I JUST want to express my gratitude to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the United States Armed Forces for the successful Balikatan Exercise 2015. It made the children of Palawan have a better and brighter future. I want to thank them with all my heart for the help and support they provided to us.
I’ve spent almost my entire life in a barangay in Palawan and I can see the need for more schools, classrooms and educational materials. My life as a volunteer inspires me more to help and assist the children especially in rural areas. They need our support.
And because of the Balikatan Exercise last month, I am very thankful that they (the soldiers) were able to build more classrooms for the children in a school in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It is an answer of God to our prayers.
I don’t know much about Balikatan Exercise, I heard it only from the news. What I know is it is a big help not only for the Philippine military but for the local Filipinos as well. Others may think this is only a military activity but if we dig deeper the very essence of this annual activity provides lasting support and benefit to our “kababayans.”
I am lucky enough that I had a chance to meet one of them. The US soldiers are very friendly unlike what I had wrongly expected. They are eager to share their skills and knowledge. I can feel their sincere willingness to help us. They were not merely doing their job without really caring for us and the children.
People of two nations helping shoulder-to-shoulder inspire me more to help my “kababayans” even in a simple way. Even though Balikatan has ended, the friendship, efforts and memories will be treasured and live in the hearts of all Filipinos forever.
Helena J. Marquinez