The Filipino peacekeepers in the Golan Heights did the right thing in refusing to surrender their firearms despite orders from their commander, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said on Tuesday.
“I think the situation warranted that they not surrender their only means to defend themselves. A spoken guarantee of safe passage is simply not enough assurance, given that it was their own lives at stake,” Binay said.
“They could also have been taken hostage like their counterparts from Fiji if they surrendered their arms,” he added.
The 40 Filipino peacekeepers disobeyed the order of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) commander Gen. Iqbal Singh Singha to surrender their arms during a standoff with Syrian rebels last week.
“I commend their courage and commitment to keep the peace in the face of extreme danger,” Binay said of the Filipino troops.
“What they did shows that our soldiers can think tactically even under the extreme pressure of heavy fire. That they can think on their feet and make tactical decisions reflects well on their training in the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines),” he added.
The Vice President also thanked the Israeli and Syrian governments for supporting the troops during the siege and expressed hope that the Fijian peacekeepers be released soon.