GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 25 September) – The apprehension of a
14-year-old Grade 9 student for illegal firearm has raised concerns among
school officials and parents in Pikit, North Cotabato, military officials said.
Lt. Col. Dennis Almorato, 6th Infantry Division spokesperson,
said in a statement Monday the boy was caught carrying an unlicensed firearm at
the Takepan National High School in Barangay Takepan, Pikit last Friday,
Citing a report from the 90th Infantry (Bigkis-Lahi) Battalion, Almorato
said that military personnel were conducting area security operations at the
Takepan Public Market when they were alerted about a student carrying a
The soldiers immediately responded to the report and seized from the suspect
a modified 5.56mm pistol, he added.
The minor had been turned over to the Pikit Municipal Police Station for
custody, Almorato said.
Lt. Col. Rowel Gavilanes, 90IB commander, said the incident has raised
concerns among school officials, parents and local authorities in Pikit town.
The boy’s arrest for carrying an unlicensed firearm highlighted the need for
increased vigilance in schools to ensure the safety of students, he said.
“The school administration is cooperating fully with the authorities in our
investigation to determine how the student came into possession of the illegal
firearm and if there are any additional individuals involved” Gavilanes said.
Both the Pikit Municipal Police Station and 90IB have stressed the
importance of education and awareness programs to discourage students from
engaging in illegal activities, especially the possession of firearms, he said.
Gavilanes said the incident must serve as a reminder to keep schools safe
and maintain a weapons-free environment for the youth.
Local authorities are working to uncover the origin of the firearm, he said.