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Sunday, July 5, 2009

AFP, JSOTF-P and Sulu residents unite July 4th at “Walk for Peace”

CAMP BAUTISTA, Philippines -- Residents of Sulu joined together with members of Joint Task Force Comet, local civil society groups and the Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines Saturday, July 4 for a “Walk for Peace.”

Between 1,000 and 2,000 people turned out in the early morning hours for the event which was organized by JTF Comet as a way to commemorate Philippine-American Friendship Day and promote peace and solidarity in Sulu. Many of the walkers donned white “Walk for Peace” t-shirts created especially for the event.

The six-kilometer walk began at the end of the runway at Camp Bautista and concluded in front of the shrine of the first Sultan of Sulu, Rajah Baguinda, which is located at Camp Bud Datu. According to JTF Comet Commander, Maj Gen Juancho Sabban, another purpose of the walk was to encourage local residents to feel free to visit the shrine.

“The significance of this occasion is first of all to celebrate the Philippine-American Friendship Day,” said Maj. Gen. Juancho Sabban, JTF Comet Commander. “However, we decided that we should open the burial site of Rajah Baguinda to the public. We would like to tell everybody that this is a public park.”

After the walk, the AFP treated the walkers to ice cream and other refreshments, and participants had the opportunity to view the shrine and enjoy the fresh air at the park.

For the people of Sulu who participated in the event, it was a chance for them to show their desire for peace in the province.

“We want peace. We want peace for development so that we will prolong the culture of Muslims of Sulu,” said Myra Cadir, a social worker with the Department of Social Welfare and Development who participated in the walk.

Another participant, Patricia Amblan, summed it up by saying, “I came here today because we are all one.”

About 25 members of JSOTF-P’s Task Force Sulu participated in the Walk for Peace.

“We were excited to be a part of the event and to celebrate Fil-Am Friendship Day alongside our friends in the AFP and in the local community,” said Maj. Lawrence Daley, commander of JSOTF-P’s Task Force Sulu.

General Sabban said he hopes that the event encourages the local people to visit the shrine more often, and he believes that it will one day become a popular tourist destination. Ultimately, he wants people to understand that Sulu has much to offer.

“We would like to show the public that the whole of Sulu is a very beautiful place. And all we have to take is to attain peace so that everybody can enjoy the beauty of Sulu,” said Sabban.

1 comment:

  1. Great story. Glad to see that the AFP and the local population are coming together like this. Keep it up.