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ARMM government supports enforcement of Comelec gun ban

Local News • 01:27 AM Tue Jan 12, 2016
John Unson

COTABATO CITY -- Officials on Monday assured to help the Commission on Elections impose its ban on carrying of firearms in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to ensure a peaceful electoral exercise in the area in May 2016.ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, presiding chairman of the region’s inter-agency peace and order council, said the provincial police directors in all five provinces under his jurisdiction had been ordered to strictly impose Comelec’s firearm ban. We in the ARMM government support the restriction on carrying of guns during the election period because it can help ensure a peaceful conduct of elections in the autonomous region in May,” Hataman told The STAR on Monday.The Comelec restriction on carrying of guns started on Sunday.The ARMM covers Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in Central Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.Peace activists in Sulu, which has 18 politically troubled towns, had asked the Comelec to focus attention on certain local officials maintaining private armies to perpetuate political power. It is a known fact that in Sulu, big political clans keep sophisticated firearms which they use to scare followers of rival partisan groups,” a Catholic community figurehead, who asked not to be identified, told The Star via text message.The police director of ARMM, Chief Supt. Ronald Estilles, said they have enlisted the help of local Muslim clerics to help disseminate the restriction on carrying of firearms during the election period. We will comply with all directives of Comelec towards that goal,” Estilles said.Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the Army’s 6thInfantry Division, which has jurisdiction over Maguindanao’s 36 towns, said their enforcement of the gun ban shall be initiated under the close supervision of the Comelec.

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