More firearms surrendered by Basilan residents

John Unson - Philstar.com
More firearms surrendered by Basilan residents
Gov. Hadjiman Salliman, 11th Infantry Division commander Major Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio and Brig. Gen. Alvin Luzon of the 101st Infantry Brigade inspect one of the 94 unlicensed firearms surrendered on Friday by residents of Basilan province.
Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Almost a hundred more assault rifles and grenade launchers were surrendered voluntarily by residents of Basilan to the Philippine Army in separate turnover rites on Friday in support of a provincial firearms decommissioning and management program.

Basilan Gov. Hadjiman Salliman and Brig. Gen. Alvin Luzon of the 101st Infantry Brigade separately told reporters here via mobile phone on Saturday that the 94 firearms were collected on Friday by Army officials in separate events organized by local executives in Maluso, Sumisip Lantawan, Hadji Muhtamad, Tabuan-Lasa and Hadji Mohammad Ajul towns.

The mayors of Ungkaya Pukan, Tipo-Tipo and Albarka also turned over last month to Luzon and Salliman 22 firearms from the communities under their local government units.

The additional 94 firearms were surrendered by residents of Maluso, Sumisip Lantawan, Hadji Muhtamad, Tabuan-Lasa and Hadji Mohammad Ajul towns in support of their provincial government’s Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Management Program.

The SALW program is supported by the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, the military’s Western Mindanao Command based in nearby Zamboanga City and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity under Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.

“Our SALW effort is gaining headway. No less than 500 firearms had been surrendered to us voluntarily by residents of Basilan in recent months," Salliman said early Saturday.

Major Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio, commander of the 11th Infantry Division, also overseeing the anti-terror Joint Task Force Orion covering Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, witnessed Friday's turnover by local officials of the surrendered firearms to Army officials in the province.

Besides the 94 more firearms now in the custody of units under Luzon, local executives also submitted on Friday 168 other firearms for documentation and proper accounting as part of the Basilan provincial government’s SALW program.

Salliman said Luzon, Basilan provincial police director Col. Carlos Madronio and the league of mayors in the province are in the forefront of his administration's loose firearms collection efforts, being done via backchannel negotiations.

“We in the provincial government are also thankful to leaders of different civilian sectors and the Muslim and Christian religious groups in Basilan for helping us forge ahead with our provincial firearms documentation and decommissioning activities,” Salliman said.

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