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12 DECEMBER 2007
FILIPINA IS SECOND RP FATALITY IN TERROR ATTACKS VS UN
NEW YORK—The Filipina killed in Tuesday's car bombing of the United Nations offices in Algeria is the second international civil servant from the Philippines to perish in a terrorist attack directed against the world organization, the Philippine Mission to the United Nations said.
In his report to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, Ambassador Hilario G. Davide, Jr., Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said that Ms. Gene Luna, 48, of the Rome-based World Food Program (WFP), was among the fatalities in the attack that targeted the UN offices in Algiers.
Ambassador Davide said UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq notified the Philippine Mission about the death of Luna this morning, shortly after the UN Secretariat received more concrete information about the casualties from their field offices in Algeria.
"The Philippines has again lost one of its own as a result of another despicable act by the forces of terror," Ambassador Davide said. "Gene Luna's death shall serve as an inspiration for our international civil servants in various frontlines around the world to continue doing what they are supposed to do—serve humankind."
According to Ambassador Davide, there are more than 800 Filipinos serving in the UN Secretariat in New York alone plus an undetermined number serving in various UN agencies and peacekeeping missions all over the world.
He said Luna, who served as finance officer for the WFP, the UN's lead agency in the fight against hunger, is the second Filipino to die in a terrorist attack while serving under the UN flag.
Ranilo Buenaventura, a staff member of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, was among the 22 people killed by a car bomb that leveled the UN headquarters in Baghdad on 19 August 2003. That attack, which was claimed by Al Qaeda, also resulted in the death of top UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and seriously injured his Filipina assistant, Marilyn Manuel.
Tuesday's attack in Algiers has been claimed by an Al-Qaeda linked militant group that was responsible for a series of terrorist attacks in the country.
"Gene Luna's service to humanity will not be forgotten," Ambassador Davide said in paying tribute to the slain Filipina.
At the time of her death, Ms. Luna, who joined the WFP in Afghanistan in 2002, was part of the agency's program that was assisting the Algerian government in meeting the basic food needs of thousands of refugees displaced by the 1975 conflict in Western Sahara
In Rome, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran joined UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and others in condemning the attack and conveyed her condolences to the family of Ms. Luna.
"We have lost a dedicated member of our WFP family, as well as many others who served to help those in need," Sheeran said. "I am outraged and saddened at this senseless act of violence against those helping the world's most vulnerable. My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those who died."
On Tuesday, the Philippine Government expressed its strong condemnation of the Algiers attacks in a statement delivered before the 62 nd General Assembly by Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza Cabral.
Ambassador Davide also condemned the terrorist attack and expressed the Philippine government's sympathy to his counterpart, Ambassaador Youcef Yousfi. ###
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