CAMP SIONGCO, MAGUINDANAO – A new set of 10 extremists from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) under Karialan Faction surrenders to Joint Task Force Central (JTF Central) forces at Headquarters 1st Mechanized Brigade, Brgy Kamasi, Ampatuan, Maguindanao on the morning of August 24, 2021.
Lt.Col. Charlie Banaag, Commanding Officer of 6th Infantry Battalion, disclosed that the surrenderers brought along six (6) high powered firearms which includes one (1) M16 A1 Rifle, one (1) M1 Carbine Rifle, two (2) Caliber .30 Garand Rifles, one (1) Caliber .50 Sniper Rifle, and one (1) RPG. “These Former Violent Extremists expresses their desire to live a quiet and peaceful life with their love ones and stressed how the BIFF has ruined their lives,” Lt.Col. Banaag added.
The surrenderers were presented to the Municipal Mayor of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Hon Edris A Sindatok. “This accomplishment is a joint effort of security forces in close coordination with the community leaders and Local Government Unit of Datu Saudi Ampatuan,” stressed by Col. Pedro Balisi, Commander of 1st Mechanized Brigade, highlighting that the community played an important role in the current influx of surrenders in Maguindanao.
As of reporting, more than a hundred former violent extremists has already surrendered to the government since January of this year. The influx of surrender came after the relentless man hunt of JTF Central forces against the BIFF and Daulah Islamiya (DI) members together with the effectiveness of the AGILA-HAVEN Program of the Province of Maguindanao.
Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, Commander of JTF Central and 6th Infantry Division, expressed his eagerness to welcome the new set of surrenderers back to the folds of the law. “Your decision to work with the government in attaining peace and stability in Maguindanao is a milestone not only for the security forces but also for our partners from the Local Government Units and from the communities as well,” Maj. Gen. Uy said. He likewise pointed out that this development is not been possible without the support of the Local Government Units along with its psycho-social reintegration programs such as the AGILA-HAVEN Program of the Province of Maguindanao.
Since the introduction of the AGILA-HAVEN Program in 2019, a total of 211 former violent extremists already benefited from the program as recipients of livelihood packages from the Provincial Government of Maguindanao. Along with this, Maguindanao Governor Bai-Marriam Sangki-Mangudadatu declared the BIFF and DI as ‘persona-non-grata’ in the Province prompting the community and its leaders to condemn the atrocities and presence of the said extremist groups.
The surrendered firearms were turned over to 6th Infantry Battalion for safekeeping while the 10 former violent extremists are set to undergo the required process to avail of livelihood packages under the AGILA-HAVEN Program.