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AFP Anti-BIFF operations in Maguindanao open-ended

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Military commanders have no timetable tasked to clear the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) terrorists in the Liguasan Marsh, Maguindanao.

This was disclosed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato in an interview late Tuesday.

“(AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr.) he did not give any timeline (on the operations now ongoing there),” he added.

The military official said that the Liguasan Marsh was a unique operational area as it has some patches of land not placed in any maps.

“Liguasan is a unique operational area kasi may mga tubig, may mga (because there are waters, there are) patches of land dun na hindi nakalagay sa mapa (which are not included in the maps),” he added.

But Detoyato clarified that the remaining BIFF terrorists are not superior to government troops except maybe for their mastery of the terrain.

“Actually ang lakas nila (BIFF) dun (their advantage there) is their mastery of the terrain, ganun-ganun sa waterlily, pero (but) in terms of firepower, talo sila (they are at a disadvantage),” the AFP official stressed.

Detoyato earlier said military commanders are ordered to ensure that every operation will result in the ejectment of BIFF in areas where operation are being held.

“Binigyan niya (AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez) ang mga commanders ng mga (He has given commanders) operational goals and standards na dapat may naki-clear kayo na mga areas (that there must be areas that are cleared in) every operation, so ang ginagawa nya dapat may (so there must be an) extra push towards operations, extra push towards the positive contribution to the AFP mission, ang AFP mission is to clear all security threats, defeat pero (but), while it is being done, meron ding (there must also be) peace efforts,” Detoyato added.

Operations against the BIFF started last June 10 after military units bombed suspected terrorist positions, including an improvised explosive device factory near the Linguasan Marsh, Maguindanao.

Military operations have so far neutralized dozens of the BIFF while wounding an undetermined number. (PNA)