QUEZON CITY, December 20, 2021 – Colonel Taharudin Ampatuan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) met with Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program Director Myer Mula to discuss the status of the peace and order situation in Patikul, Sulu and plans on the implementation of projects in the area.
Col. Ampatuan of the 1103rd Battalion Patikul Deputy Brigade Commander visited the office on December 17.
Sulu became a beneficiary of the SAAD Program in 2018 and covered 6 municipalities, one of which is Patikul. Two out of 9 barangays (Kabbon Takas and Pansul) are recipients of the Layer Chicken Egg Production Project in 2021.
The military fully supported the project. Aside from providing security, the army bought eggs from the community.
Col. Ampatuan proposed for the DA-SAAD to implement its livelihood projects in the remaining 7 barangays (Bakung, Panglayahan, Tugas, Latih, Bunkaong, Maligay, Sitio Darayan, and Buhanginan) since families displaced by skirmishes between the army and the rebel group have now returned to their communities as part of the Balik Barangay Program. In support to this request, the produce will be acquired by the Battalion Station as its market outlet to assure income by the beneficiaries.
According to Col. Ampatuan, they reclaimed 9 conflict-displaced barangays and about 80% has been secured. He also added that almost 200 rebels surrendered in less than a year. Those who surrendered were endorsed to the Halfway Home Program where they underwent social preparation before going back to their communities.
Aside from maintaining peace and order in the province, the armed forces aim to establish a Muslim community to deter residents from joining rebel groups. This is also to counter the rebel group’s propaganda seeking an independent Islamic state.
Dir. Mula assured Col. Ampatuan that he will support the proposal based on the needs of the beneficiaries through the conduct of social preparation. He also suggested the endorsement of the proposals to the current partner of the DA-SAAD, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) Philippines. ###
Writer: Bill Narag, PR & Comms Officer SAAD-NPMO