AFP chief: No regrets not pulling out troops sooner in Golan Heights | Global News

AFP chief: No regrets not pulling out troops sooner in Golan Heights

/ 01:40 AM August 30, 2014

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr., and other military officials convene. AFP Public Affairs.

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine military said there’s no regret in their part in not pulling out troops in Golan Heights sooner despite the previous cases of abduction and the ongoing standoff between Filipino UN peacekeepers and armed Syrian rebels.

“No [regrets], it’s an honor and pride for our country to be deployed as UN peacekeepers because it shows that we can contribute to world peace and security,” Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. told on Friday.


It was only last week that the Philippine government decided to recall its peacekeepers serving in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force due to the worsening security situation in the Middle East. The peacekeepers were only waiting for their end of duty in October.


The government has also decided to pull out its troops in Liberia due to the outbreak of Ebola virus. The troops in Haiti will remain.

On Thursday, Syrian rebels asked Fijian peacekeepers in Al Qunaytirah to surrender their firearms and later abducted 43 of them after doing so.  The rebels headed to Filipino encampments in Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah to do the same, but the troops resisted to give up their firearms, which caused the ongoing standoff. There were 75 troops still trapped.

The UN is still negotiating the release of the peacekeepers.

Despite the incident, Catapang said they will still not pull out the Filipino peacekeepers immediately but will wait for them to finish their tour of duty in October.

Last year, Filipino peacekeepers were also abducted by Syrian rebels in March and May but were eventually released unharmed.

As of July, there are 1,223 peacekeepers from six countries serving in Golan Heights. The Philippines has been sending contingents to Golan Heights since 2009 as part of its commitment to the UN.



Filipino peacekeepers won’t surrender weapons–military

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Another PH peacekeeping team told to return to UN battalion headquarters

TAGS: Golan Heights, Gregorio Pio Catapang, Philippine military, Syria, Syrian rebels, UN peacekeepers

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