An expert improvised explosive device (IED) maker of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF)-Karialan Faction withdrew support to the group and surrendered to the military on March 13, 2021, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Commander Lieutenant General Corleto Vinluan Jr. said.
“Tong Ayob Dubpalig, a.k.a. Tong/Ruben, 57 years old, and a resident of Sitio Dryer, Barangay Nabalawag, Midsayap, North Cotabato submitted himself and handed over one Cal. 50 Barrett and one IED to Brig. Gen. Roberto Capulong, the Commander of the 602nd Infantry Brigade and Lt. Col. Edgardo Vilchez, Jr., the Commanding Officer of the 34th Infantry Battalion at the 34IB headquarters in Barangay Salunayan, Midsayap, Cotabato at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday,” Lieutenant General Vinluan said..
Lieutenant Colonel Vilchez, Jr. said the surrendered personality is currently undergoing custodial debriefing while his turned-over firearm and explosive are kept at the 34IB headquarters for documentation.
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Capulong revealed that Dubpalig was involved in a series of bombing incidents in Maguindanao and North Cotabato. The said IED maker is also a former follower of the late Mando Mamalumpong, former Division Commander/Spokesperson of BIFF-Karialan Faction who was neutralized by the government forces in Midsayap, North Cotabato in 2019.
Major General Juvymax Uy, the Commander of Joint Task Force Central commended the troops of the 34IB and the 602Bde for facilitating the surrender of Dubpalig.
“This will surely weaken the group’s capability to conduct traitorous acts of terrorism, which is their current strategy to counter the intensified operations of our troops,” said Maj. Gen. Uy.
For his part, Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. said, “This is a good development in our campaign against terrorism in central Mindanao. With the support of the partners and stakeholders, we hope that more terrorists will decide to join us in the path towards peace and development here in Mindanao”.
From January 1 to March 9, 2021, a total of 60 BIFF militants laid down their arms and returned to the folds of the law.
“This manifests the eagerness of the former terrorists to embrace peace and negate the false ideology of the group. With this, we continuously urge the remaining militants to follow in the footsteps of their former comrades. Now is the best time for them to come out and start over,” Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. further said. WESTMINCOM