By Francis Wakefield
Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana has committed 90 military observers and peacekeeping staff, a force headquarters support unit, and one aeromedical evacuation team to the United Nations’ (UN) Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System.
Lorenzana pledged the country’s commitment to the peacekeeping operations of the UN in his speech at the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Meeting on Uniformed Capabilities, Performance, and Protection at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA, on March 29, 2019 (EDT).
“The Philippines is ready to increase its engagement in peacekeeping operations,” he said.
“The Philippine Government has decided to allow the deployment of military and police in any area, regardless of the security threat level,” the Defense Chief said, adding that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is currently enhancing its capabilities in support of future peacekeeping deployments.
The Philippines, according to Lorenzana, also recognizes the role of skilled and trained female peacekeepers in the success of peacekeeping operations or PKOs.
With this in mind, Lorenzana said that the Philippines is committed to deploying more female peacekeepers in the future, supporting the holistic approach of the UN in peacekeeping missions.
In addition to 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 respective pledges and concrete plans that are geared towards strengthening the capabilities and performance of uniformed personnel deployed in PKOs, and ensuring the protection of civilians.
For his part, Secretary Lorenzana remarked on the Philippines’ position that success in peacekeeping operations must be measured by how well peacekeepers protect civilians, especially children, and prevent sexual exploitation abuse.
He noted that the Philippines employs very strict standards of conduct and behavior in the performance of the peacekeeping duties of its personnel deployed to PKOs, and has adopted more stringent criteria in the selection of peacekeeping candidates.
Lorenzana said the country’s more than 50 years of actively participating in peacekeeping efforts illustrates the Philippines’ readiness to respond to the UN’s call, noting the country’s renewal of commitment to the Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping Operations along the Action for Peacekeeping or A4P initiative by the UN Secretary-General.
“The Philippines stands in solidarity with the community of nations in fostering shared responsibility for the success of peacekeeping operations,” Lorenzana concluded.