Saying they are exhausted from running away from military authorities and at the same time convinced by their former comrades to take the path of peace, a dozen members of Daesh-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) yielded to the Army on Tuesday.
Colonel Jose Narciso, commander of the Army's 601st Infantry Brigade (IB) based here, said the BIFF combatants voluntarily surrendered with the help of municipal officials of Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao.
We had a series of negotiations with their leaders before their formal surrender, Narciso said, as he expressed hope that more outlawed gunmen will follow suit.
The BIFF surrenderers turned over assorted firearms, including two homemade .50-caliber sniper rifles, in a ceremony held at the Sultan sa Barongis town hall and attended by Sultan sa Barongis Mayor Alfizzar Allan Datu Angas Sr.
Of the BIFF who surrendered, only two were residents of Sultan sa Barongis, the rest were from nearby towns, Angas said.
Narciso assured the returnees that the government will help them through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
One of the returnees said he and his group decided to surrender because they want to live normal lives.
Our former companions who surrendered earlier are now peacefully living with their families, with livelihood assistance from the government, said the returnee, who asked not to be named.
Narciso said the Army will continue to open its arms to lawless elements who wanted to reform and live peacefully with their families.
Source: Philippines News Agency