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PIA Press Release
2009/02/19

Students serenade the military in Sulu

Sulu (19 February) -- As a manifestation of their gratitude, pupils from Hadji Butu Elementary School in Jolo town, paid a visit to serenade the military troops of Joint Task Force Comet at Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista, Brgy Bus-bus, Jolo on 18 Feb 2009.

Earlier that same day, they acted as guests during the military's radio program rendering the moving songs with titles: Children for Peace and Peace in Mindanao. They dedicated their performance to all the soldiers, who are defending the people of Sulu from all forms of threats to safety.

The Marines who had endured rigid training were awed by the thoughtfulness that these children exhibited through their serenade. Having a conducive learning environment is but their right, yet the appreciation in their eyes was glowing.

School Principal Hadja Nur-Yam Aking said that it is a gesture of their appreciation towards the military's aid in constructing and renovating 11 classrooms. The said school project, which was urgently implemented through the emergency fund of Task Force-Sulu, was inaugurated on 05 Dec 2008.

According to her, prior to the implementation of the project, both students and teachers were troubled by the flood problem. Attendance of students dropped, and many of them transferred to other schools.

"Classrooms then were filled with water. Instead of classroom instruction, both students and teachers spent the whole time cleaning and taking out the water from their respective rooms. This situation is far from ideal in an educational system that already lacks many resources," says Mrs Aking.

"In laying down the foundation of education, the significant help of JTF Comet and the US Forces contributes to a bright future for the children in Sulu. It is not only the teachers, but also the children who discovered that the military cares about them," adds the Principal.

Teacher Jubie Yusop-Fernandez said that now the classrooms were elevated to impede water to get in, students now do better work in their studies, attributing it to the new, clean, and well ventilated rooms.

"Our performance is enhanced as well," she said.

Twelve-year-old Fatima Husna Kasim, who wants to become a teacher, said that she and her classmates now attend classes every day.

"We are always excited to go to school every day because our classroom is already beautiful. We always keep it clean. We dislike it so much every time classes are dispersed or holidays are announced," shares Fatima in Tagalog.

Meanwhile, teacher Jocelyn Juson, who is also a mother of three said that education is the most important thing to prepare the children for the future.

"What we really care about is to ensure that our children can learn in the best environment possible. Students are more likely to prosper when the ambience is encouraging to learning," she said.

In response, JTF Comet Commander Maj Gen Juancho M Sabban expressed that the military values very much the appreciative waves from both the children and school staff, a proof of their sense of security with the soldiers, which generated a jovial atmosphere.

"We are humbled how a school project was transformed into a world of difference for these children and for the teachers. Our troops are determined to fight for the children's rights to education and extend help in providing an atmosphere most conducive to learning in any simple way we can," says Maj Gen Sabban.

"In every challenging time, it is the people's support and trust that always uplift the AFPs' spirit. An appreciation from them is an inspiration for us to continuously perform our mandated mission with our utmost best at all times," he added. (42CRU, 4CRG, CRSAFP/PIA-BASULTA) [top]

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