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04 JUNE 2008
FALLEN FILIPINO PEACEKEEPER HONORED IN UN RITES
NEW YORK—A Philippine Army officer who died while serving in Sudan last year was among 90 peacekeepers from all over the world who were honored by the United Nations last week.
Lt. Col. Renerio Batalla was awarded the Dag Hammarskjold Medal in the Service of Peace during solemn ceremonies that coincided with activities at the UN Headquarters marking the 60th anniversary of UN peacekeeping.
Ambasssador Hilario G. Davide, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, received the medal on behalf of the Philippine Government from Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno.
Batalla, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, succumbed to malaria on 23 October 2008 while serving as a military observer with the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). He is the 16th Filipino peacekeeper to die while serving in a UN mission.
"Serving far from home in challenging and dangerous environments, these men and women represent the best the international community has to offer; we pay tribute to their sacrifice and dedication in pursuit of the noble goals of the United Nations," Under-Secretary General Guehenno said.
"But even as we mourn those we have lost, we pay tribute to the professionalism, dedication and courage of those who continue the work of their departed comrades whom we honor here today," he said.
The Philippines is among the top 30 UN member-states that have contributed police and military personnel to support UN peace operations. As of the end of April 2008, the Philippines had 627 peacekeepers deployed in various UN missions in Afghanistan, Cote d' Ivoire, Darfur, Georgia, Haiti, Kosovo, Liberia, Nepal, Sudan and Timor Leste.
The number of Filipino peacekeepers is expected to increase in the coming months with the request of the UN for the deployment of additional police and military personnel to support the requirements of new UN peacekeeping missions in Darfur, Chad and the Central African Republic. ###
ELMER G. CATO Second Secretary & Press Officer Philippine Mission to the United Nations 556 Fifth Avenue, Fifth Floor New York, New York 10036 Tel. No. 212.764.1300 Extension 38
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