By Malu Cadelina Manar
KIDAPAWAN CITY – Three suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) surrendered to the Army in Pikit, Cotabato, on Friday, a town official said.
Pikit Municipal Mayor Sumulong Sultan identified those who yielded to the Seventh Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army as Dao Lagian, Faizal Aliman, and Ali Mundas Kasim.
Reports said Lagian and Kasim were residents of Barangay Kabasalan, and Aliman was a native of Barangay Bulol, all in Pikit town.
Sultan said Lagian belonged to the group of BIFF Commander Gani Saligan, formerly a top commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) assigned in M’lang, Cotabato
Aliman, who is also from Barangay Kabasalan, Pikit, was connected with the group of BIFF Commander Ali Kusain, while Kasim belonged to the group of Commander Kagui Karialan, also of the BIFF.
Their areas of operations include the Liguasan marsh in Maguindanao and the towns of Pikit and M’lang in North Cotabato, according to reports.
Sultan said the three turned in their firearms, which included a sniper rifle, rocket propelled grenade launcher, and an Armalite rifle.
He said that Lagian and Kasim were convinced to surrender to the Army by their chairman Gulam Guimbalangan of Barangay Kabasalan, Pikit; while BIFF member Aliman was swayed by their chairman Riduan Makatedtang of Barangay Bulol, Pikit.
The BIFF members would be sent for a livelihood training inside the headquarters of the Army’s 602nd Brigade of the Sixth Infantry Division in Carmen, Cotabato, according to Sultan.
They, however, could not qualify for livelihood assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Livelihood Integrated Program (E-CLIP) as they are not members of a rebel group.
Sultan, however, is set to endorse the three BIFF members to the BARMM parliament for assistance.
“Since they are considered terrorists, therefore, they could not be given assistance through E-CLIP, we intend to bring them to the BARMM for help,” said the mayor.