Read this in The Manila Times digital edition.

COTABATO CITY: A deputy field commander of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and six of his followers surrendered to the military in Maguindanao on Monday afternoon.

This was reported by Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, commander of Western Mindanao Command, on Wednesday.

"Based on the report from the ground, the BIFF officer known as Cdr. Binladen and six others submitted themselves to the troops of the First Mechanized Infantry Brigade and handed over two M14 rifles, one M16 rifle, one Barret with tripod and magazine, one Garand rifle, one M79 grenade launcher, one rocket-propelled grenade, one 20 rounds cap magazine for M14, one 30 rounds cap magazine for M16 and one RPG ammunition," Vinluan said.

The surrenderers were presented to Brigade Cdr. Col. Pedro Balisi Jr. at the unit headquarters in Barangay Kamasi, Ampatuan, Maguindanao on Monday.

"The successful surrender of the seven BIFF personalities under Bungos Faction was made possible through the concerted efforts of the Second Mechanized Battalion and our intelligence units," said Balisi.

During the initial debriefing, the former BIFF fighters said the focused military operations in central Mindanao forced them to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law.

Joint Task Force Central Cdr. Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy said the military will continue to hunt and pound the remaining terrorists.

"Nevertheless, all the military units under my command are always ready to welcome those who wish to surrender and end their armed struggle peacefully," said Uy.

Since January 2021, 134 BIFF personalities were neutralized, of which 69 were killed, 63 surrendered, and two were apprehended.

"I commend the troops of the Joint Task Force Central for their numerous accomplishments," said Vinluan.

"All our successes are attributable to our stakeholders and the civilians who continue to support and cooperate with us as we endeavor towards achieving our common goal," he added.