Residents surrender more loose guns in Maguindanao

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Loose guns surrendered by residents to military in Rajah Buayan town in Maguindanao. (Photo by Mark Navales)

Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao—Mayor Zamzamin I. Ampatuan of Rajah Buayan declared that his town is peaceful and this Balik Baril Program is symbolic of the culmination of their local peace process.

Twenty Five(25) loose firearms were turn over today at  the Rajah Buayan municipal gymnasium, Twenty Two (22) of those were high powered firearms such as 30 Caliber Machine Gun, 60MM Mortar, Ultimax , M16, M14, M79 and Barrett rifles.

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Residents attend turnover ceremony of loose guns in Rajah Buayan town. (Photo by Mark Navales)

“We have to continue this turning over of loose firearms. We should not wait for the full force of the law. Let us surrender the unlicensed firearms. This will be good for all of us. Let us think on how to live peacefully.” Mayor Zamzamin conveyed.

Mayor Ampatuan encourages everyone who have unlicensed firearms to “use your coconut (brains), return your loose firearms and we will give you coconut seedlings.”

Brigadier General Diosdado C. Carreon, Commanding Officer of 601st Brigade AFP said “those who are returning their firearms are the law abiding citizens. You may possess it but you cannot bring it out. During Martial Law, licenses to carry guns are suspended. Studies show that the root cause of violence in this area is because of so much loose firearms.  “

During the recent 2-day firefight between the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and  troopers of the 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division (6ID), Philippne Army in the nearby marshy town of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, BIFF lost Forty-Four (44) members and Twenty-Six (26) more wounded.

“It only goes to show that the BIFF forces are diminishing. You will not expect that BIFF will turn in their firearms. Only miracle could change their minds to surrender their firearms.  Either they die or surrender. “BGen Carreon stressed.

Due to the recent firefight, residents who fled the area relayed to authorities the massing up of forces of the terrorist group prompting the 601st Infantry Brigade under BGen Carreon to pour in more troops resulting to more skirmish  in Barangay Kitango, Datu Saudi Ampatuan and in Barangay Malangog, Datu Unsay, Maguindanao.

Loose guns surrendered by residents to military in Rajah Buayan town in Maguindanao. (Photo by Mark Navales)

Loose guns surrendered by residents to military in Rajah Buayan town in Maguindanao. (Photo by Mark Navales)

“At the end of the day we still reach out to them, to all the armed groups here. The effort to convince them to peacefully turn themselves in is still there. However, we have to enforce the law.  There is an effort against terrorism and we have to do it.” BGEN Carreon added.“For the meantime we still have to do this gathering of loose firearms or any other peaceful means in order to keep the peace in the area. But if there is a need to fight then we have to operate as such.” Brig. Gen. Carreon warned.

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