Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City – October 14, 2021
Eight more members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) laid down their arms and returned to the folds of the law on Wednesday morning, the WestMinCom Commander said. “Based on the report from the ground, eight BIFF personalities handed over to Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Balintong, Battalion Commander of the 92nd Infantry Battalion their firearms and crew-served weapons including one 60mm Mortar with ammunition, two 7.62mm Sniper rifles, one M14 rifle, one M16 rifle, one M14 Barret, one Ultimax rifle, and one Rocket-Propelled Grenade,” Western Mindanao Command Chief, Major General Alfredo Rosario, Jr. stated.
Lieutenant Colonel Balintong disclosed that the latest batch of surrendered personalities includes the sub-group leader identified as Johar Inday Palaguyan, a.k.a. DARAN, and seven of his cohorts. The eight were subsequently presented to Brigadier General Ignatius Patrimonio, Commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team at the Multi-purpose hall, BSA, 1BCT Old Capitol, Barangay Satan, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, on the same day. The activity was witnessed by Datu Hoffer Mayor Bai Bongbong Ampatuan; Datu Salibo Mayor Solaiman Sandigan; The Peace & Order Focal Person of Datu Unsay, Mr. Carlo Bon Perjes; Shariff Aguak Mayor Marop Ampatuan; and Police Lt. Col. Lendsy Sinsuat, Chief Intelligence Officer of the Maguindanao Provincial Police Office.
The group is now under the custody of 92IB for JAPIC certification prior to their endorsement for livelihood assistance and social packages under the AGILA-HAVEN Program of the Province of Maguindanao. Initially, the local government of Shariff Aguak handed over financial assistance and a sack of rice to each of them.
“The influx of surrenders of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) combatants in Maguindanao is a manifestation of the effective implementation of the whole-of-nation approach in addressing terrorism and insurgency in the area,” said Major General Rosario, Jr.
Meanwhile, Major General Juvymax Uy, Commander of the Joint Task Force Central and 6th Infantry Division, expressed his appreciation to the local chief executives of Maguindanao for their continued support by helping former BIFF and Daulah Islamiya combatants return to the folds of the law and live a peaceful and sustainable life with their families. “Our partnership has proven that peace is possible in central Mindanao, if we work together,” Major General Uy further stated. He also called on other BIFF and DI members to return to the folds of the law and cooperate with the government.
The snowball of BIFF surrenders in Maguindanao started when the AGILA-HAVEN Program of the Province of Maguindanao was launched sometime in 2019. For this year alone, 134 BIFF personalities have surrendered to the military in central Mindanao.