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02 JULY 2008
RP PEACEKEEPERS IN HAITI RECEIVE UN MEDALS
NEW YORK—The United Nations has recently awarded peacekeeping medals to Filipino troops and police officers serving in Haiti in recognition of the "dedication and spirit of sacrifice they have shown in defending the cause of peace," the Philippine Mission to the United Nations reported.
In his report to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, Ambassador Leslie B. Gatan, Charge d' Affaires of the Philippine Mission, said the medals were awarded to 155 officers and enlisted personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and 17 officers from the Philippine National Police (PNP), serving with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
The medals were presented by Ambassador Hedi Annabi, Special Representative of the Secretary General and head of MINUSTAH, during joint ceremonies at the headquarters of the Philippine peacekeeping contingent in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince on 27 June.
In his speech, Ambassador Annabi emphasized the role of peacekeepers in Haiti, saying MINUSTAH has benefited greatly from the presence of the Filipino troops and police officers since they were first deployed during the Philippine membership in the United Nations Security Council in 2004.
"Since the installation of the Mission, Filipino soldiers and police officers have contributed to our efforts to build, together with the Haitian authorities, a solid foundation for the stability of Haiti and a better future for the country," Ambassador Annabi said.
In his response, Col. Rodrigo Diapana, commander of the Philippine military contingent, said receiving the decorations is an honor for both the police and military contingents as a whole and for each peacekeeper in particular.
"Today is a day of honor for the military and police contingents from the Philippines. This is a moment of pride for all of us. This medal is the recognition of the work we have done within the Mission," Colonel Diapana said.
The medal ceremony, which coincided with the 110th anniversary of Philippine independence, was also attended by the Principal Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Luiz Carlos da Costa; the Commissioner of the United Nations Police in Haiti, Mamadou Mountaga Diallo; and the MINUSTAH Military Force Commander, Gen. Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz.
The first batch of Filipino peacekeepers, a company-sized unit from the Army, Navy and the Air Force, was deployed to Haiti in December 2004 and was tasked to carry out administrative duties and secure MINUSTAH dignitaries as well as the mission's headquarters and other sites.
The Philippines also deployed another batch of Filipino peacekeepers made up of PNP officers who were tasked to assist MINUSTAH in building up the capacity of the Haitian National Police. Filipino police officers also helped provide support and training to the Haitian police and participate in the coordination of operations as well as in the conduct of local elections.
The Philippines has been a consistent contributor to UN peacekeeping operations since it first deployed an Air Force squadron in 1963 to support the United Nations Mission in Congo. At present, the Philippines has a total of 670 peacekeepers deployed in UN missions in Afghanistan, Cote d' Ivoire, Darfur, Georgia, Haiti, Kosovo, Liberia, Nepal, Sudan and Timor-Leste. ###
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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