Four alleged members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have surrendered to authorities in Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said Wednesday.
In a statement, WestMinCom chief Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said the relentless focused military operations in central Mindanao have led to the starvation of some terrorists and prompted them to surrender.
Vinluan said the four members of the BIFF-Bungos Faction submitted themselves to the troops of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion (1Mech Bn) at about 11 a.m. on July 27.
“They handed over their firearm including one US cal. 50HB machine gun, one R4A3 Carbine with M203 grenade launcher, one cal. 30 Carbine, and one 7.62mm sniper rifle,” said 1Mech Bn Commander Lt. Col. Cresencio Sanchez, Jr.
Subject personalities were subsequently presented to Col. Pedro Balisi, Jr., Commander of 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade (1Mech Bde), and Shariff Aguak Mayor Marop Ampatuan at the unit headquarters in Barangay Kamasi, Ampatuan, Maguindanao.
The four are currently undergoing custodial debriefing at the 1Mech Bde headquarters, the WestMinCom said.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of Joint Task Force Central urged the remaining BIFF members to yield and avail of the government’s reintegration programs.
“Now is the best time for you to surrender,” Uy said.
Since January 2021, the AFP said that the JTF Central neutralized a total of 145 BIFF personalities; 69 of which were killed, 74 surrendered, and two were apprehended.
“The offensives of the Joint Task Force Central will continue despite the mounting number of BIFF members who are now deciding to return to the folds of the law,” Vinluan said.
“Rest assured that all our operations adhere to the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws,” he added.