TERNATE, CAVITE, Republic of the Philippines --
Philippine Marines and U.S. Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) teamed up during a community relations effort to provide local students with school supplies and recreational items Oct.17 at Sapang Elementary School here.
“The event was a huge success this year,” said Philippine Marine Capt. Enrico Ramones, the civil military operations officer for Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) 2009. “We were able to help more in need this year than in previous years.”
“We handed out school supplies, toys, sports equipment, clothing and shoes for the kids and for the local community,” said Maj. Scott Packard, the executive officer of the 31st MEU's ground combat element.
The event kicked off as Marines carried boxes filled with donated goods and supplies down the steps towards the stage where they were handed out as the children looked in amazement.
The Philippine Marines are enthusiastic about working with the U.S. Marines for the benefit of the local community, Ramones said.
“It felt amazing to give,” said Sgt. Robert Gerber, a squad leader with the 31st MEU. “The kids’ faces were the most memorable thing. They lit up and it touched my heart. It was absolutely amazing without and doubt.”
This bilateral event was a part of the annual Talon Vision and PHIBLEX '09 exercises, which enhance military interoperability and improve communities through humanitarian assistance and civil action projects.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. Marine Corps will continue work together in communities such as this one throughout the remainder of the exercises here.