TOWN EXECUTIVES of Datu Salibo in Maguindanao turned over to the military on Wednesday 13 loose firearms they collected from local residents.
Col. Joel Abregana, the Army’s 601st Brigade deputy commander, said among the firearms handed over by Datu Salibo Mayor Norodin Salasal were one Barrett sniper rifle, one rocket-propelled grenade launcher, an M14 rifle, an Uzi machine pistol, seven M79 grenade launchers, and two handguns.
Witnessing the turnover rites, held during a municipal peace and order council meeting, were Senior Supt. Ronald Briones, Maguindanao police officer-in-charge, Datu Salibo Vice Mayor Ingkong Mamantal, and the town’s 17 barangay captains.
“The owners of the weapons decided to surrender not only to support the government campaign against loose firearms but also to avoid being charged with illegal possession of firearms,” Salasal said.
Lt. Col. James Fernando, commander of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion in the area, said the voluntary handover of loose firearms “is one of the good signs of promoting peace in Datu Salibo and the society as well.”
Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, lauded military and local officials of Datu Salibo for their cooperation in ridding the area of loose firearms.
Wednesday’s turnover activity was the third time that Datu Salibo formally handed over loose firearms to authorities. Last year, town officials also facilitated the surrender to authorities of 10 and 12 loose firearms on March 5 and October 2, respectively.
As of this posting, a total of 1,990 firearms have so far been recovered and handed over to the 6th ID, whose area of responsibility covers the whole of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, part of North Cotabato and part of Lanao del Sur provinces. (Noel Punzalan)
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