50 ex-violent extremists yield

By Justine Rich Talusan

FIFTY former violent extremists (FVEs) belonging to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) returned to the fold of the law.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. was joined by Sultan Kudarat Gov. Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu, Police Regional Office 12 Director Brig. Gen. Jimili Macaraeg and local chief executives of all towns and one city in welcoming the BIFF members.

The DILG promised extending government support under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integrated Program (E-CLIP).The FVEs surrendered and laid down their arms in Sultan Kudarat.

 “Pinasasalamatan natin ang ating mga FVE na nagdesisyon na iwanan ang kanilang buhay na puno ng karahasan at bumalik sa kanilang  mga pamilya upang maging produktibong bahagi ng lipunan. Kasama n’yo po kami sa landas na ito,” the DILG chief said.

Like other previous returnees, these new surrenderers will also get the same accordance from the government.

Upon proper documentation, the 50 FVEs, if eligible according to Abalos, will be able to receive government support under the E-CLIP initiatives.

 At the moment, the DILG field office in Sultan Kudarat is in continuous coordination with the local government unit (LGU) to ensure that the FVEs will be granted due support as they joined the mainstream society.

 By surfacing and returning to the fold of the law, these returnees, may they be former rebels and militia members, can take advantage of E-CLIP’s assistance that covers livelihood, education, housing, medical assistance; receive monetary remuneration for each firearm surrendered; and other social services crucial to their reintegration into society.

 A total of 611 former rebels and their families received P45.79 million in financial and livelihood assistance since July 2022.

The DILG Region 12 said that out of the 50 recent returnees, 47 initially received a collective amount of P540,000, wherein 15 of them got P20,000 each, while 16 were given P10,000 each and another 16 received P5,000 each from the provincial government of Sultan Kudarat under the “Kakep Ka Su Kalilintad” or “Embracing the Peace” campaign.

The provincial government also distributed food packs which included rice, assorted canned goods and packs of instant noodles.

Among the firearms surrendered by these FVEs were numerous high-powered firearms, one crew-served weapon (mortar), and improvised explosive devices.

The former FVEs were tagged to the various bombing incidents and attacks against police or military detachments in the region.