Carmen, North Cotabato
June 6, 2017

BGen. Manolo Samarita (Commander, 602nd Brigade, 6th Infantry Division, Philippine Army) reported to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte that a number of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) militia fighters pledged allegiance in hunting down the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) present in the area of the 602nd Brigade.

According to the Commander, his system of targeting the grassroots in the community encouraged the people to fight terrorism in their locality. Surprisingly, an increase in the number of those who surrendered availed the government’s offer through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and they also influenced others to side with the government.

Through the Joint Law Enforcement Support Operation between the 602nd Brigade and the MILF, counter terrorism cooperation resulted to the following — 94 BIFF members killed, 55 wounded, 13 apprehended, 2 apprehended from the Maute group, recovery of 39 high powered firearms, 17 low powered firearms, 25 improvised explosive devices, 29 explosives, 847 ammunition, 28 magazines, and 14 vehicles.

He added that during operations, the MILF guided them in clearing the unfamiliar terrains of Carmen.

“So nakita namin na meron silang programa din na anti-drugs yung MILF so dun ko ikinonnect. So simula noon, nagkaroon kami ng pag-uusap ni top commander ng MILF at inintroduce ko nga yung ganun at pumayag naman sila. Simula noon, everytime na meron kaming law enforcement support operations against drugs ay kasa-kasama namin yung mga combatants nila, yung kanilang mga field commanders, ‘yung maliliit na commanders even yung kanilang mga hanay. For the past so many months, halos everytime na meron kaming operasyon ay sila yung kasama namin as main effort or supporting effort or as blocking force, mga 900 sila sumasama sa aming operation kaya very successful yung aming law enforcement dito against drugs,” BGen. Samarita explained as he recalled their operations with the MILF.

“‘Di ako papayag na madehado tayo, kaya huwag kayong matakot pagsabing destroy, you destroy! ‘Yun man ang gusto nila. Magtrabaho lang kayo, ang order is to destroy the enemy, ang durugista same!” he stressed.

*  *  *