DFA Update: Task Force Lebanon monitors UN Resolution on ceasefire

12 August 2006 – The Department of Foreign Affairs announced that Task Force Lebanon has further stepped up the efforts to repatriate all Filipinos in Lebanon as it takes advantage of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution No. 1701 calling for a “full cessation of hostilities” in Lebanon.

The UN Security Council, at its 5511th Meeting (Night) on 11 August 2006, unanimously adopted Resolution 1701 (2006) which states, among other provisions,… “Determining that the situation in Lebanon constitutes a threat to international peace and security, Calls for a full cessation of hostilities based upon, in particular, the immediate cessation by Hizbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations;…”

UNSC Resolution 1701 also maps out a formula for the phased withdrawal of the Israel Defence Forces from southern Lebanon, while up to 15,000 United Nations peacekeepers help Lebanese troops take control of the area.

With the adoption of UNSC Resolution 1701, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban B. Conejos, Jr., by authority of Task Force Lebanon, directed the Philippine Embassy in Lebanon, through Ambassador Al Francis D.C. Bichara; Team Syria headed by Undersecretary for Special Concerns Rafael E. Seguis and the Philippine Middle East Preparedness Committee (PMEPC) headed by Ambassador Roy Cimatu, who is now in the Philippine Embassy in Lebanon, to undertake the following:

1. Immediately dispatch a Team to search for, and evacuate any Filipino who may have been left behind in Tyre, Sidon and other parts of Southern Lebanon;

2. With the ceasefire as a new window of opportunity for Task Force Lebanon, redouble and intensify efforts to implement the 2 August 2006 order of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to evacuate all Filipinos in Lebanon; and

3. Monitor the implementation of the ceasefire on the ground.

Undersecretary Conejos advised the Philippine Embassy in Lebanon, Team Syria and the PMEPC that “the evacuation shall continue until further orders from Task Force Lebanon,” which is headed by Vice President Noli de Castro.

Author: Susan Ople

Susan "Toots" Ople is the President of the Blas F. Ople Policy and Training Institute. She's an OFW and labor advocate based in the Philippines.

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