Militant and terrorist organizations in the southern part of the country took a setback after the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) facilitated the surrender of nine members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and an Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member in Maguindanao and Basilan provinces on Saturday, August 13.
Maj. Gen. Roy Galido, commander of Joint Task Force Central, said nine violent extremists voluntarily submitted themselves to the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion at the battalion headquarters in Brgy. Midtimbang, Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Maguindanao.
The surrenderees turned over an M16 rifle, an M14 rifle, an M1 Garand rifle, an M79 grenade launcher, a locally-made caliber 50 sniper rifle, and one caliber 45 pistol.
Their identities were not disclosed for security reasons but the military said a total of 146 BIFF members have returned to the folds of the law since January of this year.
Meanwhile, alias Jijih Tularan, 30, surrendered to members of the 64th Infantry Battalion at the battalion headquarters in Barangay Tumahubong, Sumisip, Basilan.
Tularan served in the ASG under the late sub-leader Juhaiver Alamsirul alias Abu Kik, said Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, commander of Joint Task Force Basilan.
He turned over a caliber 30 M1 Garand rifle with one clip and eight rounds of ammunition upon his surrender.
Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, WestMinCom commander, said the continuous surrender of BIFF and ASG members in Maguindanao and Basilan was the result of a “holistic approach” in the campaign against terrorism in Mindanao.
“Our good relationship with our partners and stakeholders led to the continued weakening and eventual defeat of the terror groups in our area of operation,” Rosario noted.
The surrendered BIFF and ASG fighters underwent custodial debriefing so the military could gather further information about their former units.
“Rest assured that your armed forces will remain steadfast in fulfilling our mandate in protecting our people against terrorism,” Rosario said.