CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Three (3) members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) surrendered to 57th Infantry (Masikap) Battalion in Sitio Iking, Barangay Romongaob, South Upi, Maguindanao on Friday (July 16, 2021).
According to Colonel Eduardo Gubat, 603rd Infantry Brigade Commander, those who surrendered to 57IB under Lt. Col. Jonathan Pondanera belongs to BIFF-Bungos Faction.
Col. Gubat said, “It is certain that the government’s peace program is effective in influencing them to denounce their affiliation with the terror group”.
Along with their surrender, the former extremists also brought along one (1) M1 Garand rifle, one (1) Carbine rifle and one (1) Caliber .45 pistol with magazines and ammunition.
Major General Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Central and 6ID Commander expressed his gratitude to the local government as effective partners in attaining peace and development in South and Central Mindanao.
“Our efforts in attaining peace in this part of the country is fruitful as evidenced by the significant increase of terrorist group members who surrendered to the government”, Maj. Gen. Uy emphasized.
BIFF and DI surrenderees
For this year, a total of 71 former BIFF and Dawlah Islamiya members denounced their allegiance with the said groups and instead choose to live a peaceful life with the community and with their families.
The influx of surrender came along after Gov. Bai Mariam Sangki Mangudadatu has declared the BIFF and DI extremists as persona-non-grata in the Province of Maguindanao. The effort was further strengthened with the assistance under the AGILA-HAVEN (Anak na may GInintuang LAyunin upang Hintuan Ang Violent Extremism Ngayon) Program for those who wish to surrender.
The Provincial Government of Maguindanao has actively supported numbers of former extremists in their desire to live a peaceful life by providing livelihood assistance through the AGILA-HAVEN Program of the province. While the JTF Central relentlessly hunted down extremists who refuse to return to the folds of the law.