AT LEAST 20 members of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) and Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) voluntarily surrendered their firearms to the Army's 6th Infantry Division (ID).

According to South Upi, Maguindanao Mayor Beds Gampong, the group was following orders from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to ensure that all firearms are registered and none of the Cafgu and CVO members were involved in the Maguindanao massacre last November 23.

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The Army's 6th ID spokesperson and G7 Chief Colonel Jonathan Ponce said the Ampatuan family has issued firearms to several local officials and other paramilitary groups.

The firearms, which include four M16 armalite rifles, six M14 rifles, ten M1 grand rifles, two M1 carbine rifles, one M79 grenade launcher, three caliber .45 guns, two caliber .38 revolvers and ammunition, will undergo ballistic testing.

Maguindanao Police Provincial Director Senior Superintendent Alex Linesses said that several local officials in different municipalities in Maguindanao are also set to surrender their firearms and the paramilitary groups under them.

Sixth ID Chief Major General Anthony Alcantara said they have strengthened the drive against armed groups as several of them have gone into hiding or being protected by armed bandit groups.

Alcantara warns that anyone found coddling special Cafgu and CVO members of the Ampatuan family will face the full force of the law. (Edgardo Fuerzas)