AFP chief gets promotion after 'greatest escape'

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 03 2014 12:06 PM | Updated as of Sep 03 2014 09:31 PM

MANILA - The Commission on Appointments has confirmed the promotion to general of Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gregorio Catapang.

The CA's committee on national defense unanimously approved his endorsement, praising Catapang for guiding Filipino peacekeepers in Golan Heights to safety.

Rep. Rufus Rodriguez will file a resolution commending Catapang as well as the 40 Filipino peacekeepers for not giving in to the demands of Syrian rebels and staged an escape in the middle of the night.

"I believe that there should be a proper commendation given to him. This representation will file a resolution in Congress to congratulate our Armed Forces chief, Gregorio Catapang, for a job well done which was seen by the entire world. The world saw the Filipino flag at its highest and the respect," he said.

The Filipino contingent defied the order of the commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) to surrender their arms.

"We really disobeyed the orders of the UNDOF commander inasmuch as we do not surrender our firearms. On the second instance, when we were already surrounded by the rebels, ISIS, the UNDOF commander told us to negotiate with the rebels. And it is also our national policy not to negotiate with terrorists because that group is a terrorist organization so it really enforces our decision not to surrender," Catapang told the committee.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV proposed that the peacekeepers be given combat promotion.

Rep. George Arnaiz also proposed that a movie be made out of what has been described as "the greatest escape."

"It is a very good escape... we have to make a movie out of that escape, Mr. Chairman."