BIFF SURRENDERS. Nine members of the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters led by BIFF sub-leader Parido Balabagan alias Commander Banog surrendered to authorities Friday (Oct. 26, 2018) in the interiors of Gen. Salipada K. Pendatun, Maguindanao. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – A leader of the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and his eight followers yielded to military authorities in General Salipada K. Pendatun, Maguindanao, on Friday.

Major Arvin John Encinas, the spokesperson of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said BIFF sub-leader Parido Balabagan alias “Commander Banog” was presented to Col. Harold Cabunoc, commander of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion based in President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat, following his surrender.

Cabunoc subsequently brought the surrenderers to Col. Robert Dauz, the commander of the Army’s 1st Infantry Brigade based in Tacurong City.

“Banog (Balabagan) said his family was instrumental in his surrender,” Encinas said.

The surrenderers also turned over an assortment of firearms, which included two Barrett sniper rifles, three rocket-propelled grenade launchers, two M79 grenade launchers, one M16 rifle, one M14 rifle, and one M653 assault rifle.

Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Army’s 6th ID commander, lauded the surrender of Balabagan’s group, saying that they would immediately be enrolled under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Localized Integration Program (E-Clip) for ample socio-economic interventions.

“I would like to commend our troops on the ground and also local government officials for tirelessly convincing our lost brethren in the mountains to leave their futile cause and rejoin once more the mainstream society,” he said.

On Oct. 17, a military operation was launched against Balabagan in Barangay Lumabao in Gen. Salipada K, Pendatun town but missed him. Instead, four of his alleged followers - identified as Ronex Langalen, 47; Anwar Abdullah, 26; Allakbar Sekung, 20; and Renante Milan, 37 – were arrested at their safe house in the village.

Seized during the raid were high-powered firearms and explosives comprising an M14 rifle, an M1 Garand rifle, two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, three MK2 hand grenades, and assorted ammunition. (PNA)