Civilians yield 36 unlicensed guns to Army, police in Maguindanao del Norte
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao del Norte – In support of the government’s campaign against loose firearms, local officials and residents of Datu Odin Sinsuat town, Maguindanao del Norte on Friday surrendered 36 assorted high-powered weapons, including a caliber .50 machinegun.
Officials said Saturday that the firearms were earlier taken into custody by Lt. Col. Tristram Tolentino, commanding officer of the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion.
During Friday afternoon’s ceremonies, the weapons were turned over to Col. Nasser Lidasan, 6th Infantry Division assistant commander, and Police Colonel James Gulmatico, deputy director for operations of the Police Regional Office in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Datu Odin Sinsuat Mayor Datu Lester Sinsuat said the surrender of guns shows the local government’s support for the Army’s disarmament campaign.
Tolentino said the surrendered firearms include a caliber .50 BMG machine gun, a caliber .50 sniper rifle, a caliber .30 Garand rifle, nine M14 rifles, five M16 rifles, two 12-gauge shotgun, two M203 tube launchers, six 40mm M79 grenade launchers, two rocket-propelled grenades, five 9mm Uzi sub-machine guns, a caliber .22 basic assault rifle, a 38mm revolver, and two 40mm rifle grenades.
Major General Alex S. Rillera, 6th ID commander, lauded the local officials of Datu Odin Sinsuat and the local military commanders for successfully facilitating the surrender of the weapons of war from the hands of unauthorized individuals.
“Every firearm that we collect from unauthorized persons is equivalent to saving the life of innocent civilians in Datu Odin Sinsuat town,” Rillera, also the commander of Joint Task Force Central (JTFC).
Also on Friday (July 14), the 6th ID announced it discovered an encampment of a local terrorist group in Barangay Salman, Ampatuan, Maguindanao del Sur with running trenches and abandoned war materiel.
Rillera said the operating troops from the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion also recovered components for making improvised bombs, a magazine assembly with 20 rounds aluminum cap for an M16 rifle, a bandolier, and a chest rig.
Also recovered were assorted personal belongings, construction materials, and cooking utensils.
Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Roy Galido, in a statement, commended the Joint Task Force Central for the accomplishment.
“Rest assured that we will continue to intensify our decisive military operations to prevent the re-emergence of the different threat groups in our area of operation,” Galido said.