Police says over 7,000 loose firearms in Maguindanao

Bai

Local officials of Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao attend peace and order council meeting at the municipal hall

DATU UNSAY, Maguindanao — March 5 –Government security forces said Sunday more than 7,000 unlicensed firearms, excluding those from the Moro islamic Liberation Front, are in the hands of people that shouldn’t have guns in Maguindanao.

Army Captain Arvin John Encinas, military’s 6th Division spokesman, said the figures was based based on the records provided to them by Maguindanao provincial police commander Senior Supt. Agustin Tello.

Local officials of Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao attend peace and order council meeting at the municipal hall

Local officials of Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao attend peace and order council meeting at the municipal hall on March 2, 2018. (Photo by Mark Navales)

 

Encinas said the military, police and local officials have intensified their “Balik Baril” Program in support to the campaign against loose firearms.

“The weapons from the MILF are technically illegal but we have ongoing peace talks so they are not allowed to bring their weapons outside their camps,” Encinas said.

Encinas said several municipal officials in Maguidanao have already responded in their campaign as Martial Law is still in effect in the region until December 2018.

The latest was in this town where town mayor Reshal Ampatuan led the turnover of 15 high-powered weapons that were surrendered to them by residents.

The guns include one M-16 rifle, 3 Garand rifles; 3 shotgun, 2 .45 caliber pistols; and 3 Uzi.

“We directed our village officials to help our authorities in the campaign. These guns have been used and was source of criminalities. I hope other residents in our town who have unlicensed guns to surrender to our police and military,” she said.

On February 27, residents of the municipalities of Buldon, Parang, Matanaog and Barira in Maguindanao also surrendered a total of 88 high and low powered loose firearms.

Bai

Bai Reshal Ampatuan (L), Mayor of Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao, looks to weapons surrendered by her villagers to authorities. (Photo by Mark Navales) 

Also last month, soldiers belonging to 40th Infantry Battalion manning a checkpoint in the village of Milib in Sultan sa Barongis town intercepted amred members of the MILF led by commander Orly Gampong.

Troops confiscated 24 weapons tat include 18 M16 armalite rifles; five M14 rifle; one M203 grenade launcher rifle; and assorted ammunition from them as they have no prior coordination with local authorities.

“We are making substantial accomplishments in our heightened operations to recover loose firearms in our bid to demilitarize armed groups and support the presidential campaign for security and development in Mindanao,” said Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command.

“Notwithstanding this operational success, our forces will sustain its offensives against threat groups and will continue to employ a diplomatic approach in calling for the involvement of local officials and other partners for peace,” he added. (End)

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