By Priam F. Nepomuceno
MANILA, July 7 (PNA) — The Air Force formally deployed the 19th Philippine Contingent to Haiti (19th PCH) Tuesday morning.
The 135-strong all Philippine Air Force (PAF) contingent formally bid farewell to their loved ones and families at Villamor Air Base, Pasay City at 10 a.m.
The send-off ceremonies were presided by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deputy chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. John Bonafos.
The 19th PCH departed for Haiti via a UN-chartered Ethiopian Airline at around 2:30 p.m.
The group includes a doctor, two nurses and 13 female soldiers led by Col. Vincent Incognito.
The batch was supposed to be deployed to Liberia last year but was cancelled due to Ebola cases in that region.
They will replace the Philippine Navy contingent which is scheduled to return to the country on July 14.
AFP Peacekeeping Operations Center (PKOC) Col. Roberto Ancan said the 19th PCH will act as Force Headquarters Support Unit that performs clerical, VIP security and conducts Civil Military coordination activities at Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Filipino peacekeepers will join the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.
UN peacekeepers are selected from among AFP soldiers that are trained with peacekeeping related courses who further undergo a three-month refresher course at the PKOC prior to their deployment.
Peacekeeping operation is the AFP’s commitment to the United Nations in the advocacy for international peace and solidarity, delivery of humanitarian relief, alleviation of human suffering due to conflict, respect to rule of law, protection of human rights, women and children and participation in conflict mitigation.(PNA)