Sunday, September 5, 2010

Total gun ban eyed for polls

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will soon
meet with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP) to discuss whether or not a total gun ban should
be re-imposed in connection with the Oct. 25 barangay and Sangguniang
Kabataan polls.

Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said that during the command
conference, the three agencies would tackle how election-related
violence could be minimized.

He said the implementation of a total gun ban is the primary strategy
that they are looking at.

“We may have the command conference either next week or the week after
that. We’ll then decide if we have to implement a total gun ban
again,” he said.

The Comelec imposed the total gun ban for the May 10 local and
national polls, and it is believed that it helped in the reduction of
violence during this period.

According to Comelec Chairman Jose Melo, the poll body is leaning
toward a total gun ban and they would make it known to the PNP and the
AFP during the meeting.

“It was the first time that a total gun ban was imposed during the May
2010 elections and I think it was effective. So most likely, we’ll
impose that again,” Melo said.

Meantime, as preparations are underway for the synchronized barangay
and SK elections, environmentalists advised local candidates to wage a
no frills and garbage-free campaign.

Leaders of the EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watchdog,
exhorted all aspirants to campaign “green” as the Comelec announced
last Tuesday the calendar of activities in connection with the
upcoming polls.

As per Comelec Resolution 9019, candidates may file their certificates
of candidacy from Oct. 1 to 13, and may campaign from Oct. 14 to 23.

“As frontline leaders in building clean and healthy neighborhoods, we
expect those seeking barangay and youth council positions to set a
good example in green leadership and governance by campaigning simply
and ecologically,” said Roy Alvarez, president of EcoWaste Coalition.

“Instead of wasting resources for excessive campaign leaflets, posters
and banners that will likely end up as trash, why not mount a more
personal campaign that will foster better connection between the
candidates and the grassroots?” Alvarez suggested.

He said “no frills, house-to-house calls, street corner chats,
‘palengke’ and ‘barbero’ visits and meetings with different
neighborhood associations are effective means for reaching out and
informing voters about the candidates’ credentials and plans.”


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