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Former BIFF Combatants get livelihood assistance from Gov’t

BIFF livelihood assistance

CAMP SIONGCO, Awang, DOS, Maguindanao – Eleven (11) former violent extremists of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) under various factions in Central Mindanao who surrendered on different occasions this year have received livelihood assistance and food supply from the government as part of its efforts to end violent extremism.

These former rebels got livelihood assistance from various local government units on Wednesday (July 20, 2022) at the 1st Brigade Combat Team Headquarters in Brgy. Pigcalagan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel A Balintong, Commanding Officer of 92nd Infantry Battalion presented five (5) former Violent Extremists under BIFF-Karialan/Bungos Faction and DI- Turaife Group members along with five (5) high-powered firearms. Subsequently, Police Major Edralin L Marandan of Police Regional Office Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO-BAR) presented the other six (6) FVEs under BIFF-Bungos/Karialan Faction and DI-Turaife Group along with their armaments.

They were presented to Major General Roberto S Capulong, Acting Commander of 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division and Joint Task Force Central along with Colonel Leodevic B Guinid, Commander of 1BCT with the presence of local chief executives, Hon. Rolando C. Sacdalan, Municipal Mayor of Midsayap; Hon Juanito C. Agustin, Municipal Mayor of Pigcawayan; Mr. Roger Dionesio, Focal Person of AGILA Haven Program; representatives of municipal mayors of Sultan Kudarat and Sultan Mastura; PNP counterparts; media personalities and other stakeholders.

BIFF livelihood assistance

Colonel Leodevic B Guinid, Commander of 1BCT said “during ceremonial presentation of former violent extremists, the LGUs of aforementioned municipalities handed over financial assistance and eleven (11) sacks of rice to the surrenderees.”

It was learned that they had already surrendered their weapons which includes seven 7.62mm Sniper Rifle, two Rifle Cal. 30 M1 Garand, one Pistol M1 Ingram 9mm, and one Caliber 50 Sniper Rifle which was presented during the said activity.

“We are thankful to the government for accepting us and even helping us get back to our family. We experienced hunger, fatigue, and hardship in avoiding the soldiers who were chasing us so we thought of turning back to the government”, tearfully narrated in their local dialect by one of the surrendered former combatants.

In his message, MGen. Capulong said, “We have learned our lessons that fighting is not the answer. We have lots of issues to be solved here in the area of Joint Task Force Central, but with everybody’s cooperation, we can get rid of all of these.”

“To the 11 former violent extremists, humahanga kami sa inyong katapangan na bumalik sa tamang landas at sumuko sa batas. Ang livelihood assistance na ito na handog ng ating pamahalaan ay palaguin ninyo para sa inyong kabuhayan at sa inyong pagbabagong buhay. Nais din namin kayong isailalim sa psychosocial interventions para tugunan ang mga issues na kasalukuyan ninyong kinakaharap”, MGen. Capulong said as he also commended the military troops, other government forces counterparts, local government units and stakeholders for doing a great job in winning the peace in Central Mindanao.

As of this record, a total of 133 BIFF and 9 Dawlah Islamiyah Turayfe Group have surrendered to the different units under JTFC since January this year to date.

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