From GMA News (Jun 23): Military sees 'tactical alliance' between BIFF, Maute group
Officials on Friday said Wednesday's attack on Pigcawayan, Cotabato, by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) was not connected with the conflict in Marawi City, despite the group's likely "tactical alliance" with the Maute group.
"Ah yes, as far as tactical alliance is concerned, that is very possible and we have seen that in some operations wherein BIFF fighters are sending augmentation to not just Maute but also other local terrorist groups in the country," said East Mindanao Command deputy commander Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay during Mindanao Hour in Davao City.
Both Gapay and presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella agreed that the attack on Pigcawayan was not connected with the conflict in Marawi City.
"The BIFF attack in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato yesterday has been assessed to have no connection to the ongoing Marawi rebellion," said Abella.
"It is seen as the BIFF's attempt to recover from more than two weeks of setbacks from ongoing operations of the AFP's 6th Infantry Division."
"It's not as serious as the one we’re fighting in Marawi because BIFF is contained in their stronghold in SPMS box and our troops there are doing very well in containing the BIFF," Gapay, for his part, said. Gapay, meanwhile, said operations against the BIFF continue despite the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City.
"Being a local terrorist group is also a target of local operations. A dedicated unit is right now tasked to address this threat and just like our efforts against the Maute group, we will sustain our operations against the BIFF until they are decimated,” he said.