DATU ODIN Sinsuat, Maguindanao (MindaNews/13 September) – Fourteen members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters surrendered Thursday with their high-powered firearms, the military said.
The surrenderers were led by Alimudin Malang of the BIFF 4th division and mostly came from the marsh area in Sultan sa Barongis town in Maguindanao.
Community dialogues and outreach missions by the Bangsamoro regional government led to the surrender, according to Lt. Col. Elmer Boongaling, battalion commander of the 33rd Infantry Battalion.
Joint Task Force Central commander Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon said the decommissioning process for the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front inspired some BIFF members to surrender or rethink their position.
Carreon cited the earlier case of one Commander Simpal who returned to his unit in the MILF, adding he expected more BIFF members to do the same.
Malang said he and his followers realized it was better to surrender and support the Bangsamoro government.
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is offering programs under its convergence initiative HELPS (Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace Governance and Synergy) to boost the rehabilitation of former BIFF members, BARMM Interior Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said.
The BIFF broke away from the MILF in 2011 over disagreement on the handling of the peace process with the government.
In March 2014, the government and the MILF signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
In January and February this year, the law creating BARMM was ratified in a plebiscite. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)