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OPAPP to BIFF: Drop arms and be part of the process

By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, Jan 30 (PNA) — The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) on Thursday called on members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) to drop their arms and join the peace process so that all Filipinos, especially those in Mindanao can return to their normal lives.

Peace Panel Chairperson Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, in a statement requested the BIFF, a Moro Islamic Liberation Front splinter group, to “listen to the plea of their own brothers and sisters to give peace a chance”.

BIFF members were said to have repeatedly harassed soldiers and terrorized local communities over the last nine months.

“Local government officials are ready to receive those who would like to silence their guns and participate in the different programs we will be undertaking as part of the implementation of the peace agreements,” Ferrer said.

“We know that BIFF members can also contact supporters or local ground commanders of the MILF,” she mentioned as one of the avenues are for BIFF members who are ready to join peace efforts.

Meanwhile, military operations continue to degrade the BIFF’s capability to cause harm to the government forces, civilians and the peace process, but Ferrer assured them all of safety.

“Government and the MILF have taken the necessary steps to ensure that the operations will not spill over to involve MILF combatants or cause unnecessary or prolonged hardships to civilians,” Ferrer said.

“The MILF is assisting in the operations by helping the government contain the movements of the BIFF,” she added. (PNA)

CTB/ANP

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