Military identifies captured Filipino peacekeepers
MANILA - The Philippine military on Friday said it has identified all 21 members of a UN Peacekeeping Force who were reportedly held by Syrian rebels along the Golan Heights last Wednesday.
However, authorities refused to release the names of the Filipinos out of consideration for their families.
Philippine Army spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang also confirmed that videos posted online are those of the Filipino captives.
Cabangbang said that the videos validate earlier information that the soldiers were in good health and were being treated well.
"Di naman grabe ang sitwsasyon. It appears that they were held at a checkpoint, pero binigya sila ng matitirhan at ng pagkain," he said.
The Armed Forces said it has received information directly from the negotiators of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).
Spokesperson Lt. Col. Arnulfo Burgos said they are optimistic that the soldiers will be released soon.
"Noong una meron pang set of demands yung mga rebelde, pero ngayon ang sinasabi nalang nila yung removal ng military assets at troops sa isang particular na area. Sinabi na rin nila na kung irerelease nila yung mga sundalo, gusto nila sa (International Committee of the Red Cross)," he said.
Burgos also reiterated that the UN peacekeepers, who were allegedly completing a logistical mission, were neutral and unarmed.