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3 Pinoy UN staff members who died in line of duty honored by UN

The United Nations honored this month three Filipino UN staff members who lost their lives in the line of duty. 

Those honored were Joanna Abaya who worked for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Dr. Ronald Santos of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), and Maria Luisa Almirol Castillo who was with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday.

They were honored on May 6 by UN Secretary General António Guterres during the memorial service held online from the UN Headquarters in New York.

Abaya, Santos and Castillo were among the 336 UN personnel from 82 UN Member States, including civilian, military and police,  who died in the line of duty in the service of peace or in COVID-19 related circumstances last year. This was the highest number of UN staff fatalities recorded in UN history, Guterres said. Their names were read one by one during the online service.

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

“Our fallen colleagues will be more than ever united in our hearts and we offer our love and prayers to their families and friends,” UN Under-Secretary General Atul Khare of the UN Department of Operational Support said.

Permanent Representative of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations Ambassador Enrique Manalo also honored the three Filipino UN staff members for their service.

“The Philippines is grateful for the remarkable work of these Filipinos in the United Nations and for their sacrifices. Their legacy and dedication will serve as an inspiration for all of us,” he said. —KG, GMA News

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