48 Pinoy peacekeepers honored for contributions to UN missions
The Department of National Defense on Monday awarded 48 Filipino peacekeepers for their contributions to various United Nations peacekeeping missions in the past year.
Of the 48 awardees, 30 were soldiers, 17 were policemen and one was an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). They had served in the Golan Heights, India, Pakistan and Haiti.
"People rightly tremble at the approach of war, but there are men and women who rather than fleeing danger, stand in the breach left by the crumbling society, not to fight but to keep civilians safe from the crossfire. These men and women are our UN peacekeepers," said Defense Undersecretary Natalio Ecarma III in the awarding ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo.
The highest award, the Dag Hammarskjold Medal in the Service of Peace, was given posthumously to the late Capt. Aurelio Kigis, a member of the Philippine peacekeeping contingent in Golan Heights who drowned on July 9, 2014, in Israeli waters.
The awarding was in celebration of International Day of UN Peacekeepers.
Praveen Agrawal—ad interim UN resident coordinator in the Philippines who described the country as "one of UN's most reliable partners in helping to keep the peace in many places in the world"—said this year’s celebration was also in commemoration of those who died in UN missions.
"As the size, complexity and the accomplishments of peacekeepers have grown, unfortunately so have the risks," he said. "Before the millenium, about three dozen peacekeepers lost their lives each year."
There are 175 Filipino soldiers and policemen currently deployed to four UN peacekeeping missions. —KBK, GMA News