CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 16, 2010) – The Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division has opened its doors to school children, allowing them to tour the sprawling camp in Cagayan de Oro City in northern Mindanao.
Officials said it was part of a commitment to reach out to children and inspire them to become responsible citizens and at the same time educate them about the role of the military in peacekeeping efforts and as a partner in nation-building.
The children were amazed by sights of armor tanks and howitzer cannons and even posed for photos with soldiers who acted as their guides and storytellers. Troops led by Major General Victor Felix, the commander of the 4th Infantry Division, warmly welcomed and interacted and mingled with the children.
“The 4th Infantry Division personnel proved that they are not only the protectors of the land, but they are also their partners in community and nation-building and that these children and their parents can depend on them in their dream of having a better and brighter atmosphere that is viable for their growth and well-being,” said Lieutenant Colonel Triumph Bagaipo, the army spokesman.
He said through these efforts, troops are leading the way in showing their concern and commitment to the children in also helping promote a better environment and opportunity for them to live peacefully and harmoniously as the future and hope of the country.
Bagaipo said as part of the army’s commitment, it would provide support to the Batang Himsog Program, an in-school health and nutrition feeding and livelihood program and initiative of the Anak Mindanao party list group.
The program is also in partnership with the Department of Education, the local government units and the Katilingbanong Pamahandi sa Mindanaw Foundation Incorporated. It aims to help lessen and slowly eradicate malnutrition in rural villages in Misamis Oriental province.
The program aims to address the problem of malnutrition by providing daily breakfast to at least 4,000 Grade 1 pupils in 85 schools of Gingoog City, Claveria, Magsaysay and Misoret town.
“The 4th Infantry Division is optimistic in this program that could help children in the rural areas to receive proper nutrition and education so that they can become healthy and ready to take on any challenge and opportunity that they shall meet as they grow up,” Bagaipo said. (Mindanao Examiner)