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By: Victor Baldemor Ruiz

CAMP SIONGCO, Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte—In the ongoing effort to maintain peace and security, a remarkable feat has been achieved by the Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) and the 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division, Philippine Army.

According JTFC, a total of 188 members of the threat groups were successfully rendered ineffective, spanning from the beginning of 2023 until the conclusion of the third quarter of the same year.

Major General Alex S. Rillera, Commander of the 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division and Joint Task Force Central explained that the unwavering determination and collaborative efforts of the security forces, with the support of the local government units and the community, have led to the eradication of numerous members of rebel groups that have long threatened peace and stability in the region.

This remarkable achievement underscores the commitment of JTFC and the 6ID to ensure the safety and well-being of the populace, Gen Rillera said.

These groups encompass a range of affiliations and ideologies, posing threats to the security and progress of local communities. The relentless pursuit of these rebel factions, undertaken by the dedicated operating units under JTFC and 6ID, has resulted in significant operational successes.

During this period, the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) movement saw a notable decrease in its influence; within the ranks of those counteracted, 49 were affiliated with the CTG. Among them, 7 were successfully apprehended, 12 died during armed clashes, and 30 made the choice to renounce violence and reintegrate into lawful society.

In addition, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) faced a significant blow as 119 members were successfully addressed. One individual was arrested, 17 died in armed clashes and an impressive 101 willingly surrendered to authorities. Similarly, the Dawlah Islamiya suffered losses, with 9 of its members rendered ineffective through a combination of arrests, casualties, and voluntary surrenders. Lastly, the resolve of the security forces led to the apprehension of 11 members of the Armed Lawless Group. This included 2 arrests, 6 casualties, and 3 individuals embracing a return to the folds of the law.

The operations yielded a substantial haul of confiscated firearms, ammunition, and explosives. A total of 213 high-powered and low-powered firearms, as well as crew-served weapons, were recovered, along with explosive materials.

Meanwhile, local governments in regions such as Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, parts of Cotabato, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) continue their ‘Balik-Baril’ program, a firearm surrender program. Notably, 273 firearms have been handed over to various military units under JTFC as part of this initiative.

These operations have not only diminished the immediate threats posed by these terrorist groups, but have also contributed to the overall improvement of the security landscape in Central and South-Central Mindanao. Furthermore, the surrender of BIFF, Dawlah Islamiya, and the Armed Lawless Group continues as it is strengthened by the hope and peaceful life offered by BARMM’s TUGON program and AGILA HAVEN. The surrender, seizure, and turn-in of weapons and war materials further highlight the successful operations of JTFC and TEAM KAMPILAN.

Maj Gen Rillera attributed this remarkable success to the unwavering dedication and commitment of the Kampilan Troopers. He emphasized that every contribution, no matter how big or small, has played a crucial role in achieving this milestone.

“As we approach the final fight against insurgency, the involvement of local governments, communities, and stakeholders remains paramount. The unity and collective effort showcased by JTFC, 6ID, and all those involved has demonstrated that through cooperation, determination, and a shared vision of a peaceful region, even the most daunting challenges can be overcome,” Maj. Gen. Rillera said.

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