Conflict-displaced families in Patikul, Sulu returned to their village on Sunday, November 28, 2021, after more than half a decade, demonstrating the government’s successful “Balik Barangay Program” in the region.
According to the Army’s 11th Infantry Division (11ID), 208 conflict-displaced families returned to their homes at Sitio Darayan, Barangay Buhanginan, Patikul, Sulu . Incursions between government troops and the Abu Sayyaf Group in 2016 led inhabitants to flee their houses, turning the community into a “no man’s land.”
According to 11ID, the Balik Barangay Program took several months to organize and prepare. It involved military security operations, local government units constructing roads and other infrastructure, and local government leaders disseminating information to locals.
The program was implemented in collaboration with the Philippine Army and the Sulu local government unit, as well as the International Organization for Migration and the US military.
“Hindi maaring masira ang buhay ng libo-libong mga Tausug dahil lang sa iilan na naghahasik ng terorismo,” said Joint Task Force Sulu and 11ID Commander Maj. Gen. William Gonzales.
Families who had been displaced by the conflict in seven other villages in Patikul have now come home.