From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 6): Army lauded for arrest of BIFF men, recovery of guns
Major Gen. Arnel dela Vega, commander of the 6th Infantry Division Thursday lauded soldiers of the 33rd Infantry Battalion for the arrest of six outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters Wednesday in a remote village here without bloodshed.
"I am glad that our government security forces had pre-empted terroristic attacks against peaceful communities. We appreciate the continuous support of the people in sharing information about possible acts of violence," Dela Vega said in a statement released by the 6th ID Public Affairs office.
Col Bismarck Soliba, 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade commander, said the operation was launched "to protect the people against atrocities."
"We wanted to prevent the BIFF from initiating terroristic actions against peaceful communities," said Soliba.
Lt. Colonel Harold Cabunoc, 33rd IB commander, led his men and the PNP Special Action Force in the arrest of six BIFF members following a brief firefight.
Local officials and community leaders of Barangay Mangadeg, Datu Paglas, Maguindanao helped the police and military forces locate the lawless elements known to have pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Two days earlier, 33td IB personnel also arrested five men engaged in illegal drug peddling and gun manufacturing activities for the BIFF.
Colonel Cabunoc said their arrest came with the help of local leaders in communities in Datu Paglas who are tired of fleeing due to armed hostilities between government forces and BIFF.