Senate adopts resolution commending UN Filipino peacekeepers

By , on September 8, 2014

UNDOF soldiers examine the Israeli-Syrian border in Golan Heights, Israel. (Chameleons Eye / ShutterStock)
UNDOF soldiers examine the Israeli-Syrian border in Golan Heights, Israel. (Chameleons Eye / ShutterStock)

MANILA – The Senate adopted on Monday a resolution commending the United Nations Filipino peacekeepers for their display of bravery and resolve during a standoff against the Syrian rebels at the Golan Heights.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang received the Senate Resolution 876 in behalf of the 40 UN Filipino peacekeepers who are scheduled to return to the country in October.

Authored by Senator Lito Lapid, the SR 876 was approved with 16-0 vote, taking into consideration SR 877, 881, and 899 filed by Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Teofisto Guingona III and Antonio Trillanes IV.

The senators lauded the 40 UN Filipino peacekeepers for exhibiting “extraordinary valor” when they refused to surrender their firearms to the Syrian rebels and instead planned for ‘great escape.’

The Filipino peacekeepers, together with the UN peacekeeping force, have been stationed in Golan Heights since 1974 to monitor a ceasefire between Israel and Syria.

Of the 331-strong Filipino contingent serving as part of the UN Disengagement Force in the Golan Heights, 75 were encamped at the region’s Positions 68 and 69.

Last Aug. 28, the Syrian rebels surrounded the two encampments and demanded that the Filipino peacekeepers surrender their firearms in which the Filipino peacekeepers refused, resulting in a standoff.

On Aug. 30, the 40 Filipino soldiers valiantly held their ground as around 100 rebels attacked Position 68 while 35 Filipino peacekeepers from Position 69 managed to leave their encampment with Irish peacekeepers securing their escape route.

At midnight of the same day, the 40 Filipino soldiers from Position 68 also managed to flee, walking 2.3 kilometers to safety, as the rebels slept.

“Our Filipino peacekeepers exhibited extraordinary valor above and beyond their call of duty, demonstrating once again that Filipinos are among the bravest peacekeepers in the world,” Guingona said.

“Our soldiers’ brave front only proves that Filipinos will not back down from any challenge that we face,” Aquino, for his part, said.

Aquino described the Filipino peacekeepers as the new “action heroes of the world.”