By Francis Wakefield
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) expressed belief that more members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) would turn themselves in to the military and return to the folds of the law.
This after three more BIFF members surrendered on Friday to Army 602nd Infantry Brigade commander Col. Alfredo V. Rosario Jr., bringing with them high-powered firearms composed of caliber 7.62mm M14 rifle, caliber 5.56 rifle, M653 carbine rifle, and two homemade sniper rifles.
The three were identified as Junior Dia Kaul, Roy Saidali Maningkala and Bin Tato Sulaiman, who agreed to return to the folds of law due to the effects of the ongoing military operations that killed several rebels through series of aerial bombardments. They were operating in the areas of Liguasan marsh.
Kaul said he was frightened of the air and ground operations of the military as they are still detected even if they were hiding. They were also tired of the continuous military operation for the past two weeks.
The rebels also said they joined the BIFF group more than two years ago in return for a monthly P6,000 cash incentive. They accepted the offer which they believed it will benefit them to support and sustain the needs of their families but no cash incentive was given in the long run.
Following their surrender, the three were presented to Army 6th Infantry division commander Brig. Gen.l Cirilito E. Sobejana.
Sobejana urged the rebels to convince their other members to surrender as the 6th ID will provide them refuge to give them security and prevent retaliation from their former group.
He added that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has pledged to give livelihood assistance to the rebels who decided to return to the folds of law.
This was the third batch of BIFF rebels that surrendered to the authorities. The first group composed of four rebels surrendered on April 10, 2018 to the 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion and the second batch composed of 11 members surrendered on May 10 to the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion, bringing the total number of BIFF fighters who surrendered to the Army to 18.