Filipino UN staffers who perished in the line of duty honored

Ambassador Enrique Manalo, Permanent Representative of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations: ‘An inspiration for all of us.’

Three Philippine UN Staff Members who lost their lives while in the line of duty were among those honored by the United Nations Secretary-General during the Annual Memorial Service held virtually at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on May 6.

The three UN staff members honored were Joanna Abaya, who served at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Dr. Ronald Santos, at the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI); and Maria Luisa Almirol Castillo, at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

UN Secretary-General António Guterres reported that 336 UN personnel from 82 UN Member States, including civilian, military and police, paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of peace or in COVID-19 related circumstances in 2020, the highest number of UN personnel fatalities recorded in UN history.

“Those dear colleagues were a reflection of the diversity and richness of experience of the United Nations,” he said.

Australian-American violinist Adele Anthony graced the solemn commemoration by playing sonatas by Bach.

Under-Secretary-General Atul Khare of the UN Department of Operational Support (DOS) also stated that the live event provided an opportunity for families and colleagues, around the world, to gather and remember their loved ones. “Our fallen colleagues will be more than ever united in our hearts and we offer our love and prayers to their families and friends,” he said.

Attending the event virtually, Ambassador Enrique Manalo, Permanent Representative of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations, said “the Philippines is grateful for the remarkable work of these Filipinos in the United Nations and for their sacrifices.” He said “their legacy and dedication will serve as an inspiration for all of us.”

The names of the late Filipino staff members alongside their 333 colleagues were read one-by-one by UN staff members, Marie-Angle Diègue and Alessandro Susini. USG Khare hosted the memorial event while Australian-American violinist Ms. Adele Anthony graced the solemn commemoration by playing a select solo violin sonatas by Mr. Johann Sebastian Bach.

At least 657 Filipinos, inclusive of officers and uniformed personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), are currently serving in the United Nations both in the headquarters and the field. — Philippine Mission to the United Nations

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