CAMP AGUINALDO, QUEZON CITY—The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), sent off the 115-strong contingent to Liberia today at the Philippine Air Force Hangar in Clark Air Base, Pampanga. This Philippine Contingent is part of the on-going peacekeeping mission conducted by the United Nations for 9 years now.
The Philippine Contingent to Liberia (PCL) is part of the AFP’s commitment to the UN’s global peace and development efforts. This year, the 16th PCL is led by Col Armin Alejaga and is composed of seven officers, one medical staff, and 107 enlisted personnel who have undergone the UN Core Pre-deployment Training.
First Air Division Commander Major General Ricardo Banayat led the send-off ceremony in behalf of PAF Commanding General MGen Lauro Catalino Dela Cruz. In a speech delivered by Banayat, MGen Dela Cruz pressed on the soldiers the value of commitment to their mission.
“Our commitment to this country and to the whole world stands on firm foundation and will never favor those who think they can use UN deployments for their self-serving gains,” Dela Cruz said.
He also said that the soldiers should not use UN deployments as means to further personal ambitions. “We owe so much to the nation and it is only fitting that all of you will be embodiments of men and women who prioritizes the honor and pride of our country above any other interest,” he added
The send-off program also featured the closing ceremony of the pre-deployment training that was facilitated by the Peacekeeping Operations School under the AFP Peacekeeping Operations Center headed by Col Abraham Claro C Casis.
The Philippine Contingent to Liberia is in accordance with the UN Resolution 1509 drafted in September 2003 that established the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) that is tasked to assist in the maintenance of law and order in the country following a ceasefire that ended the Second Liberian Civil War.
Meanwhile, AFP Chief of Staff LtGen Jessie D Dellosa expressed his appreciation to the soldiers who will be “away from their homeland and their families in order to fulfill their duty of maintaining peace in a foreign land.”
“I hope that they will accomplish this noble mission of safeguarding another country’s democratic institutions with the same dedication they have in safeguarding ours. I am very confident that they will perform their utmost best just like what the other contingents did in our previous deployments,” Dellosa added.
The 15th contingent that left in March last year is set to arrive in the country on January 28.