Six more members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) yielded to the military in this province on Wednesday afternoon.
The latest surrenderers came just a day after ten of their compatriots surrendered to the Army’s 1st Mechanized Brigade (1MBde) headquarters in Barangay Kamasi, Ampatuan town, on Tuesday.
Lt. Col. Charlie Banaag, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Battalion, stated in an interview that he submitted the six surrenderers to Col. Pedro Balisi, the 1MBde commander, on Thursday.
Aratok Silongan, Aladin Kuntong, Haime Guinaid, Ton-Ton Guinaid, Pagal Sape, and Datu Ali Kalagyo, all members of the BIFF-Bungos faction in the so-called SPMS box, were identified as the six surrenderers.
The SPMS-box is a military term referring to the contiguous towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin (Datu Saudi Ampatuan town), Mamasapano, and Shariff Saydona Mustapha, where the BIFF operates.
“The succession of surrender by the BIFF extremists simply means the security landscape in the province is changing for the better,” Banaag told reporters here.
One mortar launching pad, three M16 rifles, one M1 Garand rifle, one Springfield rifle, one rocket-propelled grenade launcher, one homemade .50-caliber Barrett sniper rifle, and one shoulder-fired M79 grenade launcher were among the weapons given in by the group.
“We are fed up with our situation and with the lies to us by our BIFF commanders. We are already tired and we want to live a normal life with our families,” Silongan said.
For his part, Balisi expressed gratitude to Mayor Solaiman M. Sandigan of Datu Salibo, Maguindanao, as well as Datu Renz Tukuran, a former Moro Islamic Liberation Front commander, for arranging the six BIFF extremists’ voluntary surrender.
“What just transpired is a clear manifestation that the partnership of the security forces, local government units, and the members of the community is crucial in attaining the long-aspired peace in Central Mindanao,” Balisi said in a statement.
With the six surrendering, the overall number of BIFF surrenderers has grown to 136 since January.