PHILIPPINE police set up almost 2,000 checkpoints nationwide as an election gun ban took effect on Sunday.

The checkpoints manned by 14,000 policemen, soldiers and election officials seek to enforce the gun ban in a country that is notorious for election-related violence.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) prohibits firearms and other deadly weapons from Jan. 9 to June 8, national police chief General Dionardo B. Carlos said.

Under the Comelec order, police will suspend all permits to carry guns issued to licensed gun holders, legal entities and law enforcers. Only police and soldiers on duty may carry guns. No one may carry firearms in public places unless they have a permit from the election body.

Under the law, police and other law enforcers as well as election officials may apply for exemption from the ban. Security personnel of foreign diplomatic corps, missions and agencies under international law, security agencies and high-risk people may also apply.

Body guards and those involved in the transport or delivery of firearms, ammunition and explosives and sports shooters may also seek exemption.

The checkpoints were randomly placed, Comelec Regional Director Maria Juana Valeza said at the launch of the nationwide gun ban in Cainta, Rizal. Violators face jail time or may be barred from voting, she said.

Citizens can refuse a check of the compartment of their vehicles by law enforcers in the absence of probable cause.

Mr. Carlos said he had yet to receive any reports of “major incidents” during the first six hours of the gun ban.

Police at checkpoints would also enforce coronavirus health protocols, said Brigadier General Eliseo Cruz, director of the Calabarzon police. He asked the public for understanding in case the checkpoints cause heavy traffic.

Election Commissioner Ma. Rowena V. Guanzon on Sunday tweeted that she was the first to be given an exemption certificate. She thanked Election Commissioner Antonio T. Kho, Jr. on Twitter for approving her exemption.

“The gun ban starts on Jan. 9,” Ms. Guanzon tweeted. “The first certificate of authority to carry or transport a firearm is mine.”

Violators of the gun ban face a jail term of as long as six years, permanent disqualification from holding public office, being stripped of their right to vote and deportation for foreigners after they have served their prison term.