From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 5): Civilians continue to yield loose arms in Maguindanao
PAGALUNGAN GUNS. Mayor Vicman Montawal (right) of Datu Montawal town hands over a rifle to Colonel Alfredo Rosario Jr, chief of the military’s 602nd Infantry Brigade during turn over ceremonies of loose firearms on Wednesday. (602nd Brigade photo)
PAGALUNGAN, Maguindanao – A total of 75 firearms from civilians in this town and adjacent Datu Montawal municipality were turned over to the military on Wednesday, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID) said.
Lt. Colonel Gerry Besana, spokesperson of the 6ID Task Force Central, said the assorted high-powered firearms were turned over by Mayor Vicman Montawal of Datu Montawal town and Mayor Salik Mamasabulod of Pagalungan, both in Maguindanao, to Colonel Alfredo Rosario Jr, commander of the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade and Lt. Colonel Ciriaco Lomas-e Jr, chief of the Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion, respectively.
The surrender of guns was part of the local Balik Baril Program of the adjoining municipalities in support to the Army’s campaign against loose firearms.
Mamasabulod handed over 45 assorted firearms that included grenade launchers, sub-machine guns, assault rifles, cal. 50 Barrett sniper rifles, rifle grenades, mortar and homemade shotguns.
“We support the program of President Rodrigo Duterte. It’s better not to carry guns. You become angrier when you lose your temper. No matter how you would control yourself, somehow you could not resist once you have your gun with you,” Mamasabulod said.
On the other hand, Montawal turned in 30 assorted homemade and original war materials that included grenade launchers, M-14 and M-16 rifles, cal. 45 pistols and home-made grenade launchers.
“I am looking forward that there will be more loose firearms to be surrendered to show that we are in full support of the program of President Duterte,” Montawal said.
Col. Rosario Jr. also believes that more firearms will be surrendered in the future as he challenged all leaders to participate in this program of government.
“All of you barangay captains are considered as the cutting edge for you operate from the ground. You know who are those who have unlicensed firearms and those who don’t have any firearms at all,” Rosario said.
Major Gen. Arnel dela Vega, 6th ID chief and commander of Task Force Central, has expressed his elation on the gesture of the local officials.
“We are glad that the local chief executives of Maguindanao have shown their full support on this Balik Baril program of the government. It is our thrusts to see that all communities will be in peace and harmony knowing that no more firearms will be used against any member of our community,” Dela Vega said.
Only last month, residents of Mamasapano, Pagalungan, Datu Montawal and Shariff Aguak, all of Maguindanao, also surrendered a total of 113 loose firearms.