CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – The relentless military operations in Maguindanao had forced six (6) extremists belonging to Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) under the Bungos Faction to voluntarily surrender to JTF Central Forces on Monday afternoon, June 28, 2021, at Headquarters 6th Infantry Battalion, Barangay Buayan, Datu Piang, Maguindanao.
Datu Salibo Municipal Mayor Solaiman Sandigan facilitated the voluntary surrender of the 6 former extremists which were presented to Colonel Pedro Balisi, Commander of 1st Mechanized Brigade, and to Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Banaag, Commander of 6th Infantry Battalion.
Lt. Col. Banaag disclosed that the former extremists brought along six (6) high-powered firearms during their surrender which includes two (2) M16 A1 Rifles, one (1) M14 Rifle, three (3) caliber .30 Garand Rifles, and various ammunition and magazines of different calibers.
“The recent surrender only shows that the BIFF members are starting to realize the lost cause of their group,” said Col. Balisi, adding that government forces will not stop from pursuing the remaining members of the said extremist group.
For the past months, the JTF Central has been continuously running after BIFF extremists who were responsible for the series of atrocities in Central Mindanao. Most notable of these atrocities are the attack at Barangay Kitango, Datu Saudi Ampatuan Municipality on March 17, 2021, and the failed attack of Datu Paglas Municipal Public Market on May 8, 2021, wherein the extremist group suffered numerous casualties after series of armed clash with government forces.
Since then, the BIFF shifted its tactics by using Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) attacks against government forces and the civilian populace which has already killed 2 women and injured 1 other in Datu Saudi Ampatuan last April 28, and the most recent of which was the IED attack in Datu Hoffer, Maguindanao last June 22 which left a pregnant woman dead and her child injured.
Major General Juvymax Uy, Commander of JTF Central and 6th Infantry Division, called on the members of the BIFF and Dawlah Islamiya to voluntarily surrender to the government and enjoy a peaceful life with their families. “The JTF Central along with the local governments of Central Mindanao are willing to accept you back to the folds of the law,” Maj. Gen. Uy expressed, emphasizing that many former extremists who have earlier surrendered have already enjoyed the benefits and assistance provided by the AGILA-HAVEN Program of the Province of Maguindanao and the DIWATA-HAVEN Program of North Cotabato.
Further Maj. Gen Uy emphasized that the JTF Central will not stop hunting down BIFF and Dawlah Islamiya extremists who refused to surrender.