INTENSIFIED combat and intelligence operations have pushed seven members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Liberation Front (BIFF) to surrender to government authorities in North Cotabato, military officials announced.

The seven BIFF members surrendered Friday, May 20, to Lieutenant Colonel Rommel Mundala, 90th Infantry Battalion commander, in Pikit, North Cotabato.

They yielded a Garand rifle with two ammunition, one Carbine rifle, three M-14 Barret rifles with two magazines, one caliber .50 Barret rifle with magazine, one M-203 grenade launcher with two ammunition.

Mundala presented them to Colonel Jovencio Gonzales, 602nd Infantry Brigade commander, and Mayor Sumolong Sultan at the Municipal Hall of Pikit, North Cotabato.

The BIFF surrenderers are followers of the BIFF-Karianlan faction, according to Mundala.

Gonzales expressed his admiration for the seven former BIFF members for making the right decision.

"To lay down their arms peacefully is way better than ending their armed struggle on the battlefield," Gonzales said.

Major General Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force (JTF)-Central commander, commended the troops for the remarkable accomplishment.

Uy also said that the military, in coordination with the local government unit, will assist the former violent extremists in their reintegration into mainstream society.

He vowed out of the military service Saturday, May 12, a day after the seven BIFF members surrendered to them in Central Mindanao.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Alfredo Rosario Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the Westmincom will continue to bolster its operations to neutralize the remaining terrorists and violent extremists in its area of operation.

Since January 2022, a total of 124 BIFF members surrendered to the military authorities in Central Mindanao. (SunStar Zamboanga)

Source: SunStar (