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7 MARCH 2010
ROMULO OUTLINES RP PEACEKEEPING ROADMAP
CAMP FAOUAR, Syria—Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo on Friday outlined plans to expand Manila’s participation in United Nations peace operations by strengthening the country’s peacekeeping body and acquiring equipment for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
“Three years from now, the Philippines will commemorate the 50th year of its participation in UN peacekeeping. Before we mark this occasion, we would like to have put in place a stronger mechanism—a peacekeeping roadmap—that would allow us to more effectively take part in global peace efforts,” Secretary Romulo told Filipino peacekeepers in the Golan Heights on Friday.
Secretary Romulo said the Philippine peacekeeping roadmap will be drawn up by the Interagency Council on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, which, according to him, will be strengthened and transformed into a superbody that shall provide “the vision and direction for our participation in UN operations.”
The interagency council, which Secretary Romulo chairs, is based at the Department of Foreign Affairs, and has as members the Department of National Defense and the Department of the Interior and Local Government. The council is to be overseen by a secretariat that will be staffed by Filipino diplomats and peacekeepers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
“In the next few years, we hope to be able to upgrade our peacekeeping capabilities with the acquisition of equipment that would allow us to more effectively respond to UN requests for troop contributions,” he said, adding that this is consistent with Manila’s commitment to the UN Standby Arrangement System, which he signed with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Malacanang in 2008.
Secretary Romulo said the Policy Framework and Guidelines on Philippine Participation in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, which he approved two years ago is in the process of being reviewed by an interagency technical working group.
“We hope to start making the necessary revisions to make Philippine peacekeeping policies more responsive to present-day realities,” he said.
In addition to strengthening the peacekeeping council, the foreign secretary said he would also like to see an expansion of Philippine participation in UN peacekeeping operations with the deployment of more personnel to support UN operations in the field and at UN headquarters in New York.
“We hope to be able to see more Filipinos serving not only in existing and emerging missions but in the United Nations Secretariat as well,” he said. “But as we strive to do this, we also need to make sure that we are sending officers and personnel who are not only trained for the job but who are also properly equipped and motivated to carry out their mission.”
The Philippines is presently No. 24 in the UN’s list of top troop contributing countries with a total of 1,062 Filipino military and police personnel serving in Afghanistan, Cote d’ Ivoire, Darfur, Golan Heights, Haiti, Kashmir, Liberia, Sudan and Timor-Leste. This figure represents a 40 percent jump in the number of peacekeepers serving overseas compared to the total Philippine peacekeeping deployments during the previous year. ###
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