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12 JANUARY 2010
RP PEACEKEEPERS ALL ACCOUNTED FOR, INCLUDING 4 TRAPPED IN RUBBLE
NEW YORK—The Philippines told the United Nations today it has accounted for all Filipino peacekeepers serving in Haiti but that four remained trapped inside the UN headquarters that collapsed following the massive tremor that hit Port-au-Prince on Tuesday.
The Philippine Mission to the United Nations said that Ambassador Hilario G. Davide Jr., Permanent Representative to the United Nations, also met with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and expressed the Philippine Government’s condolences over the tragedy that left a number of UN staff still unaccounted for.
The Philippine Mission said that Ambassador Davide also later met and condoled with the Ambassador Leo Merores, Permanent Representative of Haiti to the United Nations.
In its report to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, the Philippine Mission said Ambassador Davide requested the floor during a briefing by UN Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping Allan Le Roy to report that all 157 military officers and enlisted men and 15 police officers serving with the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah) are all accounted for.
Ambassador Davide said the number includes the three members of the 10th Philippine Peacekeeping Contingent who remain trapped inside the collapsed Minustah headquarters and another in nearby Hotel Montana, which is also being used by the UN. He said one peacekeeper sustained injuries during the earthquake but was in stable condition at the Argentinian Hospital.
Ambassador Davide said the Filipino peacekeepers, who are tasked to provide security and support services to Minustah headquarters, are working with peacekeepers from other Member-States in the recovery effort and in securing the area. He added that the headquarters of the Philippine contingent at the Italian House across the street presently serves as the casualty collection point for victims recovered from the rubble of the former Christopher Hotel.
Ambassador Davide also shared the concern raised by other UN Member States over their inability to get in touch with their peacekeeping contingents in Port-au-Prince immediately following the earthquake. He said the Philippine Mission could still not reach Lt. Col. Lope Dagoy, more than 24 hours after the earthquake rocked the Haitian capital.
In his intervention, Ambassador Davide also expressed concern over the fate of an undetermined number of UN staff members from the Philippines, some of who were believed to be inside the Minustah headquarters when it collapsed. The UN said there were around 100 staff inside the building when the earthquake struck. Among those still unaccounted for are Tunisian diplomat Hedi Hannabi, Special Representative of the Secretary General and head of MINUSTAH, and one of his two deputies, Luiz Carlos da Costa of Brazil.
Ambassador Davide said there was also no way to check the condition of the almost 500 members of the Filipino community in Haiti, who are missionaries or employed in the garments, power and telecommunications sector.
Ambassador Davide also said that he was informed by the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations that the Apostolic Nuncio in Haiti, Msgr. Bernardito Auza of Bohol, who was previously assigned in New York, was safe. ###
ELMER G. CATO First 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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