Sulu town mayor, barangay leaders surrender guns, ammunition

By Ely Dumaboc

February 3, 2018, 4:08 pm

Photo shows the firearms and ammunition that were surrendered by Mayor Anton Burahan of Pata, Sulu and his barangay heads to the Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS) on Friday, February 2, 2018. Standing are the officials of the JTFS and of the island municipality of Pata. (Photo courtesy of the Joint Task Force) 

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- A Sulu town mayor and his barangay captains on Friday surrendered high-powered firearms in response to the campaign against unlicensed firearms in the province.

Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the weapons were surrendered to his command at about 1 p.m. Friday by Mayor Anton Burahan of the island municipality of Pata.
Burahan was accompanied by barangay chairpersons and other municipal government officials when he turned over the firearms to Sobejana.

Sobejana said Burahan surrendered three 81-mm mortar tubes, one 90 Recoilless Rifle, one barrel of caliber .50 machine gun, four M-16 Armalite rifles, three M-14 rifles, five Garand rifles, one M-79 Grenade Launcher, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

“The genuine gesture of Mayor Burahan and his constituents in giving up voluntarily their war materiel can be a good example to all other government officials and the Tausogs as a whole who are bearing arms illegally,” Sobejana said.

He said the surrender was brought about by the relentless campaign of Joint Task Force Sulu against illegally possessed firearms.

“It is our goal to make Sulu a gun-free province. As we exert efforts to transform Sulu from terrorism to tourism, we want also to espouse the hashtag from Arm to Farm,” he said.
He said Sulu could have a bright future with the support and cooperation of all stakeholders.

Burahan and his barangay chairpersons surrendered the firearms and ammunition two days after government troops recovered an arms cache during a combat operation in Barangay Pisak Pisak, Pata.

Recovered on Jan. 31 were a caliber .50 machine gun with 150 rounds of ammunition, three baseplates for an 81-mm mortar, a bipod for an 81-mm mortar, a tripod for an 81-mm mortar, eight rounds of ammunition for an 81-mm mortar, four rounds of ammunition for 90 Recoilless Rifle and 50 rounds of ammunition for 60-mm mortar.

Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) data showed that the island town of Pata serves as the lair of the Moktadil brothers, who head an Abu Sayyaf sub-group that is known for conducting kidnapping and piracy activities beyond Tawi-Tawi’s waters. (PNA)