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Mangudadatuand SOE and gun ban will work good in Maguindanao.

 • 01:20 AM Tue Jan 12, 2016
John Unson

BULUAN, Maguindanao -- Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu on Monday recommended a tighter imposition in the province of the poll body’s ban on carrying of guns since the area has been under state of emergency (SOE) since November 2009.Maguindanao was placed under SOE by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo immediately after the election-related massacre of 58 people, more than half of them journalists, in Ampatuan town on November 23, 2009.The Commission on Elections started prohibiting carrying of guns throughout the country on Sunday, as part of the effort to ensure a peaceful conduct of elections in May this year. The SOE has not been lifted yet and we don’t want it rescinded. We want the SOE to stay for the safety of our people especially during this election period,” Mangudadatu said.Maguindanao covers 36 towns, where people have a strong culture of keeping firearms both as status symbol and protection from adversarial clans. The SOE and the Comelec gun ban will work good in Maguindanao surely, Mangudadatu said.Authorities had disarmed Maguindanao’s Ampatuan clan, whose leaders were jailed in connection with what is now most known as the Maguindanao massacre,” amid the SOE.The SOE also covers Cotabato City, which is administratively under Region 12, but is inside Maguindanao, a component province of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).Mangudadatu also recommended to the Comelec, the Philippine National Police and the Army’s 6thInfantry Division, which has jurisdiction over Maguindanao, to tap the joint ceasefire committee of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in enforcing the gun ban. It would be wise to involve the joint government-MILF ceasefire committee in disseminating to the public the intricacies of the gun ban,” Mangudadatu said.The government and the MILF are bound by the 1997 Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities to mutually cooperate in addressing security issues besetting potential flashpoint areas in Mindanao.

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