RP planning to deploy more female peacekeepers

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE Philippine government is looking at increasing the deployment of female peacekeepers in support of the foreign missions to maintain peace and stability in the world.

This is in accordance with this year’s International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers theme of greater involvement by women in UN peacekeeping missions.

Meanwhile, in honor of the dedicated service of Filipino peacekeepers, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is hosting the inaugural inter-agency Philippine celebration of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers today (May 29).

The Philippines is the third largest troop contributor in Southeast Asia and ranked 30th in the world.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, who sits as chair of the Philippine Inter-Agency Council on UN Peacekeeping Operations, will deliver the keynote speech.

Dr. Soe Nyunt-U, the acting UN resident coordinator, will convey a message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

High-ranking officials from the Department of Defense (DND) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), nearly 80 former UN peacekeepers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), as well as members of the diplomatic corps, including ambassadors and representatives from Troop and Police Contributing Countries, will grace the event.

During the event, the Dag Hammarskjold Medal will be presented to Immaculate Batalla, the widow of Philippine Army officer Lt. Col. Renerio Batalla who died of malaria on October 24, 2008 while serving in the UN Mission in Sudan.

The Dag Hammarskjold Medal is a posthumous award to members of peacekeeping operations who lost their lives during service with a peacekeeping operation under the operational control and authority of the United Nations.

On April 16, 2009, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Proclamation No. 1755 declaring May 29 of each year as the “International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers in the Philippines” as designated in Resolution 57/129 by the United Nations General Assembly of 2002.

Over the years, Philippine peacekeepers have earned the respect and recognition of the United Nations because of their outstanding performance and tireless commitment to maintain global peace and security.

The Philippines has sent peacekeeping missions all over the world beginning with the air force deployment in support of the UN Mission in the Congo in 1963. Subsequent mission were sent in Afghanistan, Burundi, Cambodia, Cote d’Ivoire, Georgia, Haiti, Iraq, Kosovo, Liberia, Nepal, Sudan and Timor-Leste.

In October 2008, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert G. Romulo jointly signed a memorandum of understanding allowing the Philippines to participate in the UN Standby Arrangement System (UNSAS) to provide resources for peacekeeping operations within agreed response times.