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Monday, October 11, 2010

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Leslie Bassett turns over school building in Basilan

By Kates Allas, Zambo Times

Way back 11th of May 2010 during the heat of election campaign a group of unidentified fully armed men raided Basilan and burned 5 different schools that includes Caddayan Elementary School, at Brgy. Caddayan, Akbar. The effects to the community is traumatic, children were characterized by feelings of loss and helplessness.

After assessing the damages to the school buildings and the estimate and scope of works to be done, the Civil Military Operations of 1st Marine, 32nd Infantry (DAREDEVIL) Battalion, Brigade, Phil. Navy 1st Naval Construction Battalion and Civil Affairs

Team-732 of JSOTF(P), DECS-ARMM and Local Gov't of Akbar Officials joined forces to do the necessary undertakings in re-building the school.

Last October 8, 2010 the school that was onced burned was now newly constructed and turned-over to the local folks of Caddayan by no less than the US Chargé d’Affaires Ms.Leslie Bassett.

During the ceremony Ms. Bassett was accompanied by the Deputy Mission Director, USAID-GEM Mrs. Elzadia Washington and MinDa Chair-Sec. Luwalhati Antonino.

The school project costs P879,000.

The dignitaries and guest are welcomed by Mayor Hon. Alih Sali, together with the following:

Mun. Administrator, Engr. Tahir Latip Mrs. Nurhaya Abdurahim-Division Superintendent, DEPED-ARMM, BGEN. Eugenio Clemen, MGen. Benjamin Dolorfino, JSOTF Capt. Robert Gusentine.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Honoring the Fallen

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Joshua Scott, Joint Special Operations Task Force - Philippines Public Affairs

U.S. and Philippine servicemembers honored their fallen comrades-in-arms today during a memorial service held at the base chapel at Western Mindanao Command.

Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines (OEF-P), 566 servicemembers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and 17 servicemembers assigned to Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines (JSOTF-P) have given their lives in the fight against terrorism.

“This morning we honor the great men who made the ultimate sacrifice in the fight against terrorism,” said Lt. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino, Commander, Western Mindanao Command. “These men died protecting, not only the interests of our respective countries, but the interests of all peace-loving people in the world. They died defending our way of life … families, morality, values, ideas, but most importantly, freedom from living in terror.”

The memorial concluded with a 21-gun salute, performed by a combined AFP and U.S. honor guard, as well as the presentation of the American and Philippine flags.

“We will never forget, and we will never let them down. I salute the fallen. I salute those of you who gathered here today, I salute the American and Filipino families who just as bravely, offered their sacrifices for freedom. You are all heroes to me,” said Capt. Robert V. Gusentine, reading a remark by Harry K. Thomas Jr., Ambassador to the Philippines.

“Our fallen comrades may be gone, but I am sure their legacy lives on, and they will never be forgotten,” said Dolorfino. “Their names will be forever etched in the history of this command. They are our heroes; they did not die in vain.”