Senate commends PHL peackeepers for bravery in Golan Heights

The Senate on Monday honored the Filipino peacekeepers in Golan Heights for their bravery, courage and resolve in defending their post despite being surrounded by Syrian rebels.

Armed Forces chief of staff General Gregorio Pio Catapang led the military officials who received a plaque from Senate President Franklin Drilon in behalf of the Filipino peacekeepers.

Several resolutions were filed commending the Filipino soldiers serving under the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in Golan Heights.

Senator Lito Lapid, in Resolution 876, said the heroism and dedication to duty displayed by the Filipino peacekeepers while on assignment at the volatile Golan Heights deserve to be commended and emulated.

Senator Paolo Benigno ‘Bam” Aquino IV, in Resolution 877, said “after withstanding seven hours under heavy fire, the Filipino peacekeepers, low on ammunition, successfully planned and implemented their escape on the night of 30 August 2014 under cover of darkness, with guidance and support from Philippine military and defense leaders, the UN Force Headquarters, and from Syrian, Israeli, US and Qatar governments. Burdened with heavy weapons and the cold weather, they walked for nearly two hours to meet up with other UN forces who escorted them to safety,”

Detained Senator Jinggoy Estrada, in Resolution 878, said “such firm resolve and brave act of the Filipino troops manifest our commitment to international peace and our continuing quest to achieve unity among nations.”

Senator Teofisto Guingona III, in Resolution 881, said the “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. A commendation is in order for the Filipino peacekeepers, who showed their courage and bravery amidst grave danger and conflict.”

The 331 Filipino peacekeepers in Golan Heights are set to be pulled out after their tour of duty ends in October.

Israel captured Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 war, and the countries technically remain at war. Syrian troops are not allowed in an area of separation under a 1973 ceasefire formalized in 1974.

UNDOF monitors the area of separation, a narrow strip of land running 70 km from Mount Hermon on the Lebanese border to the Yarmouk River frontier with Jordan. There are 1,223 UNDOF peacekeepers from six countries. Amita Legaspi/JDS, GMA News


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