CAMP SIONGCO, Awang, DOS, Maguindanao – An elite force Commander of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) – Karialan Faction and eleven (11) of his followers yielded anew to the Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) at Headquarters of 1st Mechanized Brigade in Barangay Kamasi, Ampatuan, Maguindanao on the morning of August 30, 2021.
The voluntary surrender of the twelve (12) former violent extremists coming from the BIFF-Karialan Faction was presented by Colonel Pedro Balisi, Commander of the 1st Mechanized Brigade, and Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Banaag, Commander of 6th Infantry (Redskin) Battalion along with the Local Government Unit of Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao led by Hon. Datu Sajid Andre Ampatuan and Barangay Officials of Shariff Saydona Mustapha.
Lt. Col. Banaag disclosed that the former extremists brought along with them ten (10) assorted high-powered firearms, ammunition, and explosives which includes: one (1) M16 A1 Caliber 5.56mm, one (1) M79 Grenade Launcher, one (1) M14 Rifle-Caliber 7.6mm, one (1) M14 Rifle-Caliber 7.6mm, one (1) Caliber .50 Sniper Rifle, one (1) Caliber .30 Sniper Rifle with Scope, two (2) Caliber .30 Sniper Rifles, two (2) RPG Launchers, two (2) components of IED Jet Matic Pump with two (2) Blasting Caps, and various ammunition.
“The continued surrender of the BIFF leaders and members is just a manifestation that their ranks are weakening. The sustained military operations against them resulted in the decline of their membership and to the near destruction of their group”, Col. Balisi said. Moreover, he said, “JTF Central and the peace-loving people of Maguindanao will soon be able to achieve victory in winning the peace that we are fighting for when the extremist groups are totally wiped out.”
Major General Juvymax R Uy, Commander of the 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division and the Joint Task Force Central was elated with the decision of these former extremists. “We are grateful that you have denounced the BIFF and have finally cut your support with them. You also surrendered equipment used to destroy lives and properties. Rest assured that this kind of act will never be put to waste”, Maj. Gen Uy said.
He also commended the concerted efforts of the 1st Mechanized Brigade troops together with other security forces of the government and the local officials of Shariff Saydona Mustapha in facilitating the surrender of the former extremists. “Your exemplary performance of duty have contributed a lot in ensuring the safety of the people and putting an end to violent extremism in order to attain lasting peace and development in our area of operations”, Maj. Gen. Uy said.
The former extremists are now undergoing custodial debriefing, documentation, and processing of the benefits they will receive under the AGILA-HAVEN Program of Maguindanao Province to help them have a sustainable income and to start peaceful life with their families in the mainstream society.
The recent surrender is the 6th group who yielded to government security forces in Maguindanao only for the month of August. It can be recalled that 13 former violent extremists surrendered in President Quirino last August 6, 2021, and another 10 surrendered in Shariff Aguak on August 13. It was again followed by the surrender of 4 former violent extremists in Datu Hoffer Ampatuan town on August 18, another 10 from Datu Saudi Ampatuan on August 24, and 6 former violent extremists surrender in Datu Salibo town on August 25.
The series of surrenders can be attributed to the relentless manhunt of JTF Central Forces for several months against the remnants of BIFF and Daulah Islamiya extremists who are on the run after a number of armed clashes with security forces. This effort is also being complemented by the Province of Maguindanao through its AGILA-HAVEN Program, urging violent extremists to return to the folds of the law and embrace a peaceful and sustainable life ahead.