DFA explains PH abstention in UN vote on Gaza
The Philippines would have voted in favor of the United Nations resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war had it mentioned and condemned the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that killed more than 1,400 people in Israel, including four Filipinos and other foreigners, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Saturday.
The Philippines was one of the 45 countries, which included Canada, Australia and Ukraine, that abstained from voting on the resolution during the emergency special session of the UN General Assembly on Friday.
“Because of this attack, we recognize Israel’s right to self-defense, as provided for under article 51 of the UN Charter, reflected in the resolution,” Ambassador Antonio Lagdameo, the permanent representative of the Philippines to the United Nations, said in his speech to the assembly.
The resolution was supported by 120 countries, which voted in favor, with 14 others voting against it.
“We supported Canada’s proposal to achieve more balance in the draft, with a factual reference to, and condemnation of, the 7 October terrorist attacks by Hamas that killed many innocent civilians, including Filipinos working and living in Israel,” the DFA said in a statement.
The DFA said 88 countries backed Ottawa but they were eight votes short to have made “this critical element” included in the resolution.
“The UN resolution adopted on Oct. 28 called an “immediate humanitarian truce” leading to the “cessation of hostilities,” the assurance of the safe passage of humanitarian aid into Palestine, and the “immediate and unconditional release of all civilians who are being illegally held captive” but it did not specifically mention the hostages taken by Hamas.
It condemned the “acts of terrorism and indiscriminate attacks” against civilians but only expressed “grave concern” over the “latest escalation of violence” that started with Oct. 7 Hamas attack.
On Oct. 11, Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo condemned the “terrorism and violence” that resulted from the Hamas attack. President Marcos last week, said that he hoped all the parties concerned would work to “deescalate” the violence.
More than 7,000 people, many of them children, have been killed in Gaza due to continuing bombardments by Israel.
The DFA said it would continue to support UN efforts “to decisively put a stop” to the rising deaths and suffering in Gaza and Israel and provide humanitarian assistance to those in need, and restore peace and normalcy to millions affected by the crisis.