DFA chief calls for greater protection for UN peacekeepers


Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario has called for greater protection for peacekeepers sent to UN-controlled zones as he personally expressed gratitude to the world body for securing the release of Filipino peacekeepers abducted on the Golan Heights almost a month ago.

Following a meeting with UN Under Secretary-General Hervé Ladsous at the UN Headquarters on Monday, Del Rosario said troops sent to UN Peacekeeping Missions around the world “deserve the full backing” of the world body.

“By the very nature of peacekeeping operations, our peacekeepers already serve under risky situations. They therefore deserve the full backing of the United Nations through the implementation of measures and procedures that will respond to existing and perceived threats,” Del Rosario said in a statement following his meeting at the UN.

“Our peacekeepers operate under the ambit of the UN with a mandate from the Security Council. These peacekeepers in all Missions including UNDOF deserve the full support of the international community, consistent with obligations and commitments under international law,” he said.

It was the first time for Del Rosario to personally bring up the matter with the UN since the abduction and eventual release of 21 Filipino peacekeepers posted at the UN Disengagement Observation Force (UNDOF) at the Golan Heights.

Syrian rebels seized the group of Philippine troops on March 6 as they demanded the pullout of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces from rebel-controlled Jamla region near the border of Syria and Israel. They were released three days later.

Ambassador Libran Cabactulan, the Philippines’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations, brought up the same concern to the UN Security Council some two weeks ago.

“I am pleased to note that in my meeting today, this particular call of the Philippines has been met with positive action within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations under Under Secretary-General Ladsous,” Del Rosario said.

He also thanked the UN and the international community for working together to secure the release of the Filipino peacekeepers, saying “lessons learned from the incident should be used” to enhance security measures provided for troops in UN Peacekeeping missions.

Some 800 Filipinos are deployed to eight UN missions around the world, making the Philippines the 30th top contributor of personnel to UN peacekeeping missions. Of the total, some 343 Filipinos are assigned to the Golan Heights.

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  • Pinoy

    Dapat ikulong rin si Pichay. Kasama ni FG at Gloria Arroyo

  • Noron Jamel

    Bakit nio pinag-aksayahan ng panahon interview-hin itong si Pichay??? Matayog pa rin lipad ni Pichay kahit sirang plaka na sia, akala mo nakasandal pa rin siya sa pader! Imposibleng di mo alam Pechay na under kay Datu Andal EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!! Tulog ka siguro noong pumunta mga Team Unity senatorial candidates sa Maguindanao na pagkaraming streamers nakasabit sa mga daan na ang nakasulat ay ” WELCOME TO THE GMA COUNTRY”!  Pasok ka na sa Bilibid oy, walang kasama si Gen. Garcia don!

  • Anonymous

    The guy from Maguindanao is not to be believed on the say-so of a dismissed functionary? Are we supposed to take his explanation about the 12-0 bit hook, line and sinker because he is credible? Were we born yesterday?

  • Roberto

    It is truly a pityful matter that the Aquino administration banks on people with heinous crimes as witnesses against the Arroyos. Of course the Ampatuans and their close aides will witness anything that could help them to avoid lifrterm jail. So, why such people come out now with their accusations and are accepted as credible witnesses instead of criminals? For using them politically, that is maybe the reason of the slow marching cases against Ampatuans.

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