Philippines: UN ruling on Gaza ceasefire long overdue

THE RECENTLY adopted United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire and the release of hostages in Gaza was “long overdue,” the Philippine Foreign Affairs Department (DFA) said on Tuesday, citing the need to keep civilians safe from the war.

“The humanitarian crisis demands swift and unified action from the international community,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique A. Manalo said in an X post.

“The prompt implementation of the measures contained in the resolution will urgently relieve the suffering of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire and bring forth prospects for lasting peace,” he added.

The Security Council on Monday passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan, the unconditional release of hostages and “the urgent need to expand the flow” of aid into Gaza. There were 14 votes in favor, with the United States abstaining.

The council rejected a Russia-proposed amendment that would have called for a permanent ceasefire.

The US ambassador said her delegation “fully supports” the critical objectives of the draft resolution, while Algeria’s ambassador said the ceasefire would end “the bloodbath.”

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled meetings between an Israeli delegation and US officials this week after the abstention.

In a statement, he said the resolution “hurts both the war effort and effort to release the abductees.”

The Hamas militant group said it was ready to negotiate for the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

Israel launched a barrage of airstrikes in Gaza after Hamas militants backed by waves of rockets stormed from the blockaded Gaza Strip into nearby Israeli towns on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 Israelis.

Gaza’s Health ministry has said more than 30,000 Palestinians have died in the war. At least four Filipinos died.

In December, the Philippines joined 152 countries in favoring a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, including the unconditional release of all hostages.

The country in October abstained from a resolution that called for a humanitarian truce in Gaza. It joined 144 nations a month later in favoring a general assembly resolution condemning Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem and Syrian Gowan. — John Victor D. Ordoñez