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17 NOVEMBER 2008
UN HONORS RP PEACEKEEPERS IN LIBERIA
NEW YORK—The United Nations on Thursday awarded medals to Filipino peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in recognition of their significant contribution to the country's recovery and stabilization.
The Philippine Mission to the United Nations reported that 165 members of the 10th Philippine Peacekeeping Contingent under Col. Danilo Pamonag received United Nations medals from Ms. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Rule of Law, during ceremonies in Monrovia on Monday.
Also in attendance were UNMIL Force Commander, Lt. Gen. ATM Zahirul Alam; Sector Commanders Brig. Gen. Ezekiel Olu-Olofinmuagan and Brig. Gen. Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar; and other senior military and civilian officials
In her speech, Ms. Mensa-Bonsu commended the Filipino peacekeepers for their significant contributions to Liberia's recovery efforts and urged them to uphold their duty to care for the Liberian people.
"You have been instrumental in improving security systems within the UNMIL compounds and in formulating standard operating procedures to ensure the highest quality of security," Ms. Mensa-Bonsu said as she applauded the Filipinos for the role they play in support of the mandate of UNMIL.
"I salute your country, which you represent with utmost credit," the deputy UN envoy said, as she commended Lieutenant Colonel Pamonag for his excellent leadership.
In his speech, Lieutenant Colonel Pamonag described the Filipino peacekeepers as "ever-smiling, silent professionals, who tirelessly work on the sidelines to get things done."
He said the UNMIL experience has taught the members of the Philippine contingent the true meaning of peacekeeping. "Making friends, good attitude and good behavior are more powerful instruments than the edge of a sword," he said.
The Philippine contingent was first deployed to Monrovia in 2003 to serve as the Force Headquarters Support Unit, which is in charge of providing area, point and security patrols at the UNMIL Headquarters as well as motor transport coordination and administrative, operational and logistical support. The contingent is also responsible for protecting the Special Representative and the two Deputy Special Representatives, and dignitaries visiting the mission area.
The 165 Filipino peacekeepers deployed in Liberia are among the 621 police and military personnel presently serving in UN peacekeeping operations. Other UN mission areas where Filipino peacekeepers are deployed are Afghanistan, Cote d' Ivoire, Darfur, Georgia, Haiti, Kosovo, Sudan and Timor-Leste. ###
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