By Arwen Pascua
MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) reminded firearms owners of the start of the gun ban implementation in Metro Manila, which started at 12:01 today, July 22, as part of the security measures for the July 25 (Monday) State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.
Maj. Gen. Valeriano De Leon, PNP Director for Operations, said the gun ban implementation, which will last until July 27, comes with the activation of the Task Force Manila Shield.
“We are asking for understanding from the public for the implementation of the strict security measures in Metro Manila starting today.”
“These security measures are necessary to ensure the safety of everyone, especially since our Commander-in-Chief, President Bongbong Marcos, will discuss his plans for the country on Monday,” said De Leon.
The activation of Task Force Manila Shield, according to De Leon, means setting up more checkpoints at the borders of Metro Manila, especially in Quezon City areas where President Marcos will deliver his SONA at the Batasang Pambansa.
22K PNP personnel deployed
Almost 22,000 police personnel and force multipliers are expected to secure the SONA. Their tasks include the maintenance of peace and order and ensuring the smooth flow of traffic.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has already released its traffic rerouting plan for Monday to advise motorists and commuters of their travel plans in order to avoid inconveniences.
As to the implementation of the gun ban, De Leon warned firearms owners to follow its implementation, which was approved by PNP OIC PLTGEN VICENTE DANAO, JR.
“As responsible gun owners, you have the obligation to follow the rules and orders, especially those coming from the PNP, in order for you to avoid legal trouble and other consequences,” said De Leon.
De Leon earlier warned that licensed firearms owners who are caught violating the gun ban may lose their privilege to own firearms perpetually.
He added that gun ban implementation will also benefit Metro Manila residents, especially since firearms, especially unlicensed ones, are usually the main instrument in the commission of a crime.
Meanwhile, De Leon urged organizers of protest actions for the Monday SONA to cooperate with the security measures in order to prevent disturbance of traffic flow and public order on major roads in Quezon City.
“We have designated freedom parks where they can hold their activities even without permits.” This is our way of recognizing their rights to assemble and air whatever their concerns are, “said De Leon.
But if they go out of the designated freedom parks, we have no option but to take corresponding police action. But we assure them that we will exercise maximum tolerance as instructed by our PNP OIC, PLTGEN DANAO, “he added. (ai/mtvn)