4 Filipino UN Peacekeepers were again in less than 2 months abducted by US-Israeli backed Syrian rebels in Golan Heights on May 7, 2013. The Philippine government with the United Nations have release separate condemnation on the act. The rebels abducted 21 Filipino UN Peacekeepers early March this year. (thesantosrepublic.com)

May 9, 2013 (TSR) – The Philippine Government condemns in the strongest possible terms the abduction of four Filipino peacekeepers under the United Nations (UN) Command in the Golan Heights and calls on all parties concerned to effect the immediate and safe release of the Filipino UN peacekeepers.

The Philippines underscores that the apprehension and illegal detention of peacekeepers are gross violations of international law.

According to the DFA, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario had a phone conversation with the undersecretary of the UN department of peacekeeping operations who confirmed that 4 Filipino peacekeepers were abducted by unidentified armed men from Yarmouk Martyrs Brigades at 10:30 am Tuesday.
Del Rosario was further informed that the Filipinos were taken towards the direction of Al Jamlah in the so-called Area of Limitation.
“The secretary asked the UN to secure the safe and immediate release of the Filipinos,” DFA Spokesperson Raul Hernandez said in a press briefing as he disclosed that negotiations are now on going .
He said a team has been tasked to contact the abductors even as heavy fighting was reported in the area where they were abducted.

The official statement continues, “The Filipino peacekeepers operate under the UN flag and accordingly, these Filipinos are international personnel clothed with immunity and mantle of protection similar to diplomatic agents and personnel. These rights are inviolable and their transgression is punishable under international law.”

The Philippines are part of the impartial UNDOF and its mandate to monitor the Disengagement of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria.

“As such, the respect of freedom of movement and safety and security of peacekeepers must be extended to UNDOF peacekeepers – and, indeed, to all UN peacekeeping missions – consistent with commitments and obligations under international law”, the Philippine government stresses.

As it continues to work closely with partners and stakeholders on this matter, the Philippines calls on the Security Council to exert all efforts and use its influence for the early and safe release of the Filipino peacekeepers and ensure that the freedom of movement and safety and security of peacekeepers in all UN peacekeeping missions are observed.

Currently the Philippines has about 343 Filipinos who are members of peacekeeping in Golan and a toal of 742 in 8 ongoing peacekeeping missions all over the world.
This is the second time in less than two months that Filipino UN peacekeepers, which monitors the 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after their 1973 war, were abducted in Golan Heights.
Last March 6, armed elements of the Syrian opposition detained  21 Filipino UN Peacekeepers and were freed from Israeli-facilitated abduction by US-funded Syrian rebels.

The Philippine government realized that the incident “unmasked the real agenda of the Syrian rebels in their quest to seize power in Syria.”

In fact, Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento, senior Philippine administration lawmaker, said the US and the European Union should reconsider providing assistance to the Syrian rebels following their taking hostage the Filipino peacekeepers as this was “pure blackmail by the rebels against the UN”.

He asked why the rebels, who have been getting humanitarian and military assistance from the US and the EU, would hold hostage members of the neutral UN peacekeeping force sent to protect the Syrian people from the onslaught of the Syrian army.

The Syrian rebels refused to cooperate at the time too.
A spokesperson for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), said efforts are under way to secure their release.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the abductions and called for the peacekeepers’ immediate release.
“The secretary-general calls on all parties to respect UNDOF’s freedom of movement and safety and security,” Ban’s spokesperson said.

Calling all fellow Filipinos: Come home

The Philippine Government has brought more than 4,000 Filipinos in Syria to safety since violence broke out in the country in March 2011.

Official data from the Philippine Embassy in Damascus puts the number of repatriated Filipinos at 4,131.

The number includes 120 Filipinos who will be turned over by the Embassy in Damascus to the Philippine Embassy in Beirut today. Forty (40) of them will take a Qatar Airways flight with a stopover in Doha, Qatar while the remaining 80 repatriates will take a flight for Dubai, United Arab Emirates where they will be further divided into two groups for their onward flights to Manila.

The first batch of 40 repatriates are scheduled to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal I today, May 09 at 04:35 p.m. on board Qatar Airways flight QR 646. The rest will arrive at NAIA Terminal I on the same day in groups of 40 via Emirates Airlines flights EK 332 at 03:55 p.m. and EK 334 at 09:55 p.m.

The Philippine Government’s efforts to bring the 3,000 or so remaining Filipinos in Syria are still in full swing as the security situation in the country continues to deteriorate.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) continues to appeal to all Filipinos who are still in Syria to seek immediate repatriation. For assistance they may call the Embassy at 963-11-6132626, +963968955057, +963934957926, +963992264145, +963968953340, or +963958903893.


NOTE: The abduction occurred after yours truly released an incriminating report of the Syrian rebels’ possession of chemical weapons and uncovering the Zionist propaganda.


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