BARMM Capitol Building (Google photo)

DND Chief Teodoro emphasizes need to intensify campaign against loose firearms in BARMM

Cotabato City– Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. emphasized the need to intensify campaign against loose firearms in BARMM, noting that “internal security is as much a priority as external defense.”
Teodoro made the pronouncement during the launching of the Assistance for Security, Peace, Integration and Recovery for Advancing Human Security (ASPIRE) in the BARMM in Isabela City, Basilan on October 5, Mindanews online report said on October 8.
He described the Japanese-funded project as “a proactive and innovative way of reducing the proliferation of illegal weapons in society.”
“Kaalinsabay ng ASPIRE project, kailangan ang police and military visibility to deter any form of aggression, para sa mga magsu-surrender, mararamdaman nila na safe sila (Together with the ASPIRE project, there is a need for police and military visibility to deter any form of aggression, and for those who will surrender to feel they are safe,” he said in a statement as quoted by Mindanews.
ASPIRE aims to reduce small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the Bangsamoro region and to provide livelihood support to former Moro combatants and members of private armed groups, as well as raise awareness on the negative effects of possessing SALW, the report said.
For his part, Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Unity and Reconciliation (OPAPRU) Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said that the initiative is part of the normalization process under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
“We in OPAPRU believe that in the near future, guns and other weapons will be kept by residents because it will be shameful to bring them around. Moreover, there will no longer be a need for them, especially in communities where peace, security and development reign,” Mindanews quoting Galvez saying.

.The ASPIRE project started in September 2022 with the Japanese government extending a grant of $5 million (PhP285 million).
Teodoro said that programs such as ASPIRE intend “to harden the country’s integrity in order to face external challenges.”