RIGHT DECISION. Lt. Col. Charlie Banaag, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Battalion, talks with the 11 former terrorists who opted to surrender to live normal lives in Maguindanao on Saturday (Feb. 6, 2021). The surrenderers (inset) also turned in 11 assorted high-powered firearms. (Photo courtesy of 6IB)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Tired of being always on the run, 11 members of the lawless Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) operating in Maguindanao were reunited with their families after they surrendered to military authorities on Saturday. 
Lt. Col. Charlie Banaag, commander of the 6th Infantry Battalion (6IB), said the surrenderers belong to the BIFF faction of Kagi Karialan. 
They surrendered to the Army in ceremonies held in Datu Piang, Maguindanao, Banaag said in his report to Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, the Army's 6th Infantry Division commander. 
The surrenderers turned in one M-653 A1 rifle, three M16 rifles, a Browning automatic rifle, a .50-caliber sniper rifle, a .30-caliber sniper rifle, a .30-caliber Garand rifle, two M14 rifles, and one 40mm M79 grenade launcher. 
Uy, also commander Joint Task Force Central, commended the 6IB troopers for their continuous efforts of bringing in former violent extremists to the folds of the government. 
“The use of balanced military and non-military efforts are being operationalized by our line units proves to be effective,” Uy said in a statement. 
Anito, one of the BIFF surrenderers, was emotional after seeing his daughter who he left when she was still one year old. 
“I left when my daughter was still small, and now I have a grandchild with her after she got married. I just want to make up for the lost time with my wife and family,” a teary-eyed Anito said in the vernacular. 
Banaag said the remarkable series of surrenders from the BIFF were made possible through the PCVE (Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism) program, AGILA-HAVEN (Anak na may GInintuang Layunin upang Hintuan Ang Violent Extremism Ngayon) or the Maguindanao PCVE model that was initiated last Sept. 7 upon the assumption of Uy to the 6ID leadership. 
Since that time, a total of 71 BIFF had laid down their arms and are now living peaceful lives with their families, he added. (PNA)