29 incidents while another 77 were classified as unrelated to the polls, it added.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said the total number of validated ERIs for this year’s BSKE is still lower than 40 validated ERIs recorded in the last village polls in 2018.

Since the start of the election period last Aug. 28, Fajardo said the PNP has conducted intensified checkpoint operations supervised by local Comelec officers where a total of 1,393 firearms were seized from 1,785 arrested gun ban violators as of Oct. 24.

The PNP has also accepted 1,590 surrendered firearms and another 2,269 firearms deposited for safekeeping.

The election period will end on Nov. 29. (PNA)