PH eyes to increase peacekeeping forces ahead of UN Security Council bid

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 29 2023 07:41 PM

A Security Council Open Debate on the security and dignity of civilians in conflict is held at the UN headquarters in New York, USA, 23 May 2023. Alessandro della Valle, EPA-EFE
A Security Council Open Debate on the security and dignity of civilians in conflict is held at the UN headquarters in New York, USA, 23 May 2023. Alessandro della Valle, EPA-EFE

MANILA — The Philippines seeks to “double or triple” the number of peacekeeping forces it has deployed to different missions, an official from the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Monday, shortly before confirming that the country has begun campaigning for a seat in the United Nations (UN) Security Council.

As of March 2023, the number of Filipinos in the UN Peacekeeping force is only at 28, according to data from the UN.

“Right now we’re opening a new chapter,” DFA Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega told reporters on the sidelines of the Commemoration of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers here.

“We want to increase it to the same level as before. I would say double or triple [the current number],” he said.

The Philippines has sent about 15,000 personnel to different UN Peacekeeping missions since 1963, but the number has dwindled in the past 10 years due to various issues, de Vega said.

“There were some safety issues like in the Golan Heights naging issues yan… Some peacekeepers also, in Haiti for example, were accused of violating the rights of citizens. It always happens,” he said.

“Under President Aquino, because of the constant issues they face over the budget, sometimes yung treatment sa ating mga peacekeepers, it was felt that we should take a low profile, but now we want to revitalize it again,” he said.

Under the United Nations charter, each Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share towards peacekeeping. The UN General Assembly then provides a budget for various programs including its Peacekeeping missions based on a formula established among the organization’s members.

“This formula takes into account, among other things, the relative economic wealth of Member States, with the five permanent members of the Security Council required to pay a larger share because of their special responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security,” the UN Peacekeeping’s website read.

Between 2021 and 2022, the UN Peacekeeping operations had a budget of $6.38 billion, with the United States shouldering more than a quarter of the fund.

The Philippines’ Department of National Defense (DND) said it remains “committed to provide training and support… to guarantee their safety and security as they carry out their mission to serve.”

“We stand ready to contribute to the organization,” DND Undersecretary Angelito De Leon said in his speech at a UN event in Pasay City.

“We will continue to cooperate with our partners to continue peacekeeping operations, enhance training programs,” he said.

“This is a reminder of our shared responsibility to create a more peaceful world for all of us,” he added.

Meantime, the DFA said the Philippines has begun “campaigning” to get one of the seats in the UN Security Council for the year 2027-2028.

“We have already presented a candidature and we have in fact started to campaign,” de Vega said, without bearing details of how the Southeast Asian nation is wooing other UN members for votes.

Being a member of the UN Security Council after over 2 decades is “very important for the Philippines,” according to de Vega.

“We’ll be able to engage in the most important dialogues and debates and vote in important issues,” he said.

“We have interests in the rule of law and international law, maintaining peace and stability,” de Vega added.

“We have millions of Filipinos overseas and we need the world to continue living and aspiring for goals for which the UN was created,” the DFA official said.

The primary responsibility of the UN Security Council, composed of 15 members, is to maintain international peace and security.

The council's five permanent members are China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Current temporary members are Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Norway, and the United Arab Emirates.

The last time the Philippines assumed one of the elected seats in the Security Council was for the term 2004-2005.

In 2022 speech before the UN General Assembly, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. urged other nations to support the Philippines’ bid to once again enter the Security Council by citing the "success" of Manila's peace treaty in the southern Bangsamoro region in the Philippines to promote the country's candidacy.


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