BIFF strength waning, more members to yield: PH Army

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – A military commander here said the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) is weakening as more extremists realize they were misguided and fighting a lost cause.

“More have expressed to surrender but (are) just waiting for an opportune time,” Col. Pedro Balisi, commander of the Army's 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade, said in an interview here Saturday.

Balisi said 80 to 90 BIFF radicals left in the marshland of Maguindanao are expected to surrender soon.

Local government officials, including village leaders, he said, are continuously convincing those misguided by the BIFF ideology to surrender peacefully to the government and live normal lives.

“Our focused military operations geared towards them also forced the extremists to surrender,” he added.

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID), said relentless military operations would continue for those who refuse to surrender.

“Our doors have remained open, though, to those who wish to be with their families and live peaceful lives,” he said.

On Tuesday, 11 members of the BIFF yielded to the 6ID with their high-powered firearms that included a .50-caliber anti-aircraft machine gun, a .30-caliber machine gun, an M-203 rifle, a .50-caliber Barret sniper rifle, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and several Garand and Carbine rifles.

“The latest surrenderers belonged to the Bungos and Karialan faction(s) of the BIFF,” Uy said in a separate interview.

Haron Akil, one of the BIFF surrenderers, and the other 10 disclosed that many of their companions want to yield as they are tired of running away from pursuing military forces.

“We expect them to also yield soon,” he said in the vernacular.

Uy said the surrenderers would get financial aid and a livelihood package from the Maguindanao provincial government to help them start with their new lives as peaceful and productive citizens.

More than 150 BIFF have surrendered to the government since 2020. (PNA)


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