Cotabato City (February 28, 2018) – As security forces and local government units intensify their campaign against loose firearms, close to 90 unregistered and high-powered guns were surrendered by civilians from the towns of Parang, Barira, Matanog, and Buldon in Maguindanao.
Mayor Abolais Manalao of Buldon led the turnover ceremony before the officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman on Tuesday, February 27.
The firearms, Mayor Manalao said, were from families involved in rido, or clan feuds. In exchange, the gun owners would receive a head of a cow per unit of firearm surrendered. The cows to be distributed come from the ARMM government and the Buldon local government.
Mayor Manalao reiterated that the campaign helps in promoting peace in the region and in establishing an environment conducive to progress and development. The campaign, he said, is a collaborative effort of the local government unit, the ARMM, the AFP, and the PNP under the government’s Balik Baril Program.
Matador Ibrahim, resident of Barangay Oring in Buldon, who voluntarily handed over his M1 Garand rifle said: “Mahigit apat na taon na po ang baril ko pamana pa sa akin ng tatay ko, pero dahil sa pagbabago na nakita namin sa lugar namin, sinuportahan ko po ang balik baril program kaya sinurrender ko na.”
“Nakita naman namin na safe na kami sa lugar na ito, wala nang gulo, kaya mabuti pa i-surrender ang baril. Mas pipiliin ko ang baka ngayon kaysa sa baril at least may pagkakakitaan pa kami at makakatulong sa pamilya ko,” Ibrahim added.
Akmad Macadato, 23, sees the opportunity of owning a cattle would boost his livelihood as a farmer. “Peaceful naman na dito sa amin, hindi na kailangan ng baril. Mas magagamit namin ang mga baka para makatulong sa kabuhayan namin,” he said.
In support of the campaign, Gov. Hataman has pledged the ARMM government’s assistance in the implementation of Balik Baril Program. “Kaisa niyo ako sa kampanya na ito,” Gov. Hataman said.
“Nakikita natin kung gaano ka-pursigido ang mga bayan na ito sa Maguindanao especially ang Buldon, kaya hindi mag-aalinlangan ang regional government na sumuporta sa kanila,” he added. He also stressed that the other towns in the region should do the same as the town of Buldon where every gun owner who surrendered his firearm will receive livelihood assistance.
The ARMM’s Regional Reconciliation and Unification Commission recorded a total of 588 cases of rido, or clan feuds, in the region from 2012 to 2018. The province of Maguindanao has recorded 273 cases, 54 of which remain unsettled.
In August 2017, the town of Buldon has been declared rido-free. “Noong August 21, nag-declarena tayo na rido-free na ang municipality dahil lahat ng rido naiayos natin,” Mayor Manalao said.
“Surrendering their firearms is a gesture of their sincerity to end their feuds in their town,” Buldon Vice-Mayor Cairoden Pangunotan said.
“Madali nang kumbinsihin ang mga residente na sumuporta sa mga programa ng gobyerno dahil nakita natin na bumalik ang kanilang tiwala sa atin,” Pangunotan said.
The military and the police lauded the local officials for the support and commitment to the program. Residents and officials who are still illegally holding firearms to voluntarily surrender so they will not be liable for charges of illegal possession of firearms, officials of the AFP and the PNP said.
SOURCE: (Bureau of Public Information)
March 01, 2018 @ 15:07