MASS SURRENDER. Moro extremists operating in Maguindanao del Sur pledge allegiance to the government after their surrender to police authorities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) on Thursday (Jan. 19, 2023). Thirty Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and two Dawlah Islamiya private armed group members surrendered during the event at the BARMM police headquarters in Parang, Maguindanao del Norte. (Photo courtesy of Police Regional Office–BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – Thirty-two members of the Dawlah Islamiya (DI) extremist group operating in the Maguindanao area have decided to turn themselves in to avail of the government’s reconciliation program, an official said Friday.

Brig. Gen. John Guyguyon, police director for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), said the extremists were welcomed during a ceremony at the regional police headquarters in Camp SK Pendatun, Parang, Maguindanao del Norte on Thursday afternoon.

The surrenderers are composed of 30 Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and two DI-listed private armed group (PPAG) members under leader Mohammad Andoy.

They turned in 33 high-powered firearms, including improvised explosive devices and hand grenades.

Among the firearms presented to the police were eight sniper rifles and two 60 mm mortar launch pads.

Guyguyon said the 30 BIFF members under the Karialan and Bungos factions were all operating in Maguindanao del Sur, including the neighboring municipalities of Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato.

The two DI-PPAG members were operating in Pagalungan, Maguindanao del Sur.

Guyguyon said the continued pressure faced by the BIFF members, coupled with discontentment with their leadership, compelled the extremists to return to mainstream society.

“The police office is preparing their reintegration and return to their families to once more be productive citizens,” he said, thanking Maguindanao del Sur officials led by Governor Bai Mariam Mangudadatu for the support they extended. (PNA)