CLOSE to 2,000 people attended a symposium and received free medical and dental check-up jointly held by the Philippine Marines and United States (US) troops in the island province of Sulu, a US military official said Thursday.

The troops from the Marine Battalion Landing Team-5 (MBLT-5) and Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) also rendered veterinary care services to farm animals owned by the residents of Barangay Taglibi, Patikul town.

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Lieutenant Junior Grade Theresa Donnelly, JSOTF-P deputy public affairs director, said the symposium and medical and veterinary outreach mission, which was organized by the MBLT-5 in coordination with JOTF-P was held last Friday until Saturday.

Donnelly said the resource speakers of the symposium entitled "Importance of Education Awareness," spoke about educating children in the province of Sulu.

The resource speakers were Taglibi Elementary School Principal Hadja Sitti Lina Asjal and MBLT-5 officials.

Donnelly quoted Asjal as saying, "What matters most is not what we become, but what others become because of us. The children are the future, and the future of our education in Sulu,"

Donnelly said JSOTF-P's Military Information Support Team also helped out in handing coloring and comic books and playing with the children.

Donnelly said the veterinary care outreach was held the following day, Saturday at the MBLT-5 headquarters. She said dogs and other pets were given anti-rabies vaccines and treated for parasites. (Bong Garcia)