Philippine Officials Conduct Assessment Mission at UNDOF

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2 July 2014 Tel Aviv, State of Israel. Officials from the National Council for United Nations Peace Operations (NCUNPO) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) arrived in Israel on 25 June 2014 to assess the current security situation of the 7th Philippine Contingent to the Golan Heights (PCGH), UNDOF until 1 July 2014. The mission consisted of two teams, namely, the AFP team led by Major General Oscar T. Lactao and NCUNPO team headed by Commodore Rafael G. Mariano and which included officials from the Office of the President, Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York and Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila.

During their visit, the assessment teams met with UNDOF Force Commander Lieutenant General Iqbal Singh Singha and top officials from the Armed Forces, Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministries of Israel and Syria to discuss pressing security concerns. They also took the opportunity to speak with the members of the 7th PCGH. It may be noted that one of the main objectives of the mission is to assess the current situation of the Filipino peacekeepers in the region, as well as to help guarantee the troops' security during their tour of duty at UNDOF.

The delegation also met with the leadership of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), the oldest peacekeeping body in the United Nations. UNTSO maintains observation posts manned by officers of troop-contributing countries in various parts of the Middle East.

Since 2009 and following the withdrawal of the Polish Contingent, the Philippines has been deploying hundreds of peacekeepers to UNDOF, making the country one of the biggest contributors to the mission in terms of military personnel. As the Philippines maintains its peace advocacy in the region, it has also considered the security and safety of its troops as a top priority. --END--

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