22 more firearms surrendered by Basilan residents

John Unson - Philstar.com
22 more firearms surrendered by Basilan residents
The 22 assorted firearms were turned over by owners to senior Army officials in Basilan on Saturday.
Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Residents of three now markedly peaceful towns in Basilan turned in 22 more firearms to the military on Saturday in support of a domestic disarmament program of their provincial government.

The Small Arms and Light Weapons Management Program of the administration of Basilan Gov. Hadjiman Salliman is being implemented in the province with the help of the Army’s 101st Infantry Brigade, the Basilan Provincial Police Office and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity.

Salliman told reporters here via text message on Sunday that the commander of the Army's 101st Infantry Brigade, Brig. Gen. Alvin Luzon, and Lt. Col. Michael Colanta of the 45th Infantry Battalion together interceded for the voluntary surrender of the 22 assorted firearms with the help of the chiefs of police in the adjoining Ungkaya-Pukan, Tipo-Tipo and Albarka municipalities.

“Besides these Army and police units, credit for the surrender of these firearms by owners residing in these three towns also have to go partly to the barangay officials who were also instrumental in achieving this feat,” Salliman said.

The 22 firearms were turned over by owners to senior Army officials in Basilan during a simple rite at the municipal gymnasium in Tipo-Tipo on Saturday, an event attended by local executives, barangay officials and representatives from the Islamic religious community in the province.

Luzon and commanders of Army units under him had collected no fewer than 70 assorted unlicensed firearms from residents of the 11 towns and two cities in Basilan in the past six months.

Col. Carlos Madronio, director of the Basilan Provincial Police Office, and his subordinate-officers had also separately worked out the turnover by Basilan residents of 87 firearms to them in 2023, achieved with the support of the League of Mayors in the province whose president is Maluso Mayor Hanie Bud.

Basilan, a former bastion of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, is now touted as the new investment hub in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Officials of the Bangsamoro Business Council, the BARMM trade ministry and the Bangsamoro Board of Investments are together cooperating on programs meant to boost the economic growth of the island province.

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