SURRENDER. Lt. Col. Rogelio S. Gabi, the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion commander, receives a rifle from one of the three Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters who surrendered to the military in Gen. SK Pendatun, Maguindanao on Sunday (Dec. 15, 2019). The surrenderers claimed they have been duped by their former BIFF leaders into fighting a futile cause. (Photo courtesy of 40IB)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao -- Governor Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu of Maguindanao called on members of the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on Monday to surrender and live normal lives than continue fighting the government.

The governor made the appeal after the military’s 601st Infantry Brigade (601 IBde) presented to her Monday three BIFF members who yielded to the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion (40IB) in Gen. S.K. Pendatun, Maguindanao on Sunday.

Lt. Col. Rogelio S. Gabi, 40IB commander, identified the rebels who also turned in two rifles and explosives as Ustadz Yasser U. Saligan alias “Ustadz”, Norudin Dalinding alias “Survivor”, and Omar Tatang alias “Jo”, all residents of Gen. SK Pendatun town.

They handed over one M14 rifle, one M1 Garand rifle, and two 81mm unexploded ordnance.

Saligan said he and his companions decided to surrender because they no longer believed the cause they were fighting for.

“We were blinded by the false promises, and as BIFF members, it is as if everyone is hunting us down,” Saligan said during the surrender ceremony.

Gabi said one of the returnees told him that they were also duped into receiving huge monthly payments if they join the BIFF and the Dawlah Islamiyah.

“They realized they were fighting for a wrong cause,” Gabi said.

Mangudadatu said the provincial government is ready to extend financial aid and livelihood assistance through the Expanded Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

On Dec. 9, two BIFF members also surrendered in Pikit, North Cotabato to the Army’s 7th IB. (PNA)