By Bonita Ermac
Six fully-armed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) gunmen surrendered to the government following a decision to abandon their comrades in the Liguasan Marsh on Wednesday morning.
Major Arvin Encinas, army’s 6th Infantry Battalion spokesman, said the six who surrendered in Barangay Midconding, Gen. SK Pendatun, Maguindanao, were led by Mama Abdul, alias “Lapu-Lapu.”
All belonging to the BIFF Karialan Faction of Commander Gani Saligan – a notorious fighter in Southern Liguashan Marsh area – the six surrendered to the army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion through Lieutenant Colonel Harold M. Cabunoc.
They yielded six high-powered firearms, including one M-14 rifle and a Garand rifle, two homemade rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and an improvised .45-caliber rifle.
In surrendering, Abdul said that they wanted to support the peace initiatives of the government and realized the futility of their cause after the land conflict in Barangay Midconding had been resolved by the army.
The six were also presented to Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, GSKP Mayor Bonnie Kali, and Assemblyman Toy Mangudadatu at the Barangay Hall in Midconding, General SK Pendatun.
They each received P20,000 cash assistance from Congressman Zajid Mangudadatu.
“The surrender is a welcome development in our on-going effort in supporting the peace and development agenda of the government,” said Major General Cirilito E. Sobejana, 6th Infantry Division commander.
“We would like to transform Liguasan Marsh from a battlefield to an oilfield that would bring economic prosperity for the Moro people and Mindanao region as a whole,” he said.