OFFICIALS and residents of four towns in Maguindanao have voluntarily surrendered 106 firearms in separate occasions this week to the Joint Task Force Central, the military reported Thursday.

Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer, said 100 of the 106 firearms were surrendered by the officials of Mamasapano, Pagalungan, and Datu Montawal towns.

Petinglay said the firearms were received on Monday by Major General Arnel Dela Vega, Joint Task Force Central commander and his subordinate commanders.

Out of the 100 firearms, Petinglay said 25 were turned over by 13 barangays of Mamasapano headed by Mayor Tahirodin Benzar Ampatuan to the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion.

She said 45 assorted unregistered firearms were turned over by Mayor Salik Mamasabulod of Pagalungan to the Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion and 602nd Infantry Brigade.

Mayor Dragon Montawal of Datu Montawal town has turned over 30 assorted loose firearms.

The firearms that they turned over included the following: two 60-mm mortars; two M16 rifles with attached M203 Grenade Launchers; 17 M14 rifles; 15 caliber 50 Barret (homemade); 12 Garand rifles; two 5.56-mm Ultimax rifles; four caliber 30 M1 Carbines; one caliber 30 Springfield rifle (bolt action); one caliber .45 pistol; three M-79 grenade launchers; five Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers; 12 40-mm Grenade Launchers; three caliber .45 (homemade) KG9 machine pistol; one 9-mm (homemade) Uzi machine pistol; one caliber .45 (homemade) Uzi machine pistol; one Winchester pistol; 17 12-gauge shotguns; and, one baby (homemade) Thompson.

Petinglay said the remaining six firearms were turned over on Tuesday by Shariff Aguak town officials led by Mayor Marouf Ampatuan to Lieutenant Colonel Enrique Clement.

The six firearms are as follows: one 60-mm mortar; one M-79 grenade launcher; one M4 carbine rifle; one barret; one uzi; and, one ingram pistol.

“Units took custody of the surrendered firearms and were brought to their respective headquarters for initial inventory, documentation, and safekeeping,” Dela Vega said.

“We will continue to work convincing others to surrender their undocumented firearms in the entire Joint Task Force Central’s area of operations,” he said.

The surrender of firearms is part of the “Balik Baril” Program initiatives of the local government of Maguindanao amid the intensified campaign of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against the proliferation of loose firearms in the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao.

For 2018 alone, a total of 293 undocumented firearms were already turned over to the authorities in the province of Maguindanao.

“We would like to reiterate our call to all peace loving people of Western Mindanao to cooperate in the President’s campaign to clear the country of undocumented firearms,” Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) said. (SunStar Philippines)