KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 1 July) – Eighty-four loose and unlicensed firearms were turned over to different municipal police stations in North Cotabato from June 20 to June 26, an official said.
Col. Henry Villar, provincial director of the Cotabato Provincial Police Office (CPPO), said the turnover of assorted firearms was part of the continued campaign he dubbed as Oplan “Tugro” Pulis. “Tugro” is an Antiqueno term which means “to surrender.”
Data from the CPPO showed that the firearms surrendered include 35 12-gauge shotguns, 2 12-gauide pistols, 24 caliber .38 revolvers, 5 caliber .45 pistols, 4 “forty lite” pistols, a caliber .22 pistol, 2 caliber .22 rifles, a caliber .22 revolver, 3 M79 grenade launchers, an M203 (12-gauge upper) grenade launcher, 3 submachine guns, 1 Ultimax, and 2 Carbines.
Also turned over to the CPPO were 2 hand grenades, 2 rifle grenades and a smoke grenade.
Villar said the campaign is aimed at reducing the volume of index crimes in the province, including murder, homicide, and manslaughter.
The town of Pikit, he said, yielded 11 firearms, the highest in the province.
Villar admitted, though, that there are still too many loose firearms that remain at the hands of residents and several armed groups operating in the province.
The provincial police, he stressed, is bent on curbing the number by strengthening its “intelligence-driven” initiative, which was patterned from the PNP’s nationwide campaigns, the Oplan Bilang Boga and Oplan Kontra Boga.
The firearms would be placed under the custody of the PNP Provincial Crime Laboratory Center based in Kidapawan City for proper accounting and storage.
Villar clarified that those individuals that yielded their unlicensed guns to the PNP would not be facing charges but urged other gun holders to also voluntarily surrender their firearms so as to avoid being arrested or apprehended. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)