Pinoy peacekeepers honored

By Alexis Romero, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 30 2014 04:59 AM | Updated as of May 30 2014 12:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Civilians and uniformed personnel who contributed to the United Nations' peacekeeping efforts were feted yesterday by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The recognition of Filipino peacekeepers was held in Camp Crame in Quezon City and was part of the celebration of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

Awarded with the Plaque of Recognition were retired major general and now Defense Undersecretary Natalio Ecarama, the first Filipino to serve as head of the peacekeeping mission and force commander of the UN Disengagement Observer Force in Golan Heights in the Syria-Israel border; Col. Nilo Perfecto for his “meritorious performance” as Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans; Col. Gregory Cayetano for serving as commanding officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Peacekeeping Operations Center; S/Sgt. Tito Malsi for bringing pride to the Philippines during the stand-off with hostile elements in the Golan Heights; and T/Sgt. Herman Galiza for gallantly safeguarding the rotating Austrian and Croatian peacekeepers during an attack in Damascus, Syria last year.

Also honored were Ambassador Eduardo Martin Meñez for his significant contribution as secretary-general of the National Council for United Nations Peace Operations; Police Chief Superintendents Edgar Layon and Wilfredo Franco, Chief Insp. Godofredo Ergo and Senior Police Officer 1 Elvira Evangelista.

The DFA also recognized former Filipino peacekeepers who served in UN peacekeeping missions last year.

The awardees were members of Philippine contingents deployed in Liberia, South Sudan, Haiti, Afghanistan and Syria.

Certificates of recognition were also given to the team of Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado who composed the Philippine Assessment Mission Team that assessed the situation of Filipino troops in the Golan Heights.

“The Armed Forces salutes our Filipino peacekeepers who continue to uphold our commitment to the United Nations leadership in pursuit of a conflict-free world,” Armed Forces public affairs chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said.

A total of 106 peacekeepers, including Filipino soldier Sgt. Benson Angot, died in the line of duty last year. Angot died of malaria while serving in a peacekeeping mission in Liberia.

The Philippines has contributed 676 soldiers and policemen to UN peacekeeping operations in Cote d’Ivoire, Haiti, India-Pakistan border, Liberia and the Middle East including the Golan Heights.