Bangsamoro police seek support to eradicate loose firearms

PARANG, Maguindanao – The Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO-BAR) on Friday urged local government officials and candidates in the May 9 polls to support the disarmament program of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Brig. Gen. Arthur Cabalona, PRO-BAR director, issued the appeal after municipal government officials in Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi, facilitated the surrender of 11 assorted high-powered firearms.

Cabalona said 10 civilians turned in four Garand rifles, one M-14 rifle, two M-16 Armalite rifles, three .45-caliber pistols, and one 9-millimeter pistol on February 22.

All surrendered firearms were serviceable and are now under the custody of the Sitangkai Municipal Police Office.

“Ahead of the 2022 elections, PRO-BAR already rendered an aggressive campaign against loose firearms and intensified its accounting of all unregistered guns in the region,” Cabalona said in a statement. “This was meant to ensure that loose guns will not be used as instruments to sow violence in 2022 polls.”

He urged other local officials and BARMM residents to emulate the civilians who surrendered their firearms in Sitangkai.

Meanwhile, candidates for various positions in Maguindanao showed up at Camp SK Pendatun here on Thursday to participate in the launching of KASIMBAYANAN (Kawani, Simbahan at Pamayanan or Staff, Church, and the Community) and peace covenant signing for Secure, Accurate, Free and Fair Elections (SAFE).

Some candidates from Lanao del Sur also showed up.

Cabalona and Commission on Elections-BARMM Deputy Director Renault Macarambon were joined by representatives from the religious sectors, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and community leaders.

The gathering was also highlighted by the Pledge of Integrity between gubernatorial candidates, reelectionist Governor Bai Mariam Sangki Mangudadatu and Maguindanao (2nd District) Representative Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, who led their party mates in the peace covenant signing.

The governor's husband, Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu, and the congressman are first-degree cousins.

“This is heartwarming, seeing warring political aspirants coming together with one goal: peaceful elections in Maguindanao,” Cabalona said in an interview. “All the signatories vowed to abide by the laws and constitution, respect the sanctity of elections, and reject without any reservations the use of violence, force, or threats to influence the outcome of the elections.” (PNA)


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