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17 rebel firearms crushed

Authorities yesterday destroyed 17 firearms previously used by the New People’s Army (NPA) in a ceremony held at the grandstand of Camp Quintin Merecido, the regional headquarters of the Philippine National Police.

PRO XI director Brig. Gen. Filmore Escobal led the dismantling of 16 firearms – five M16 rifles, two M14 rifles, three .45 pistols, two .38 pistols, a M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle, an AK47 rifle, a 12 gauge shotgun, an assault rifle, and an M203 grenade launcher.

Escobal said some firearms siezed by military and/or police during encounters or raids on NPA hideouts.

Others, he said, were yielded by rebels during their surrender to the different military and police units in the region.

“These are initially the cleared firearms submitted to us for demilitarization,” Escobal said adding that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has mandated them to demilitarization the confiscated firearms.

The police director said they will demilitarize several other firearms that they have confiscated since 2018.

The Regional Crime Laboratory Office is currently conducting verification on some other firearms if those were used in criminal activities. Once established that the firearm is used in crimes, the gun will not be destroyed as it will be used as evidence in court.

Escobal said the dismilitarization activity is a “symbolic effort” to make sure that these firearms will no longer harm the communities.

In his message as a keynote speaker, Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) chair and Davao Oriental Gov. Nelson Dayanghirang said the disposition of the firearms is a genuine and sincere effort of the government to end the insurgency problem.

“This decommissioning of firearms is symbolic,” Dayanghirang said. “(It is) an important accomplishment on the part of the government.”

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