"Before I joined the UNV programme, I was a Senior Air Traffic Controller in my country, the Philippines, specialising as an En-route Radar Controller for 10 years.
I joined the programme because I wanted to widen my experience, not only in my country, but also abroad. I was hesitant at first, since most of the assignments are in remote locations, but was encouraged by a former colleague, also a UNV volunteer, and supported by my family."
Air Operations Assistant, Axel Alan Tongco, is an Aeronautical Engineer with a major in Aircraft Design, and a qualified pilot for commercial flights.Aside from his chosen profession Axel does wedding and portrait photography and is also a computer programmer.
"My background in aviation operations and safety helps me in the current assignment. My responsibilities include: planning the daily air tasks for UNMIS in Sector I; reporting on flight hours; briefing air crews before and after the flights; providing meteorological services for aviation safety; flight following; and sometimes ground marshalling, to mention just a few."
"Axel is a breath of fresh air in our team" says Archibald Mac Niven the officer in charge of UNMIS Aviation in Sector I. "Thanks to his computer programming skills our information is now properly kept in databases. He also drafted a proposal for Standard Operating Procedures for Flight Following in Southern Sudan and designed the Helicopter Route Procedure for UNMIS in Juba. Axel also puts a lot of effort into training the local staff in aviation safety and operations standards."
"Aviation is vital" concludes Axel "UNMIS could not fulfil its mandate without flights. Moreover, UNV volunteers have a unique role in this mission, doing credible work and contributing specialised skills and knowledge, to complement the work of national professionals or international UN staff. I like to think we are the front-runners in UNMIS."