Aquino rebukes UN: Mission impossible | Global News

Aquino rebukes UN: Mission impossible

/ 05:28 AM October 02, 2014

MANILA, Philippines–“We cannot just send our troops to assist in a situation where the mission that they are supposed to perform is impossible or unclear.”

President Aquino on Wednesday raised the possibility the Philippines would no longer deploy Filipino troops in UN peacekeeping operations during ceremonies in Malacañang where he led a hero’s welcome for soldiers pulled out from the Golan Heights where they had battled Syrian rebels late last August.


“The life of each individual is important,” Aquino said in remarks to the troops.


The President criticized the United Nations for rejecting requests to provide additional firearms for Filipino peacekeepers, who faced what he called “mission impossible” in the Golan Heights.

But despite the “unclear” mission and “limited resources,” the 344 Filipino troops under the UN Disengagement Observer Force (Undof) performed their task, said Aquino.

The President awarded two Distinguished Service Medals and eight Gold Cross Medals to members of the contingent led by Col. Ezra James Enriquez, Undof’s Filipino chief of staff.

“As your Commander in Chief, I didn’t want to send you out in what was tantamount to a mission impossible. We will not go into that,” he told the 271 soldiers in attendance, recalling his decision not to send any more troops even before the clash with Syrian rebels.

Aquino said he began questioning the exact mission of Filipino troops after four of them were abducted, also by Syrian rebels, last year in the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria.

He cited the presence of the rebels in the mission originally intended to prevent clashes between Israel and Syria.


“When the situation changed, when rebels began to show up in this area of disengagement, [the United Nations] should have addressed the situation and said there was a new mission,” he said.

Trained for chemical warfare


“There was a risk, right. But the risk should be based on a mission that could be performed, not a mission impossible.”

The President said Filipino troops were eventually trained in dealing with chemical warfare and were provided additional equipment. “But all our requests for additional firearms were turned down,” he said.

Enriquez said his troops’ mandate was “clear” but the “complication” coming from a group of al-Qaida-affiliated Syrian rebels “made it a different situation.”

Aquino said he was awaiting the results of the UN investigation of the August standoff, which would be the basis of his decision whether to send troops in future peacekeeping missions.

Most heavily manned mission

The Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Assistant Secretary Charles Jose, clarified that the decision would cover only deployment to the Golan Heights.

More than 100 Filipino peacekeepers were also recently recalled from Liberia because of the Ebola outbreak.

About 100 soldiers are in Haiti, three peacekeepers in the Ivory Coast, plus four in India and Pakistan. The Golan Heights had been the Philippines’ most heavily manned mission.

The President defended the Philippine contingent’s decision not to surrender to Syrian rebels, who had also seized 43 Fijian peacekeepers.

“I got a report that you had been asked to lay down your arms and we could not agree to that,” he told the soldiers. “Had you been taken hostage, it would have complicated the problem and our capability to send a rescue force is really limited.”


The Distinguished Service Medals went to Enriquez and Lt. Col. Ted Dumosmog, who headed the Philippine contingent.

Gold Cross Medals were awarded to Capt. Nilo Ramones, 2Lt. Larry Endozo, M/Sgt. Wilson Lagmay, Sgt. Alwin Cuyos, S/Sgt. Leonardo Aboy, S/Sgt. Andy Mejos, S/Sgt. Ramil Bobiles and Corporal Joneve Acolicol.

Securing Pope Francis

After a two-week vacation, Dumosmog’s 330-strong battalion will receive training on securing Pope Francis, who will visit the Philippines in January, and delegates to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit here later next year.

“[We are] very excited because for most of them, it would be the first time to see the Pope in person,” Dumosmog told reporters.–With a report from AFP

Originally posted at 2:45 pm | Wednesday, October 1, 2014



Filipino troops pull ‘greatest escape’ in Golan

PH pulls peacekeepers out of Golan Heights ahead of time

TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Global Nation, Golan Heights, peacekeepers, Syria, United Nations

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.