Heroes’ welcome awaits PH peacekeepers | Global News

Heroes’ welcome awaits PH peacekeepers

05:56 PM September 05, 2014

This handout photo taken in October 2013 shows the officers and men of the 7th Philippine peacekeeping force bound for Golan Heights during their sendoff ceremony at Army headquarters in Manila. The photo was released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs office on Friday, as news broke about heavily armed Filipino peacekeepers defying Syrian rebels in a stand-off at the Golan Heights hours after the gunmen disarmed and took hostage 43 Fijian soldiers. AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — A heroes’ welcome awaits the Filipino peacekeepers in Golan Heights who made the daring escape from Syrian rebels over the weekend.

“[On] October [they will] be coming back, let’s prepare for a heroes’ welcome for our soldiers,” Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Gregorio Catapang Jr. said on Friday.


The soldiers were deployed to Golan Heights as peacekeepers November last year.


Catapang said they are also studying if the soldiers will be promoted.

The 300-plus Army contingent will pull out in October after their tour of duty ends. This was decided by the Philippine government days before the incident in Golan Heights, where Syrian rebels abducted Fijian peacekeepers and tried to do the same with Filipino peacekeepers but they were able to escape.

Catapang described it “the greatest escape.”

But the AFP chief claimed early this week that United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Commander General Iqbal Singh Singha of India ordered the Filipino soldiers surrender their arms and avoid harm from befalling the captured Fijians.

UN’s undersecretary general for peacekeeping Herve Lasdous supported Singha and said that no such order was given. He said the order was just not to shoot and not hand over the weapons.

Catapang said they decided not to further comment on the UN statements.


“We already submitted the report to the President and it’s up to him to decide. Hopefully he will be able to study. We don’t want this to be a blame game. What’s important was we were able to save our soldiers,” he said.

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TAGS: AFP, Golan Heights, Gregorio Pio Catapang, peacekeepers, soldiers

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