Navy Captain Luzviminda Camacho. File Photo.
Camacho is also first woman contingent commander of a UN peacekeeping force
MANILA - Navy Captain Luzviminda Camacho, the first Filipino woman to ever lead a United Nations peacekeeping contingent, has successfully brought home her 156-strong peacekeeping force from Haiti.
Camacho is not only the first Filipina contingent commander. She is also the first woman to become contingent commander in the history of the UN peacekeeping force.
In a ceremony at the general headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Camacho and the rest of the 17th AFP contingent to Haiti were welcomed by Navy Flag Officer-in-command Vice Admiral Jesus Millan and AFP Chief of Staff General Gregorio Catapang Jr.
Millan commended the troops for displaying the Filipino brand of service.
Catapang, meanwhile, lauded Camacho's leadership, saying it is an indication that the AFP looks only at soldiers' merits, and not their gender.
Of the 156 peacekeepers she commanded, only 10 are female.
The media asked Camacho how hard it was to rein in 146 men, soldiers at that. With a smile, Camacho said, "Hindi nila ako pinapahirapan, kasi alam nilang ‘pag ginawa nila ‘yon, ako ang magpapahirap sa kanila."
This is not the first time Camacho has broken ground for women in military service.
She is also the first Filipina to ever become a commanding officer of a warship. Camacho has captained four Philippine Navy vessels: the BRP Magat Salamat (Patrol Ship 20), BRP Iloilo (Patrol Ship 32), BRP Teotimo Figuracion (Patrol Gunboat 389), and BRP Manuel Gomez (Patrol Gunboat 388).
Asked what style of leadership she has, Camacho said it is a mix of acting as the troop’s mother and commander.
"Nanay din ako," she said. "Inilatag ko na sa kanila ang mga dos and don’ts ko, maaga pa lang."