Friday, June 26, 2020

Maguindanao town turns over loose firearms to military

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 26, 2020): Maguindanao town turns over loose firearms to military (By Edwin Fernandez)

SURRENDERED GUNS. Col. Rico Jesus Atencio (left), commander of the Army’s 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion, inspects one of the rifles surrendered by the local government of Datu Unsay, Maguindanao as Mayor Datu Andal Ampatuan V looks on. The local government unit turned over nine assorted firearms collected from unlicensed gun holders in the area. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Officials of a conflict-affected town in Maguindanao on Thursday turned over nine assorted firearms to the military in support of the government’s campaign against loose guns.

Datu Andal Ampatuan V of Datu Unsay, Maguindanao, led the handover of the rifles to 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade (1MBde) chief, Col. Jesus Rico Atencio, in ceremonies held at the town’s conference hall.

The local government collected the guns, among them a .50-caliber Barret sniper’s rifle, an M79 grenade launcher, and rocket-propelled grenades, from villagers who were not authorized to possess firearms.

Atencio lauded the local officials and urged them to continue collecting firearms from unauthorized gun owners so they would not be subjected to law enforcement operations.

"You may gather big or small guns, what is important is we collaborate and work together for the attainment of peace in our communities,” he said during the turnover ceremony.

“Winning the peace is not a one man's job but rather a collaborative activity to be participated by all the government agencies and peace-loving people.”

Datu Unsay has been frequently rocked by violence due to clan wars and harassment by the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters against civilians and government forces.

Since 2019, more than 3,000 assorted guns have been collected by the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, the mother unit of the 1MBde, under its disarmament campaign in its area of operation in Central Mindanao.

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