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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
Mr. Elmer G. Cato

Second Secretary, Philippine Mission to the United Nations

General Debate on the Comprehensive REview of the Whole Quesiton of Peacekeeping Operations in all their Aspect

at the Fourth Committee of the 61st UN General Assembly
Monday, 23 October 2006


Mr. Chairman,
As this is the first time the Philippines is taking the floor, allow us to congratulate you and the other members of your bureau on your election. We commend you for the manner that you have been conducting the work of the Fourth Committee and assure you of our support and cooperation.

The Philippines takes this opportunity to thank Undersecretary General Jean Marie Guehenno for his comprehensive briefing on Thursday. We welcome the positive developments he shared with us and assure him of the continued support of the Philippines as we collectively pursue the road map presented to us by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).

The Philippines aligns itself with the statement delivered by Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. Chairman,

The Philippines has followed closely the reforms being undertaken by the DPKO to improve the capability of the United Nations to effectively respond to conflict situations overseas. We laud the substantial improvements in the way the United Nations plan, launch and direct peacekeeping operations since the comprehensive review made by the Brahimi Panel six years ago.

As we have noted, most especially during the two years the Philippines sat as an elected member of the Security Council, these reforms not only allowed the United Nations to meet the challenges posed by the surge in the demand for peacekeeping operations but also helped improve the way UN peacekeepers protect civilians under threat, promote human rights, impose the rule of law and implement quick impact projects to ensure post-conflict stabilization and rehabilitation, among others.

Today, there are at least 93,000 peacekeepers from 110 countries serving in 18 UN missions all over the world. This is an unprecedented figure that is expected to swell to about 140,000 in the coming months with more peacekeeping missions underway. Overseeing these operations is not an easy task but we are pleased to note that the DPKO, despite its limited resources, was still able to improve its capacity to plan and support these missions during the past year.

The DPKO would surely be able to do more if it is provided with the resources and personnel it needs to allow it to more effectively meet the complex demands of existing and emerging peace operations. In this connection, the Philippines supports the proposal to create a 2,500-strong corps of civilian peacekeepers which the Undersecretary General described as the most important single step to creating a professional and effective management capacity in UN peacekeeping.

The Philippines would also want to see the Military Division reinforced with additional professional planners to help oversee the operations of the world’s second largest military troop deployer. We also support the proposals for the creation of a standing police capacity and an enhanced, rapidly deployable reserve capacity.

Mr. Chairman,

The Philippines appreciates the work of the DPKO in enhancing cooperation with troop contributing countries. We have greatly benefited from the creation of the dedicated force generation capacity at the DPKO that has allowed more frequent interaction with the focal points of the respective missions we are involved in.

We have also benefited from the series of informal meetings and briefings for the members of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping that were started last year as well as the meetings between the Security Council and troop contributors. We look forward to more of these interactions in the coming year.

Mr. Chairman,

The Philippines is pleased to know that DPKO has started work on the core policy document that sets out the fundamental principles, objectives and conditions for the successful deployment and disengagement of UN peacekeepers. We look forward to the completion of what the Secretary General had referred to as a “living doctrine” that would serve as guide for all peacekeeping personnel.

The Philippines also expects to see improvements in the operational efficiency of peacekeeping missions, including the further elaboration of templates that now already include such mission components as best practices officers and joint operations and joint mission analysis centers.

Mr. Chairman,

The Philippines continues to note that the member-countries of the Non-Aligned Movement continue to provide the bulk of peacekeepers on the ground and account for 80 percent of the total number of Blue Helmets deployed worldwide. The Philippines would like to see a larger participation from the more developed countries that could help make a difference with their better-trained and better-equipped personnel and resources. The timely response of Italy and other troop contributors to the strengthened UN Interim Force in Lebanon is a welcome development that should be replicated.

The Philippines also calls for arrangements that would allow troop contributors to partner and work together in support of UN peace operations. Such arrangements would allow member-states willing to deploy personnel but lack the equipment to do so to team up with another member-state that is willing to provide such equipment but does not have the personnel to deploy. This arrangement entered into bilaterally or through the UN would thus allow both troop contributors to support UN mission requirements.

Mr. Chairman,

The Philippines gives serious importance to the issue of discipline and conduct in UN mission areas given the fact that we are the largest troop contributor from Southeast Asia with 580 personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police serving in eight UN missions. We take note of the progress made in the enforcement of measures by the DPKO, particularly the creation of Conduct and Discipline Units in New York and in the field.

To underscore the importance we place on the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse, the Philippines recently revised the policy framework and guidelines governing our participation in peacekeeping operations. The revised guidelines to Executive Order 92 formalize and lay down a zero-tolerance policy on any misconduct, especially cases of sexual exploitation and abuse that may involve Filipino peacekeepers. We can also be expected to send an uncompromising message against prostitution in peacekeeping missions.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, the Philippines stands ready to support the Secretary General’s proposals for victim assistance, the draft model memorandum of understanding and national investigation officers.

Thank you.

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