CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – The military in Maguindanao said Wednesday residents of a conflict-affected village in the province have denounced the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the path of violent extremism bred by the terror group.
Lt. Col. Charlie Banaag, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Battalion (IB), said the people of Barangay Pagatin, Datu Salibo have withdrawn any support to the violent extremists, through simple ceremonies held at the 6IB headquarters in adjacent Barangay Magaslong, Datu Piang town on Tuesday.
Backed by barangay officials, civilians voluntarily took their oath of allegiance to the government.
The signing of a “fatwa”, a local edict that states they will denounce and no longer support all forms of violent extremism, followed the event.
Banaag said the activity was a result of the Community Support Program – Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (CSP-PCVE) conducted by the Bravo Company of the 6IB that aims to clear the barangay from the influence of the BIFF and other violent extremist groups.
The event, he said, also aimed to make the residents resilient from the recruitment of violent extremists to attain inclusive and sustainable peace and development in the community.
“Don’t get lured in by these groups. If you need a living, you can find it everywhere. You just have to figure out how to create something out of it and remain a productive citizen of the municipality of Datu Salibo,” Banaag told reporters here.
In a separate interview, Teng Abdul, a resident of the village, pledged to report to authorities any sightings of the BIFF and similar groups in their area in the future.
“Di dapat suportahan ang BIFF. Nanggugulo lang sila (The BIFF should not be supported. They are just troublemakers),” he said.
Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division and head of the Joint Task Force Central, lauded the community for their support to the government’s anti-terrorism campaign.
“You are the end beneficiaries of this endeavor,” he said. (PNA)