By Divina M. Suson
TUBOD, LANAO DEL NORTE ----- The local government unit of Tubod, Lanao del Norte turned-over to the military, Monday morning (December 3), more than 30 loose firearms gathered from 23 barangays here.
These include caliber 30 garands, 5.56mm rifles and 7.62mm rifles, caliber 30 M1 carbines, 40mm grenade launcher, caliber 45 pistols, caliber 38 pistols, 9mm UZI, a grenade and gauge shotguns.
The turn-over of the said loose armaments came a week after its municipal council passed a resolution supporting the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao.
In a simple turn over ceremony of the said firearms, the town's Mayor Leoncio Bagul, said it is their way of showing their support to the clamour of majority in Mindanao to extend the imposition of Martial Law here because "it has been observed that it is safer to have Martial Law in Mindanao".
"Alam nyo, ang mga hindi taga rito sa Mindanao ang nag rally dahil magulo daw. Pero tayo ang mas nakakaalam dahil tayo ang nandito, tayo ang naka experience ng Martial Law," Bagul said in his message.
(You know, people outside Mindanao are holding rally asking to lift Martial Law in our island because they said it is chaotic. But we should know better because we are the ones experiencing it, we are here.)
The turning over of loose armaments is also their way of showing their support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in their campaign for a stable peace and order in their town according to the mayor.
More unlicensed firearms
The turning over of loose firearms in Tubod on Monday added the number of turned over unlicensed armaments in Lanao del Norte starting early this year.
As of December 3, there are already 746 illegal armaments surrendered by civilians to the military.
"We do not have specific target of how many loose firearms to be surrendered. Our intent is to encourage all municipalities to support the program and turn over their loose illegal firearms thru the local chief executives," Sedano said.
Records of Provincial Police Office in Lanao del Norte states that there are 2,616 loose firearms in the firearms, most of it are pistols with expire license.
LtC. Ronel Manalo, commander of the 5th Mechanize Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, whose area of operation is including Tubod, encouraged the barangay chairmen to convince their residents who are still possessing loose firearms to have it surrendered before it will be used in illegal activities.
"Maari iyang gamitin sa pagbebenta ng ilegal na droga at mga armas para sa eleksiyon kay mas mabuting i-turn over nalang sa amin kaysa ibenta," Manalo stressed.
(That can be used in illegal drug trades or in selling and or transporting firearms that can be used during elections, better turn it over to us than sell it.)
"Gagawin namin ang lahat na magtulungan dahil alam namin na ang pagkamit ng kapayapaan ay hindi makamit lang ng PNP, ng Army, kundi ng pagtutulungan ng lahat. Kaya tutulungan namin ang PNP at ang military na magiging peaceful ang aming bayan," Bagul added.
(We will do everything to be cooperative because we know that achieving the real peace is not only a work of the PNP and of the Army but of everybody. We will help them to make our town peaceful.)
BGen. Thomas Sedano, commander of 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army, is thankful to the barangay chairmen who exerted their efforts to help convinced the owners of those armaments saying it is not just showing their support to the programs of the AFP and the PNP.
"Ang seremonyang ito ay nagpapakita rin ng inyong dedikasyon para makamtan ang kapayapaan dito sa Tubod. Iyon ang tunay na kahulugan kung bakit sinurender ninyo ang mga ilegal na armas ninyo," Sedano said in his message.
(This ceremony also shows your dedication to achieve the genuine face here in Tubod. That is the real meaning on why you surrender your illegal firearms.)
"Ito ay nagpapakita rin ng inyong pagtitiwala sa inyong mga sundalo at pulis dahil alam nyo na hindi nyo na ito kailangan dahil ang inyong proteksiyon ay kaya nang pangalagaan nga inyong mga sundalo at pulis," Sedano added.
(This also shows of your trust to the army and police because you do not need this anymore because we can take care of your protection.)
The town's Vice Mayor Danny Yanoc, Jr., said the implementation of Martial Law would also be a big help during the election next year.
Last month, Iligan City Lone District Representative Frederick Siao filed a house resolution calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to extend Martial Law in Mindanao because "it is urgently imperative that government authorities must ensure peaceful, orderly, and honest May 2019 elections in Mindanao, including and especially in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and adjacent regions, to secure the integrity of the ballots and safety of voters and elections personnel and to ensure that the duly-elected officials are installed."
Members of the city council of Iligan also passed a resolution, addressed to President Duterte, that they are supporting the extension of Martial Law.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Lanao del Norte have also approved a resolution recommending to the president the same and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.
"The extension of Martial Law in Mindanao has created positive impact in terms of economics development, safety, peace and order considering that the military and police force are doing their best to protect the people against terrorist attack and other forms of criminalities," the resolution of Lanao del Norte's provincial council reads.
"Records has shown that since the imposition of Martial Law, the entire island of Mindanao has experienced a dramatic and substantial decrease in crimes and other peace and order incidence," the resolution added.
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