THE residents of Dimataling, a fourth class town in the province of Zamboanga del Sur, have surrendered 24 unlicensed guns to government authorities, military said on Wednesday.
The surrender of the firearms, which was held in a ceremony on Tuesday, coincided with the graduation of 169 Persons Who Use Drugs and Substance (PWUDS) at the gymnasium of Dimataling.
The firearms that were surrendered included the following: three M-14 rifles; one M-79 grenade launcher; one improvised M-16 Armalite rifles; eight homemade shotguns; eight caliber .38 revolvers; and, three caliber .45 pistols. Also surrendered were two rifle grenades.
Lieutenant Colonel Gerry Besana said the surrender of the 24 assorted loose firearms was realized through the joint efforts of the Army’s 53rd Infantry Battalion, police, and the Municipal Government of Dimataling.
Colonel Francisco Ariel Felicidario, Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, has advised holders of loose firearms in Dimataling town to surrender the guns and “don’t wait for (the conduct of) zoning.”
Felicidario told the public if they think that everybody here in Mindanao should have guns to be safe, “then I think the idea should already be changed for our safety and security.”
“If you know that you’re using drugs, surrender. Don’t wait for the police to come to your homes before you surrender. Go for rehabilitation,” he also told the 169 PWUDS, who attended the ceremony.
The 169 PWUDS has completed a rehabilitation training conducted jointly by the concerned agencies of government.
Lieutenant Colonel Marlow Patria, Army’s 53rd Infantry Battalion commander, has expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the cooperation of the public in the campaign against loose firearms.
Patria said they have only one agenda and that is to maintain peace and order in the province of Zamboanga del Sur, specifically in Dimataling town. (Bong Garcia/SunStar Philippines)