By Francis Wakefield
Sixth Infantry Division (6th ID) and Joint Task Force (JTF) Central Commander, Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, encouraged residents of municipalities under his jurisdiction to surrender their remaining unlicensed firearms so that lasting peace and order could be attained in Central Mindanao.
Sobejana made the call after the municipality of Ampatuan, Maguindanao yielded 26 unlicensed firearms to soldiers on Thursday, February 14.
Sobejana said Ampatuan Mayor Rasul Sangki presented the high and low-powered firearms to Lt. Col, Alvin Iyog, commander of the Second Mechanized Infantry Battalion, in a formal ceremony held at the Ampatuan municipal hall.
He said 14 shotguns, four caliber .38 revolvers, an M203 grenade launcher, two caliber .45 pistols, a 12-gauge pistol, two M79 grenade launchers, an M1 Garand rifle, and a 60mm mortar were turned over by residents of 11 barangays in Ampatuan.
Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) Commander Lt. Gen. Dela Vega, on the other hand, said they will intensify their campaign to recover undocumented firearms and cooperate with local officials and stakeholders in their operational area.
“With the support of the people of Mindanao, we are elated to see that we are gaining substantial results in our present campaign,” Sobejana said.
Iyog, meanwhile, said that they are happy that the local government unit of Ampatuan, led by Sangki, initiated the turnover of the loose firearms.
“This will contribute to the peace and order of the municipality, especially during the election period,” Iyog said.
“The firearms presented to us will help in reducing criminalities and violence in the communities,” he added.
Read more: Ampatuan town hands over unlicensed firearms