AN initial batch of 250 Filipino soldiers deployed as peace-keepers in the troubled Golan Heights arrived in the country on Friday evening at Villamor Air Force Base in Pasay City, two weeks ahead of their original homecoming schedule.
The second batch of composed of 85 Filipino peacekeepers are due to arrive today, a few weeks after the soldiers engaged Syrian rebels who want to take over their posts, in a fierce standoff and subsequent firefight.
The Filipino troops’ decision to defy the order of United Nations Disengagement Ob-server Force (UNDOF) Com-mander Lieutenant General Iqbal Sing Singha, to surrender their weapons and raise a white flag generated controversy in the UN circles.
They were however hailed as heroes back home, as AFP Chief Lieutenant General Gregorio P. Catapang hailed their caper as the “greatest escape”.
It was gathered that Catapang was also planning for a motorcade for the soldiers who stood their ground for more than 72 hours.
Three Syrian rebels were reportedly killed by Filipino peacekeepers during the standoff and subsequent firefight.