Cops in ARMM warned against firing guns to mark end of fasting
COTABATO CITY, Philippines—Policemen in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao are under strict orders not to fire their guns to welcome the end of the fasting month of Ramadan on Friday.
Chief Superintendent Noel de los Reyes, the ARMM police chief, said law officers found to have fired their guns to welcome the end of Ramadan would be dealt with accordingly.
Traditionally, residents of the region fire their guns at the break of dawn to drive away evil spirits as the fasting month ends.
To ensure guns are not indiscriminately fired during the celebration of Eid’l Fitr, De los Reyes ordered the sealing of all firearms issued to about 7,000 police force in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and the cities of Lamitan and Marawi.
“Firing of guns during the revelry is considered indiscriminate and punishable,” De los Santos reminded the police in the region.
De los Reyes clarified, however, that the sealing of firearms did not mean that policemen were prohibited from using their weapons if necessary in carrying out their mandate of protecting the people against crime.
In the past, bursts of gunfire punctuated the end of Ramadan, a tradition among gun owners in the region, including rebels and plain bandits.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is talking peace with the government, also announced it has issued a directive strictly prohibiting its men from firing their guns during the Ed’l Fitr celebration.
Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF political affairs chief, said the practice of firing guns to welcome the termination of month-long fasting has slowly been eliminated in Muslim communities.
Meanwhile, ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman has allowed Muslim employees of the ARMM go on early holiday to prepare for the celebration of the Eid’l Fitr.
Malacañang has declared August 9 national holiday in recognition of the celebration of Eid’l Fitr.
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