By Philippine Muslim Today
COTABATO CITY – Five Moro extremists and two communist rebels surrendered on separate incidents in Sultan Kudarat province, according to a state media report.
Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander and concurrent head of Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) said on Tuesday the seven men turned in firearms and explosives to the 40th Infantry Battalion (IB) during separate surrender rites held Monday inside the 40IB headquarters in President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
PNA also quoted Lt. Col. Edwin Alburo, the 40IB commander, as saying the Moro extremists belonged to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), while the two New People’s Army rebels belonged to the NPA’s Army Guerilla Front 73.
One of the BIFF members admitted being a collector of “protection money” for the Dawlah Islamiya (DI), an ally terror group of the BIFF, according to the 40IB report.
The five BIFF members, all under the Kagui Karialan faction, were trained in bomb-making and fabrication of explosive devices.
The BIFF group has been blamed for the series of bombings and bus burning in Maguindanao and North Cotabato. The group was also linked to attacks against off-duty soldiers on motorbikes in Maguindanao.
With the help of concerned government agencies, Uy said the surrenderers will be reintegrated into the mainstream society on top of their enrolment to the provincial government’s livelihood package for rebels who wish to live normal lives.
“We are tired, we want to live peacefully with our families. We now realized our cause is going nowhere,” one of the surrenderers told reporters via phone patch on Tuesday.
Uy said the surrendered personalities are currently undergoing custodial debriefing at the 40IB headquarters.
Since January this year, the Army-led JTFC has successfully convinced 162 BIFF, 37 DI, and 154 NPA rebels to lay down their arms and return to mainstream society in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani, parts of North Cotabato, and Lanao del Sur.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is also listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (with PNA)