• ‘Finish off BIFF’ to protect local communities – AFP chief

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    ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. on Wednesday ordered an all-out offensive against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), whose violent attacks in the past days had displaced more than 20,000 civilians in the central part of Mindanao in southern Philippines.

    The military chief gave the order to finish off the rogue group of former Muslim separatist rebels in an effort to protect local communities against armed attacks by the BIFF.

    “I am saddened by the news that at least 20,000 people had been displaced by the violent attacks perpetrated by the BIFF in the hinterland villages. We will do our best to protect the people and allow them to go back to their homes,” Catapang said.

    He reminded all military unit commanders in the area to conduct joint law-enforcement operations with the Philippine National Police (PNP) within the framework of ceasefire mechanisms in order to avoid clashing with the bigger but also separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which engaged police commandos in a firefight on January 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, leaving 44 troops dead.

    Catapang said government forces must remain strong and united against a “common enemy.”

    He enjoined his men to show the military’s might by running after all BIFF members to the last man.

    “We must remain united in our common fight against lawlessness and terrorism. Let us show the enemies of the State that we are a formidable force that will continuously pursue them anywhere they go,” the AFP chief said.

    At the same time, he also ordered the military commanders to support the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the local government units of Pagalungan and Pikit towns in North Cotabato in providing humanitarian assistance to the innocent civilians who were displaced from their homes because of sporadic attacks by the BIFF.

    In recent encounters with the military, at least 20 BIFF members were killed.

    Army artillery units fired at least 50 rounds of 105mm howitzer at known BIFF positions in the area.

    The shelling started at about 6 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
    Soldiers from the 1st Mechanized Brigade seized seven firearms and assorted equipment during a clash with the BIFF in Barangay Mapayag, Datu Angal Midtimbang town, also in Maguindanao.

    The offensives against the bandit group were launched in wake of the Mamasapano incident, where elite forces from the Special Action Force of the PNP, who were on a mission to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifi bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Filipino bomb maker and Abu Sayyaf member, Abdul Basit Usman, were killed.

    Although Marwan was confirmed to have been killed, Usman managed to fight it out with the police officers and escaped.

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    9 Comments

    1. What the differences between BIFF and MILF. it in their name only. How can we be a friend to MILF and enemy to BIFF. because on the blood level they both are brothers, relatives and close friend only their approach is different. So to fight them and asked the MILF to lead the way is awkward. ano akala ng MIlitar tanga ang mga ito . will they allow their comrade in arm to be killed or even captured just like that. Just wondering how they can be so sure they will not be betrayed. 100% sure ba sila….

    2. This is good publicity but the reality is that the AFP cannot forewarn the BBL. The members will now blend into the population and hide. When the AFP is done with its operation they will resurface again. We need less publicity and more action.The AFP is not a political arm of government.

    3. The fact that the MILF and the BIFF engaged in a fight with the PNP – is proof that they were for protecting Marwan and Usman from arrest – two suspected terrorists and enemies of the state.

      So why would we trust the MILF and negotiate with them in this Bangsamoro law – if they could not be trusted? Scrap the Bangsamoro Law. I could not understand why Aquino still wants this agreement with the Muslims who could not be trusted. Let them identify and surrender the killers of the 44 PNP heroes. If they are law-abiding citizens of this country- why don’t they follow the current laws– why do they want to have their own regional government?

    4. sonny dela cruz on

      Finish off the MILF also. Forget the peace talks, no peace talks with the Malaysian government for the MILF. This is an internal affairs of the Philippines. Once the AFP finish-off the BIFF and the MILF and the ABU-SAYAB, then there will be a lasting peace in Mindanao. The government should give free education, health services and economic assistance to the people of Mindanao, that includes the Moro community also. Development of Mindanao should then follows to give the people of Mindanao their share for a better life.

    5. Habang pinag-uusapan sa Kogreso-Pilipinas ang “peace and order in Mindanao”, also known as kunwari-kuwanri-BBL… Kongreso-PIlipinas should find finds to create 4 more battalions of Army-Rangers or Special Forces, plus obtain 2 to 4 combat-helicopters. Para tugisin ang mga MILF-“Lost-commands” nina Murad.. at para harapin ang ASG.

    6. Peace cannot be achieved in Mindanao for as long as separatist and terror groups do not surrender. Since the BIFF terrorist will not lay down their arms and pledge allegiance to the Philippines, the only solution is to finish them off. Sri Lanka achieved peace only after its military destroyed the Tamil Tiger separatists. The AFP can do the same. Bravo AFP! Never forget the FALLEN 44!

    7. its too late ur action afp. damage has been done.ang lapit2 lng ng mga kampo nyo wala kayo ginawa para puksain lalo na nong sinakripisyo niyo ag SAF 44.

      • itanong mo yan sa mga kasama nila SAF. dapat sila una nag responde yong mga reserve na malapit don sa area. dapat kase kasali sa plan yong AFP.