Lanao Norte town officials yield loose firearms
ILIGAN CITY -- Responding to the call of President Rodrigo R. Duterte for a peaceful Mindanao, local officials in the Lanao del Norte town of Salvador voluntarily turned over their unlicensed firearms to the military on Friday.
Salvador Mayor Hassanor Tawantawan led the surrender of 27 assorted highpowered firearms, including those owned by 24 barangay heads of the municipality.
In giving up the loose firearms, Tawantawan said they wanted to demonstrate their cooperation to Duterte’s desire to attain peace in Mindanao, and support the military’s ongoing campaign against unlicensed guns proliferating in the Lanao provinces.
“We support President Duterte’s campaign for a gunless and peaceful Mindanao,” he said, thanking barangay officials for yielding their unlicensed guns.
Tawantawan explained that for most Lanao residents, maintaining a firearm is necessary to protect themselves from armed groups and even Moro secessionist rebels.
The peace and order situation in the Lanao provinces, he pointed out, was grim in 2008, when several Lanao towns were attacked by rogue elements within the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“But now we have surpassed the crisis with the help of our men in uniform, and during night time, the people here can sleep well,” the mayor said.
Tawantawan said they are also optimistic about Duterte’s efforts to restore peace by engaging the MILF and other armed groups in Mindanao to work for peace.
He also called on the town’s residents to surrender their unlicensed guns, while keeping their ears on the ground for terrorist threats and other suspicious-looking individuals.
Lt. Col. Ronel R. Manalo, commanding officer of the Army’s 5th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, praised Tawantawan’s leadership, and called on other officials