A 155-strong peace-keeping contingent will flew to Haiti yesterday from the Villamor Air Base as part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) commitment to the United Nations (UN) Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah).
The all-Navy 15th Philippine Contingent to Haiti (PCH), led by Marine Col. Arthur Biyo, is composed of 12 officers and 143 enlisted personnel, including 10 female-soldiers.
AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa expressed confidence that the 15th PCH will perform well during its peace-keeping mission to the troubled nation.
“Being a UN peacekeeper has its own perks and will provide you with opportunities for self-fulfillment but the expectations on you as representatives of your organization and your country will weigh heavily upon your shoulders,” Dellosa told the soldiers.
“I hope that you will be mindful of your experiences as soldiers adherent to the Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan to get you through the challenges of peacekeeping in a foreign land,” he added.
The 15th PCH, which will be deployed for six to nine months, will replace the also all-Navy 14th PCH that will arrive on March 18. The 14th contingent was the first all-Navy contingent to be deployed in Haiti.
The send-off ceremonies for members of the 15th PCH will coincide with their completion of the UN Core Pre-deployment Training.
The contingent was also oriented on the political, security and economic conditions in Haiti that suffered political unrest over the past decades and a deadly earthquake that claimed 220,000 lives and further decimated the Haitian economy and infrastructure.
It will recalled that in January 2010, the 10th PCH, led by Army Lt. Col. Lope Dagoy, figured prominently in massive rescue operations when an magnitude 7 earthquake struck the Carribbean nation.