A TOTAL of 20 high-powered firearms, including an FN Minimi 5.56-millimeter light machine gun, were surrendered by various village councils of Isabela City to the Army’s 101st Infantry Brigade and provincial government of Basilan.
The surrender of the loose firearms was made possible through the Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) management program complemented by the Assistance for Security, Peace, Integration and Recovery for Advancing Human Security (ASPIRE) program.
During the formal turnover program, Colonel Bernard Samin, 4th Special Forces Battalion commander, presented the firearms, followed by a formal turnover by concerned village officials led by Isabela City Administrator Peter Eisma, to Brigadier General Alvin Luzon, 101st Infantry Brigade commander, and Basilan Governor Hadjiman Hataman-Salliman.
The formal turnover program was held at the 19th Special Forces Company headquarters in Tabuk village, Isabela City, Basilan, on Thursday, January 11.
Eisma, who represented Isabela City Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, commended the efforts of the local government officials for their support as the city has been persistent in its efforts to sustain the peace process not only in Isabela but for the entire province of Basilan.
“SALW is not only a way to surrender firearms but also teaching the people to become law-abiding citizens and responsible owners of firearms,” Eisma added.
In his message, Luzon extended his appreciation and congratulations on behalf of the security sector on the continuous support of the local chief executives and the provincial government of Basilan for the successful implementation of the SALW and the ASPIRE programs complementing the security campaign in the province.
“It is just a little more than five months, and I have seen how this program significantly enhanced the peace process in Basilan, and with that, I congratulate the Barangay Captains and the Local Government of Isabela City and the 4th Special Forces Battalion for this accomplishment,” Luzon said.
Salliman shared his views on the development of the peace process in Basilan and the journey hurdling the chaotic phase through the help of government programs, particularly the SALW, which facilitated the gains of the province in terms of sustaining the peace.
“All the atrocities and evil intentions of the people were made possible because they possess firearms. Through our collaborative efforts, it won't be long when we finally realize our common aspirations that no one will die through firearms in Basilan”, he said.