The first activity was conducted in the morning to some 400 students of the Basilan State College High School Department in Brgy. Sta Clara, Lamitan City. The activity has convinced its principal, Prof. Jovita Aranjuez, to request for another round of the same activity at their school. By noon time, the same symposium was conducted to some 250 students at Brgy. Ubit National High School.
The symposium brought students to a better understanding on who are state enemies, how civilians could contribute in the government’s fight versus terrorism, effects of dangerous drugs to the human body, and information on the role of the U.S. Forces in the upcoming Balikatan 2008 activities in Basilan.
Speakers of the said symposium were PO2 Suaib A. Said PN who talked about Threats to National Security, MSgt Jose S. Uyeg PA handled the session on Fight against Terrorism, Pfc Jannarho A. Hussin PA discussed the effects of dangerous drugs, and TSgt Thomas Cunningham of the US Army provided awareness on Balikatan 2008 activities.
During his session, TSgt Cunningham emphasized that U.S. Forces will not be involved in combat operations during the Balikatan activities here in Mindanao. He said the American soldiers are here purely in support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ humanitarian activities, such as the conduct of medical, dental, and civic action programs and minor repair of roads and school buildings.
Give-away items, such as caps, t-shirts, yoyo toys and sandals were distributed during the activities. This encouraged the students to actively participate in the symposium’s open forum. Hundreds of anti-terrorism reading materials and posters/leaflets were also distributed.
In his message, 4CRG Commander Maj. Lorenzo Masinsin PA thanked the principals and faculty members of both schools for their warm welcome “that manifested their strong support and cooperation to the government’s campaign against lawlessness, terrorism, and drug addiction problems.” (4CRG-CRSAFP/PIA-BASULTA)