Diplomatic Adviser for RP Timor General

Article excerpt

The government plans to appoint a diplomatic adviser to the Filipino head of the United Nations peacekeeping force in East Timor to help him deal with political and other non-military problems that may arise in the conduct of his duty, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.

George Reyes, DFA spokesman, said the diplomatic adviser, who has yet to be named, will help Lt. Gen. Jaime de los Santos, recently appointed head of the UN peacekeeping mission in East Timor.

De los Santos is the highest Philippine military official among more than 500 Filipino soldiers deployed in East Timor to join the Australian-led multinational peacekeeping force sent to the strife-torn island.

Reyes said the decision to name a diplomatic adviser to De los Santos was reached after the government realized the need for "someone who can provide inputs" to the commanding general of the UN peacekeeping force and "who knows the nuances and sensibilities" of the peacekeeping mission.

Reyes said the Philippine presence in East Timor has a direct relationship to the key role that the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plays in restoring peace and order in the former Indonesian province.

Several countries, including the Philippines, sent r soldiers to East Timorlst in October last October to participate in the UN peacekeeping mission, following the outbreak of violence on the island immediately after a referendum was held on the future of the province.

The vote resulted in the majority of East Timorese favoring independence from Indonesia, which was opposed by pro-Indonesian militia groups who were behind much of the violence that erupted.

The UN mission in East Timor is expected to remain there for at least one more year or until its citizens are equipped with the means and are ready to govern themselves.

Independence for East Timor was assured after the Indonesian Parliament voted to ratify the results of the September referendum in which 85 percent of East Timorese voted for separation from Jakarta.

Follow strictly rules on bidding, Lim orders

In response to the instruction of President Estrada to cleanse all government agencies of graft and corruption, Interior and Local Government Secretary Alfredo S. Lim yesterday directed all attached agencies of his Department to strictly follow the laws on public bidding of contracts.

In a circular, the first he issued since assuming office last Monday, to heads of the National Police Commission, the Philippine Public Safety College, the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the Local Government Academy, Secretary Lim said starting immediately, all contracts of construction, procurement of goods, supplies, and services entered into or renewed shall be in accordance with PD 1594 and Executive Order No. …