By Francis Wakefield
Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana reiterated the commitment of the Philippines to the peacekeeping operations of the United Nations (UN).
Lorenzana spoke at the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Meeting on Uniformed Capabilities, Performance, and Protection held at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA, last Friday.
He noted that for 2019, the Philippines has committed 90 military observers and peacekeeping staff, one force headquarters support unit, and one aeromedical evacuation team to the UN Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System.
“The Philippines is ready to increase its engagement in peacekeeping operations. The Philippine Government has decided to allow the deployment of military and police area in any area, regardless of the security threat level,” he said.
Aside from highlighting the progress made by member countries in their commitment to UN peacekeeping, the meeting also served as a venue for the ministers to announce their pledges and plans towards strengthening the capabilities and performance of peacekeepers, and ensuring the protection of civilians.
Lorenzana presented the Philippines’ position that success in peacekeeping operations must be measured by how well peacekeepers protect civilians, especially children, and prevent sexual exploitation and abuse.
He noted that the Philippines has very strict standards of conduct and behavior in the performance of the peacekeepers, and has adopted more stringent criteria in the selection of peacekeeping candidates.
The Philippines also recognizes the role of skilled and trained female peacekeepers to the success of peacekeeping operations. Lorenzana said the Philippines commits to deploy more female peacekeepers in the future, supporting the holistic approach of the UN in peacekeeping missions.
For Secretary Lorenzana, the country’s more than 50 years of participating in peacekeeping efforts illustrates the Philippines’ readiness to respond to the UN’s call.
“The Philippines stands in solidarity with the community of nations in fostering shared responsibility for the success of peacekeeping operations,” Lorenzana concluded.