By Ali G. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Four (4) combatants of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have yielded to Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) forces in Midsayap, North Cotabato, bringing to more than 100 members of the outlawed group received in batches by authorities in Central Mindanao.
The four surrendering rebels were presented in brief rites at the Midasayap town mayor’s office on Nov. 22 witnessed by authorities including Mayor Romeo Araña and military officials, said a press statement from the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID) sent to the Philippine Muslim Today new.
Lt. Col. Edgardo Vilchez, commanding officer of 34th Infantry Battalion, said the surrendered BIFF combatants as Sanny Boy Satol Mamalumpong alias Takokan, Ato Menis Sandato alias Ado, Satol Gamblay Butuan, and Darang T. Katog, all belonging to BIFF Karialan Faction.
The surrendered rebels yielded at ceremony their high-powered firearms including one (1) M60 Barrett rifle, two (2) 7.62mm sniper rifles, and one (1) M14 rifle as shown in photos supplied by the 6ID.
Colonel Jovencio Gonzales, head of the 602nd Infantry Brigade, 34th IB mother unit, said the surrender was realized with the help of community leaders and residents “longing for peace in Central Mindanao.”
Mayor Araña lauded the option of the former BIFF combatants to rejoin peaceful life and urged others to return to the folds of the law.
Major General Juvymax Uy, Commander of both the JTFC and 6th ID, expressed his gratitude to the community for helping the government forces in facilitating the surrender of the said personalities.
“What is happening right now is an indication that peace can be achieved in Central Mindanao. With strong partnership of the LGUs, communities, and the government forces, our campaign to totally defeat the BIFF and other Local Terrorist Groups can be achieved,” Gen. Uy said.
The four surrendered BIFF combatants will be enrolled with the DIWATA HAVEN Program of North Cotabato, which provides livelihood packages and equipment in order for them to live productive and peaceful life with their families, the 6ID statement said.
The Nov. 20 ceremony was the latest in a series of batches of surrendering BIFF combatants in North Cotabato and Maguindanao, bringing to some 150 fighters of the outlawed group received in rites this year alone, it was learned. (AGM)