|United Nations Medals Awarded to 6th Philippine Contingent to UNDOF|
23 March 2013 Tel Aviv, Israel – Rain and strong winds could not dampen the spirits of the 6th Philippine Contingent to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on Saturday, 23 March 2013, as they conducted their Medal Parade at Camp Ziouani in the Golan Heights. The Parade, which coincided with Philippine celebrations for the 116th Founding Anniversary of the Philippine Army, was attended by representatives from the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv, members of UNDOF's Austrian and Indian contingents, and members of the Filipino community in Israel.
The audience stood witness as the 6th Philippine Contingent received UNDOF Medals for their service in the Mission. Guest of Honor Major General Iqbal Singh Singha, Force Commander of UNDOF, was joined by H.E. Generoso D.G. Calonge, Philippine Ambassador to Israel, and Lt. Col. Nolie Anquillano, Commanding Officer of the 6th Philippine Battalion in UNDOF, in pinning the medals of the Filipino soldiers.
The UNDOF medal is awarded to all peacekeepers after ninety (90) days of service in the Mission.
Speaking after the medal-pinning ceremony, Lt. Col. Anquillano congratulated the members of the Philippine Contingent, saying that he was proud of what they had achieved but that they should not rest on their laurels. "The inspiration provided by the UNDOF leadership, the team work with other UNDOF Contingents, and the guidance and support from the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv are all part of our success," Lt. Col. Anquillano stressed.
Ambassador Calonge lauded the Filipino peacekeepers, noting that since the Philippines assumed command from the Polish Battalion in 2009, the Philippine Contingents had served with honor and distinction. "The situation in 1974 is very different from the situation that the region faces today," he noted. "But I am confident that your training and experience from the Philippines has prepared you for the rigors of your duties in UNDOF.... Let your medals be a reminder of the tasks that lie ahead." Ambassador Calonge congratulated the Philippine Army on its 116th Anniversary. Recalling that the Army was founded during the Philippine Revolution, he urged all personnel to keep the revolutionary fervor alive in the performance of their duties.
Maj. General Singha praised the Philippine Contingent for their conduct in the Area of Responsibility. "I am impressed with the professionalism and dedication to the Mission of the Philippine Contingent," he stated. "This medal is well-earned, and is an acknowledgement of your dedication and sacrifices. It is a recognition of the 24/7 demands of the Mission and your long separation from your families back home."
Maj. Gen. Singa repeated his entire speech in Filipino, eliciting cheers and claps from the audience, both civilian and military.
Lt. Col. Anquillano then took the opportunity to present Maj. Gen. Singha and Ambassador Calonge with plaques as tokens of appreciation from the 6th Philippine Contingent.
The Parade was capped with cultural presentations from members of the Philippine Battalion who performed traditional dances from the Cordilleras, Manlalatik, and Tinikling, as well as a demonstration of Filipino Martial Art Pekiti Tirsia Kali. -- END --
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