Filipino soldiers fresh from their peacekeeping mission in the Golan Heights will help protect Pope Francis when he visits the Philippines in January next year.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) assigned two dedicated battalion-sized units to tighten the security for the Pope.
AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapan g on Sunday deployed the 7th and 8th AFP Contingents to the Golan Heights to form part of the papal security cordon.
“The AFP is committing these two battalions to support the Philippine National Police in securing the papal visit,” Catapang said.
The soldiers will be under the operational control of the PNP, which is in charge of the overall security for the pontiff’s four-day visit to the country.
Catapang expressed belief that the peacekeepers’ exposure and experience in Syria will be put to better use in the security preparations for Francis’ visit.
Before returning home, the Filipinos clashed with al Qaeda-affiliated Syrian rebels when the latter attempted to take the peacekeepers’ position on the Syrian side of Golan Heights.
Pope Francis will be in the Philippines from January 15 to 19, 2015, to meet victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas.