FIVE Abu Sayyaf bandits have voluntarily surrendered to authorities as military offensive continue against them in the province of Sulu, officials said Wednesday, August 3, 2022.

Major General Ignatius Patrimonio, Joint Task Force (JTF)-Sulu commander, said that four of the five Abu Sayyaf surrenderers was a follower of senior bandit leader Radullan Sahiron while the other four were followers of bandit sub-leader Sibih Pisih.

They turned over two Garand rifles and three caliber .45 pistols when they surrendered Monday, August 1, to the Talipao Municipal Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (MTF-Elac), Sulu’s version of the national government’s Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-Elcac).

Patrimonio said Amah Andin revealed that he decided to surrender due to the hardship with the group of Sahiron as they often move from one place to another to evade the pursuing government forces and wanted to be with his family as well realizing they have useless cause.

Patrimonio said that Andin also disclosed that the Abu Sayyaf bandits can no longer consolidate and no longer have the support of the community that prompted him to go back to the folds of the law.

He said the other four Abu Sayyaf surrenderers have similar reasons why they decided to surrender to live peaceful lives.

Talipao Mayor Nivocadnezar Tulawie said the five Abu Sayyaf surrenderers will receive benefits under the Local Social Integration Program (LSIP) as they return to their normal lives

The LSIP is a joint program of the Sulu provincial government and JTF-Sulu through its MTF-Elac. Incorporated with the "Return, Reform and Reintegrate" stages, the ASG returnees will be able to live a normal life with their families as they return to the mainstream of society. (SunStar Zamboanga)