From GMA News (May 12): BIFF ambush in Maguindanao leaves 1 soldier dead, 4 wounded
An ambush staged by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao left a soldier dead and four others wounded on Monday morning.
According to Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesman of the Army 6th Infantry Division, 20 BIFF men detonated improvised bombs as a convoy carrying Col. Jener Del Rosario – commander of the 1st Mechanized Brigade – crossed a bridge in Barangay Meta at 10:30 a.m. The detonations "heavy exchanges of fire", Hermoso said.
Del Rosario was not hurt in the fighting that followed.
The 45th Infantry Battalion sent reinforcements and are pursuing the BIFF fighters, Hermoso said.
The BIFF, a breakaway group from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, has been blamed a string of attacks in Central Mindanao over the past several days, including the harassment of two Army detachments in Datu Unsay town last Tuesday.
The public consultation was undertaken in collaboration with Mindanao Civil Society Organizations Platform for Peace (MCSOPP) funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) attended by 150 participants from Zamboanga peninsula belonging to the Subanen and Kalibugan ethnic tribes.
The consultation seeks to enlighten and educate the indigenous peoples (IPs) on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panels on March 27, 2014 and seek the support of the IP’s in urging the Philippine Congress to fast track the deliberation and enactment of the BBL.
Timuay Fernando “Nanding” Mudai, a tribal leader described the event as good and timely because the doubts and confusions of the IPs on the issue of BBL and the CAB were satisfactorily answered by Datu Antonio Kinoc of B’laan and Timuay Melanio Ulama of Teduray tribe who were invited as resource speakers.
“We (IPs) are enlightened about the contents of the BBL and the CAB. And there’s nothing to worry about.” he said.
He also expressed his support to the future Bangsamoro government. He said that the Bangsamoro government is not separate from the Philippine Republic and it’s eventual establishment is a great challenge for those who will be in the helm of leadership to look into the needs and demands of their constituents.
He stressed that, “It’s better to join the Bangsamoro Government rather than with the present set-up because IP’s concerns and problems are not fully addressed. The politicians only need them during election time.”
He also called on the present politicians to be righteous and fair to their constituents regardless of their economic and social status.
“Usually poor people experienced injustice and have less access to government services. We better accept the Bangsamoro government than to stay in the current set-up. ” he said
Datu Antonio Kinoc, an alternate member of the MILF peace panel appreciated the leadership of Timuay Fernando “Nanding” Mudai.
“The leadership of Timuay Fernando “Nanding” Mudai is very receptive of the idea of the Bangsamoro and they wish to be part of the territory.” Kinoc said
“We would like to conduct more of the same information drive to feel the pulse of people residing inside and outside of the Bangsamoro core territory.” he added.
“It’s imperative that we shall continue to engage the IPs in the ground in every way possible to diffuse the wrong information put forward by our detractors.” Datu Kinoc explained.
A replication of similar activities will be done in other parts of the IP territory both inside and outside of the core territory of the Bangsamoro soonest possible time.