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11 MARCH 2008
RP REITERATES SUPPORT FOR UN PEACEKEEPING
NEW YORK—The Philippines will not only contribute more police and military personnel to help the United Nations maintain peace in conflict areas around the world but will also undertake more efforts to further enhance its participation in peacekeeping operations, the Philippine Mission to the United Nations said today.
"The Philippines wishes to reiterate its unequivocal support and cooperation in helping the United Nations maintain the peace in conflict areas worldwide," Ambassador Hilario G. Davide, Jr., Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said before the 2008 Session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations Headquarters here.
"As it has done when it first deployed an Air Force squadron to support UN operations in the Congo more than 40 years ago, the Philippines is ready to heed the call of the UN and will send its men and women to where they are needed, when they are needed," Ambassador Davide said in his statement before the Special Committee.
The Philippines is among the top 30 troop contributing countries with more than 660 military and police peacekeepers serving in UN missions in Afghanistan, Cote d' Ivoire, Darfur, Georgia, Haiti, Kosovo, Liberia, Nepal, Sudan and Timor Leste.
Taking serious note of the demand for more police officers to support UN missions, Ambassador Davide said the world body can look forward to more deployments from the Philippines which is already one of the largest if not the largest contributor of individual police officers to UN operations.
The Filipino envoy said the Philippines has gone a long way since it first contributed Filipino police officers to serve with the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia in 1992. He said that only recently, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo responded positively to the request of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon General and ordered the deployment of 48 police officers to support the United Nations African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur.
"In the coming months, the Philippines will be sending more officers to other UN mission areas where their experience and expertise are needed," Ambassador Davide said. "Hopefully, in the near future, we would also finally be able to send our first formed police unit overseas."
Ambassador Davide also told the Special Committee that the Philippines shall endeavor to deploy more female personnel in response to the Secretary General's call for troop contributing countries to increase the number of women serving in the field. According to him, the Philippines shall seriously look at how it could match the number of women personnel deployed with the actual percentage of women in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
In his statement, the former Supreme Court Chief Justice also underscored the serious importance the Philippines places on the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse, saying that as early as 2005, the Philippines has put in place a zero-tolerance policy not only on sexual exploitation and abuse but on also all other misconduct that may be committed abroad by Philippine peacekeepers.
"At home, the Philippines can be expected to continue taking steps to reinforce this policy including the conduct of a more rigid prescreening and predeployment process for Filipino peacekeepers while here at the United Nations, the Philippines will continue to support all initiatives aimed at addressing the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse," he said.
The envoy also said that the Philippines will support measures to improve the welfare of peacekeeping personnel, adding that Manila's concern for the welfare of Filipino troops should also extend to their spiritual requirements, hence, the need to consider the role of the chaplaincy in the peacekeeping contingents.
"As the lead country that advocates the promotion of interfaith dialogue, the Philippines would also like to request the United Nations to consider further measures to make both military and police peacekeepers sensitive to the cultural and religious circumstances of their areas of assignment," Ambassador Davide said. ###
Elmer G. Cato
Second Secretary & Press Officer
Philippine Mission to the United Nations
556 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10036
Tel. 212.764.1300 Extension 38
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New York, NY 10036 | (Between 45th and 46th)
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