MANILA - The Philippines is ahead of other countries in terms of involving women in peacekeeping missions, according to an official of the UN agency that monitors ceasefires and oversees armistice agreements.
Major General Kristin Lund of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) said the UN aims to have women make up 15 percent of the total number of peacekeeping personnel, as women play a vital role in maintaining peace.
But with over half of the Philippines’ total deployed peacekeeping troops made up of women, the country already exceeded the UN target, she said.
"The Philippines has always played a vital role when it comes to peacekeeping," Lund said in an interview with ANC's The Boss.
Lund said women played a critical role in peacekeeping missions because women are less confrontational and are better able to talk to victims of conflict, who are mostly women, children and the elderly.
Women, she said, can also gather information that may elude male counterparts.
In their experience in Lebanon, Lund said they observed that female peacekeepers manning checkpoints could check women passing through.
She noted that some women smuggled weapons, ammunition and explosives under their clothes.
Lund however also said the Philippines still had a long way to go to get more women in the military, as only 3 to 4 percent of troops were female.
"We need more of you and we need more women in the military," Lund said in an interview with ANC's The Boss.
Women Filipino peacekeepers have served in UN missions in South Sudan, Darfur, Central African Republic, Haiti, Mali and on the India-Pakistan border.