Army general celebrates birthday with Maguindanao orphans

SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao -- Army Major Gen. Arnel B. dela Vega, commander of the 6th Infantry Division (ID), celebrated his natal day on Wednesday in the company of orphans of Maguindanao, describing it as his most meaningful birthday celebration.

Dela Vega spent about two hours with orphans housed at the Markazul Aytam orphanage in Barangay Gang here. It was the second time that he spent time with the orphans on his birthday.

The 6th ID chief said he wanted to inspire the orphans, mostly Maguindanaoans, to push with their studies and earn a degree in the coming years. Their parents either abandoned them or have perished due to violence that transpired in their communities in Maguindanao.

Taking up Arabic lessons, the students are determined to memorize the whole Qur-an as required by the Madrasa. Many dream of becoming religious teachers and become an ustadz or work abroad as a missionary.

Municipal Mayor Shamin Mastura lauded dela Vega's decision to spend his birthday with the orphans, describing it as an act of gratitude for all the blessings he received as a military officer and as a family man.

Dela Vega, with the help of local officials and peace advocates, distributed food packs, school supplies and books.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the blessings that the Almighty God has given me. I want to share these blessings with you today, he told the orphaned students in the vernacular.

Keep dreaming, help yourselves, keep on pushing yourselves to attain your dreams in life. If you want to be a soldier, in time, all you have to do is to tell us and we will be glad to welcome you in the military service, dela Vega added.

He challenged the young orphans to share whatever they can, either big or small things, so that a peaceful community could be established in Maguindanao. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency