From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 21): N. Cotabato execs turn over 150 loose guns to Army
Surrendered firearms in Matalam, North Cotabato (Photo courtesy of NDBC Kidapawan
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – A total of 150 assorted high-power and low-power guns collected from locals in Matalam, North Cotabato were handed over to the military Wednesday.
Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID), received the firearms from Matalam Mayor Cheryl Catamco during a turn over ceremony held at the town's gymnasium.
“This is our contribution to the campaign of President Duterte against loose firearms in Mindanao,” Catamco said. Catamco said her office and the local police have launched the campaign early this year, reaching out to villages and asking people to voluntarily turn in their unlicensed guns.
Among the surrendered firearms were M16 rifles, M14 rifles, Garand rifles, and handguns. With the number of guns now in the hands of authorities, Catamco expressed hope that cases of violence involving firearms would diminish in her area.
Sobejana lauded the efforts of the local officials and urged other local government units to emulate Matalam and two other North Cotabato towns that turned over loose guns to the military in the past. Matalam became the third local government unit that gathered loose guns in its area of jurisdiction and handed over to the military.
In March, the town of Carmen handed over to the Army more than 200 loose firearms collected from residents. In May, local officials of Midsayap town also yielded to the military 119 assorted guns in support of the government’s disarmament program.
Also on Wednesday, local officials of Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao, turned over during simple ceremonies, which were attended by Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, a total of 24 assorted firearms to the military.
Capt. Arvin John Encinas, 6ID spokesperson, said several towns in Lanao del Sur are also scheduled to surrender loose firearms this week.