By Philippine News Agency
A total of 399 assorted firearms have been collected by police authorities as the government’s disarmament campaign dubbed as “Oplan Katok” is gaining support from all sectors in Region 12.
Oplan Katok is a campaign where the police visit the residence of gun owners with expired license and of suspected holders of loose firearms.
Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales, Police Regional Office-12 (PRO-12) director, formally accepted the firearms in a turnover ceremony held Friday at Camp Amado Dumlao Sr. that houses the headquarters of Sultan Kudarat police provincial office in Isulan town.
“Some of the guns were owned by town mayors, other elected officials and civilians,” Morales said. Most of the guns are rifles.
“The others were collected by the elected officials from their constituents in support to the PNP (Philippine National Police) drive against loose firearms,” Morales added.
Chief Insp. Aldin Gonzales, PRO-12 spokesperson, said the firearms were turned over to the police by the local officials of five towns and and one city of Sultan Kudarat province.
The province comprises of 11 municipalities and one city with Isulan as the capital town.
Gonzales said the firearms turned over by officials of the five towns were as follows: Columbio, eight firearms; Esperanza, 25; Isulan, 20; Lambayong, 129; President Quirino, 56; and, Tacurong City, 161 firearms.
The firearms were deposited at the repository of the Sultan Kudarat police provincial office.
“PRO-12 will issue certification to local government executives as a guarantee their firearms are still under our care,” Morales said.
Morales also assured the local officials who yielded their guns and facing threats in life that they will provide them ample security.
“We are performing our duties and responsibilities.” Morales said, adding the police would ensure all guns in the locality that would be used by the political rivals of the local officials would also be seized as the implementation of Oplan Katok continues.
“In fact the level of threats is decreasing due to our tightened security and target hardening measures,” Morales added.
“We are taking as a ‘lesson learned’ on what happened in Marawi City. We are not sitting down on our duties,” Morales stressed, adding that he required all police units in the region to address issues on peace and order to prevent a Marawi-like scenario.
Morales lauded Senior Supt. Raul Supiter, Sultan Kudarat police provincial director, for leading the campaign in his jurisdiction as well as the local government executives of the who helped them in the campaign agianst loose firearms.
Specifically, Morales expressed gratitude to Sultan Kudarat Gov. Pax Mangudadatu, Sultan Kudarat Rep. Suharto Teng Mangudadatu and Board Member Joseph Ortiz.
Authorities said the province of Sultan Kudarat has an estimated 50,000 loose firearms, including those in the hands of rebel groups.