PH lauds UN recognition of Palestinian stateBy Fat Reyes
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines on Friday lauded the decision of the United Nations (UN) to recognize a Palestinian state, saying that the country supported Palestine’s quest for self-rule and self-determination.
“The Philippines supports Palestine’s quest for self rule and self determination and we hope that one day an independent Palestine may live side by side in peace with its neighbors,” Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez said in a text message.
With a vote of 138-9 and 41 abstentions, the UN General Assembly approved the resolution upgrading the Palestinians’ status to a non-member observer state. Hernandez, in the text message, said the Philippines voted in favor of the resolution.
The decision, however, was hit by Israel, and accused the Palestinians of bypassing negotiations with the campaign to upgrade their UN status.
Israel, which controls the West Bank, east Jerusalem and access to Gaza, had yet to reach a peace deal with Palestine.
The Associated Press (AP) reported that after the vote Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the UN move violated past agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and that Israel would act accordingly, without elaborating what steps it might take.
The United States also criticized the historic vote, with UN Ambassador Susan Rice quoted by the Associated Press (AP) as saying that the “unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path peace.”
Meanwhile, Hernandez said that no Filipino expressed their intention to leave Gaza after a ceasefire was reached between the Israeli military and the Gaza-based Palestinian extremist group Hamas.
Gaza Strip figured as an area of concern for weeks as violence escalated between Israel and Hamas.
Hernandez said that the Philippines had declared alert level 4 or mandatory repatriation for Gaza strip, and encouraged those Filipinos who would like to be repatriated to register “because this is the right time to leave the area, when there is calm and relative peace.”
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration had also banned the deployment of workers to Israel because of the conflict, but made its decision after the ceasefire.