Over 200 loose firearms yielded to gov’t forces in Basilan

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The military acquired more than 200 loose firearms from Basilan’s local chief executives in support of the province’s Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Program implementation.

“Through the combined efforts of the Joint Normalization Committee, Joint Task Force Basilan, and Provincial Government of Basilan, the SALW program was successfully implemented and subsequently earned overwhelming support from the local government units and populace which yielded to the surrender of a total of 204 high-powered and low-powered firearms during the local chief executives’ respective signing of Memorandum of Understanding,” said Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., Commander of Western Mindanao Command.

The city and barangay authorities of Lamitan City, led by Mayor Rose Furigay and Vice Mayor Roderick Furigay, pledged support for the SALW program by signing a Memorandum of Understanding in the City Gymnasium in Barangay Maganda of the said city on July 19, 2021.

Basilan Governor Jim Hataman-Salliman, Joint Task Force Basilan Commander Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, Basilan Provincial Police Office Director Police Col. Rodrigo Maramo, and 68th Infantry Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Napoleon Pabon, Jr. all helped to make this historic occasion possible.

“We will continue to implement this initiative to assist the local government units in keeping the peace and order here in Basilan amid the health crisis we are still experiencing right now,” said Brig. Gen. Gobway.

Lt. Col. Pabon, together with Mayor and Vice Mayor Furigay, presented a total of 54 loose firearms as another highlight of the event.

Sixteen 12-gauge shotguns, three M1 Carbines, one M16 rifle, four Garand rifles, three M203 Grenade Launchers, one M19 Grenade Launcher, one M79 Grenade Launcher, two cal. 22 revolvers, four KG9 pistols, sixteen cal. 38 revolvers, and three cal. 45 revolvers are among the firearms on display. Civilians from various barangays in Lamitan City voluntarily surrendered the firearms.

Among the 204 firearms gains from the SALW program, 54 were surrendered by the civilians from Lamitan City, 34 from the municipality of Sumisip, 23 from Hadji Mohammad Ajul, 19 from Maluso, 15 from Ungkaya Pukan, 12 from Tuburan, 11 from Hadji Muhtamad, nine from Akbar, nine from Al-Barka, seven from Tipo-Tipo, seven from Tabuan-Lasa, and four from Lantawan.

“The Western Mindanao Command gives its full support to the programs and projects of our fellow peace advocates like the Joint Normalization Committee especially now that we are seeing its efficiency,” said Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr.

“In the long run, we expect to achieve more as we receive more support from the different organizations and the people of Mindanao,” the commander added.

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