December 14, 2023
MANILA – The Philippines has voted in favor of a United Nations (UN) resolution demanding an urgent humanitarian ceasefire and unconditional release of all hostages in Gaza.
The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday afternoon met in an emergency special session to deliberate upon a pivotal measure that specifically demands the following:
- Immediate humanitarian ceasefire [between Israel and Hamas]
- Compliance of all parties with their obligations under international law
- Unconditional release of all hostages, as well as ensuring humanitarian access [in Gaza]
Member states later adopted the measure with 153 votes in favor, 10 against, and 23 abstentions. Among those who voted in favor of the resolution is the Philippines.
Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the UN Antonio Lagdameo, during the emergency special session, said while the Philippines condemns the October 7 attacks perpetrated by Hamas, the country believes it is vital to adhere to international humanitarian law, especially the principles of proportionality and distinction in response to security threats.
“It is imperative that any military action considers the impact on civilians and strives to minimize, if not eliminate, collateral damage,” said Lagdameo.
“We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The Philippines believes strongly that the humanitarian ceasefire is crucial to halt the loss of life and suffering. This ceasefire is a necessary step to facilitate the delivery of urgent humanitarian aid to all affected civilians,” he added.
Lagdameo called on all parties to comply with their obligations under international law, particularly regarding the protection of civilians, especially women and children.
“Finally, the Philippines seeks to contribute to a solution that respects the rights and needs of both Palestinian and Israeli civilians. We advocate for a peaceful resolution that upholds international law and leads to lasting peace and security in the region,” he added.
The Department of Foreign Affairs, on the other hand, has yet to detail what prompted the change in the country’s vote.
In October, the Philippines abstained from voting on a UN Resolution calling for an Israel-Hamas “humanitarian truce.”
The DFA previously said the country would have voted in favor of the measure had it mentioned and condemned the October 7 Hamas attack.