Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista, Jolo, Sulu – Eight Abu Sayyaf members formally yield to the military in Sulu in a localized integration program at 1101st Infantry Brigade (1101st Bde) Headquarters in Sitio Bayog, Brgy Samak, Talipao, Sulu on May 21, 2021.
One of them has just returned to Sulu after hiding in Tawi-tawi for several years. Brigader General Antonio I Bautista Jr, 1101st Bde Commander presented the eight surrenderors to Joint Task Force – Sulu and 11th Infantry Division Commander Major General William N Gonzales. They were identified as Padding Padjiri under sub-leader Alhabsy Misaya, Ibrahim Jul Uppih and alias Yasser under sub-leader Idang Susukan, Abraham Alawara, Adzar Karun, Dansalan Jumadil, Sahadani Murani, and Bulli Barri all under late ASGSL Said Aklam @Amah Maas.
Their surrender was facilitated by the 2nd Special Forces, 15th Civil Military Operations Battalion and 100th Infantry Battalion. In an interview, 24-year old Ibrahim Jul Uppih, revealed that he joined Abu Sayyaf group around 2014. “At that time, I was just hanging out. Then my cousin invites me with him to the Abu Sayyaf to earn extra money. We were just given occasionally but I had a hard time there.” Uppih was just able to reach 2nd grade as he has lost interest in education after his mother died when he was 10-years old. With difficult state of life and the promise of instant cash, he ventured to go with the group. He has been part of three encounters and served as a watchman of kidnap victims. Sensing that his struggle was senseless, he left the group of Susukan and escaped to Tawi-Tawi. His wife also moved to Tawi-Tawi wherein they had three children. There, Uppih barely made their ends meet as a banana farmer. Accordingly, he lived in fear while he was in another island province. He thought that he still might be hunted by other Abu Sayyaf members or reported to authorities.
Fortunately, alias Darius, one of his former group members was able to contact him and encourage him to yield to authorities. Darius is presently a Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit Active Auxiliaries. Uppih, together with his family, has been back in Sulu for three months. “When I got back here, my chest was pounding because I was still scared until I formally surrendered. Now that I’m here and the Division Commander is right in front of us, I can really breathe easily,” he shared. In his speech, Major General Gonzales assured them that they will get the assistance that they need. “The potential of this province is enormous. If before, peace was almost impossible, now it is on the horizon. It’s just a matter of time, how fast we get there. This initiative of yours to surrender is one of the things that can speed up the transitionl of Sulu in the hoped-for peace. You are also part of that bright future.“ The surrenderors brought with them three M1 Garand Rifle, Cal .38 and Cal .45 pistols