Two more unlicensed firearms were surrendered on Tuesday to the Army’s 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion bringing to a total of 129 guns that were turned over to the authorities in this province, the military reported here.
“This is an indication the owners of unlicensed guns in Maguindanao are cooperating (with the authorities),” Capt. Arvin John Encinas, Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID) spokesperson, said on Wednesday.
The latest civilians who responded to the disarmament campaign of the 6th Infantry Division were residents of Bulod, Sultan Sa Barongis, one of the conflict-affected towns in this province.
Encinas said the firearms consisting of caliber .50 “Barret” Sniper Rifle and an M-14 rifle with magazine and ammunition were turned over by Bulod Chair Mochie Biang to the Army’s 14th Mechanized Company of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion stationed in Barangay Cebu, Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat.
Biang did not identify the owners of the two high-powered firearms.
Maj. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, 6th Infantry Division commander, said that to date, a total of 129 unlicensed guns from the hands of the civilians in Maguindanao have been turned over to the military authorities.
Dela Vega lauded the cooperation of Biang even as he appealed to other residents who still possess unlicensed guns to peacefully surrender them in compliance with the implementation of Martial Law here in Mindanao.
Army intelligence operatives placed the number of loose firearms in Mindanao to about 50,000 including those in the hands of Moro rebels and Daesh-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
“We will continue our relentless campaign against loose firearms to reduce the number of violence triggered by armed Moro residents who figured in clan war,” Dela Vega said.
Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force Central was able to collect 238 firearms last week in four coastal towns of Lanao del Sur and three adjoining municipalities in this province.
Of the total, 147 were collected from the officials of the towns of Picong, Kapatagan, Malabang, and Balabagan in Lanao Sur and the remaining 88 from the three adjoining municipalities of Matanog, Buldon and Barira, this province. (PNA)