Basilan, Westmincom launch program to eradicate loose firearms

DONE DEAL. Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. (center), Western Mindanao Command chief, leads the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that launched the Small Arms and Light Weapons program on Thursday (April 8, 2021) in Isabela City, Basilan. The program aims to minimize, if not eradicate, the loose firearms problem in the province. (Photo courtesy of Westmincom-PIO)

ZAMBOANGA CITY: A program geared to minimize, if not eradicate, loose firearms in Basilan province, will get going following the signing of the deal on Thursday.

The Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) was finalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among military, provincial, and municipal officials.

The Joint Normalization Committee (JNC), consistent with the normalization process, shall develop a program for reduction and management of small arms and light weapons (SALWs) of individuals and groups, according to Ariel Hernandez, chairperson of the government JNC.

Hernandez explained that small arms are individual-service kinetic projectile firearms, while light weapons are infantry-portable weapons that are either crew-served kinetic firearms, incendiary devices, or shoot explosive munitions.

He said the SALW program aims to restrict the movement and manage the number of loose firearms in communities, one of the main causes of violence in far-flung areas.

“There is a need to implement a program that will manage the number of loose firearms at the barangay level thereby addressing the peace and security concerns of the communities,” Hernandez said.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief; Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, Joint Task Force Basilan commander; Basilan Gov. Hadjiman Hataman-Salliman; Basilan Vice Gov. Yusop Alano; and the mayors of 11 municipalities and two cities of the province joined Hernandez during the signing of the MOU in Isabela City.

Salliman emphasized that the SALW program is crucial for the sustainability of peace and security in the province.

“This program is our initiative, hence I request everyone to internalize this and let us implement this without reservation for the benefit of Basileños,” Hataman said.

The signing of the MOU aimed to sustain peace and security efforts in Basilan and intensify the normalization process under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, Vinluan said.

“It is high time that we support this endeavor as we slowly but surely address this systematic problem of loose and unregulated proliferation of firearms,” the Westmincom chief added.

 (Teofilo Garcia, Jr./.PNA/SRNY/RSP)

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