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CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) recorded 68 members of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) killed and 128 members surrendered in continuous intense military operations this year.

Information from the ground shows that 156 firearms and 10 Improvised Explosive Device (IEDs) were also either surrendered by or seized from the said terrorist group.

Recent gains against the ASG include the surrender of two sub-leaders and 13 members in Jolo, Sulu on December 11.

The 1101st Infantry Brigade facilitated the program for the return of ASG sub-leaders Alvin Yusop and Arab Puti and some of their members including 14 assorted firearms to Joint Task Force Sulu.

Earlier this month, three ASG members involved in Kidnap for Ransom crimes consecutively yielded to government forces in Tawi-tawi from December 2 to 4.

This include a certain Alsadi Hanain who yielded with his M1 Garand rifle to the 2nd Marine Brigade in Bongao on December 4.

On December 3, Bennaser Pae voluntarily surrendered with an M16A1 rifle and ammunition to Marine Battalion Landing Team-12.

Ugali Alimudin meanwhile submitted himself to the 36 Marine Company at the unit headquarters in Sapa-Sapa and turned-over an M14 rifle with magazine and ammunition on December 2.

Moreover, 36 ASG members presented themselves to the 4th Marine Brigade in Omar, Sulu last December 4. They have with them 11 firearms.

“We are currently satisfied with how our troops are continuing our offensives against the ASG, but this does not mean we’re letting our guards down against them or other local terrorists,” AFP Chief of Staff General Gilbert I. Gapay said.

The military also achieved significant gains against other Local Terrorist Groups (LTGs) this year as armed encounters against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) led to the death of 31 of their members, while 184 surrendered, and 22 others were captured.

Just last December 8, operating troops of the 40th Infantry Battalion arrested seven members of BIFF nabbed in Datu Hoffer, Maguindanao. Confiscated from their possession were two M1 Garand rifles, one M14 rifle, and one M4 rifle.

Troops also engaged in an encounter with the BIFF on December 9 in Sharif Aguak. The 11th Mechanized Company quelled a possible attack by the BIFF-Karialan Faction under “Diok” and recovered live ammunitions from the enemy position after the firefight.

The 6th Infantry Division clashed with the BIFF in Datu Piang on December 3. The troops on the ground forced the attackers to withdraw leaving civilians unharmed.

Meanwhile, 31 members of Daesh-Inspired Maute Group fall against military troops in combat while 35 of them surrendered and five were captured since January of this year.

General Gapay aims to maintain the AFP’s firm position in combatting the ASG and other terrorist groups despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will stop at nothing to keep our fellow Filipinos safe and secure from the despicable acts of terrorism and violent extremism. Your AFP, hand in hand with other government agencies, stakeholders and local government units shall continue to unite to ensure the downfall of local terrorist groups threatening our peace,” General Gapay said.///