DAVAO CITY— Following the pre-election violence in Maguindanao that killed 57 people, the city council of Davao wanted to impose an early gun ban to prevent the violence from spilling over to the city.
“The violence in Maguindanao happened because some people freely move around with firearms,” said Councilor Nilo Abellera, head of the Davao City Council peace and public safety committee.
The City Council passed under suspended rules two resolutions during Tuesday’s regular session: the first, urging the Commission on Elections to impose the total gun ban starting midnight of December 1, the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy both in the local and national level; and the second, calling on the Philippine National Police and the Task Force Davao to strictly implement the total gun ban in commercial and recreational places.
This means that bearing, carrying and transporting of firearms or other deadly weapons during campaign period will no longer be allowed.
Under the Comelec’s calendar of activities, the gun ban is supposed to start on January 10 of next year.
Lawyer Danilo Cullo, election officer of the city election office in the first district, said a total gun ban will be imposed if the public interest requires. But he said the Comelec office would still wait for the decision of their national office in Manila before it can adopt the city council’s proposal. Cullo said that it is the Comelec’s committee on firearms and security personnel in Manila that will approve or disapprove applications for gun ban.
But he said that a total gun ban in the city will be a great help to lessen the violence that might erupt, following the election-related incident in Maguindanao.
He said that once a total gun ban takes effect, no one will be given ‘special treatment.’ Only men in uniforms who are in their actual exercise of duty and those who have been given permits by the Comelec will be allowed to carry firearms, he said.
Fears of possible spill over of the Maguindanao violence in the city are spreading as both the Ampatuans and the Mangundadatu’s have residences in some of the city’s posh villages. Some of the children of both clans are also studying in the city’s prominent schools.
Mayor Duterte already called an emergency meeting on Monday to prevent the possible escalation of violence as a result of the carnage that killed 57 people in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao.
Duterte had earlier placed the entire city under red alert and ordered the Task Force Davao to come up with a contingency plan to prevent a possible spill-over of the violence in Maguindanao to Davao city.
A six-vehicle convoy of the Mangundadatu group, led by the wife of Buluan vice mayor Ismael Mangundadatu and some media people were on their way to Shariff Aguak town of Maguindanao to file the certificate of candidacy of her husband when they were blocked and massacred by armed men in Barangay Salman in Ampatuan town.
The resulting carnage shocked the world, prompting groups to pressure the reluctant Arroyo administration to deal firmly on its closest political ally. (Grace S. Uddin/ davaotoday.com)