CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday led the military in joining the national celebration of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Month.

“The rules of IHL should always be paramount in our service, as this defines us as a professional armed force,” said Lieutenant General Jose Faustino Jr.

The AFP opened the activities lined up for the IHL Month celebration through a virtual ceremony facilitated by the AFP Center for Law of Armed Conflict (AFPCLOAC).

This year’s theme is “Upholding the Law of Armed Conflict amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic: Protecting Humanity for Healing and Recovery”.

AFPCLOAC Director Brigadier Jose Alejandro Nacnac presided over the activity that was highlighted by the recitation of the Pledge of Commitment to IHL by Human Rights Officers and personnel of the AFP.

He represented Lieutenant General Faustino who assured AFP members that policies are now in place to strengthen the enforcement of the IHL within the organization.

“I have issued letter directives, such as the proactive enforcement of Republic Act 9851, which is the law penalizing war crimes and violations of IHL, Genocide and Crimes against Humanity,” he conveyed.

Another letter directive was issued by the Chief of Staff prescribing guidelines on the filing of IHL and criminal cases against non-state armed groups especially the communist terrorist groups and lawless terror groups.

Also issued was a directive on the monitoring and reporting of cases, as the AFP’s contribution in the effective prosecution of violators of IHL and perpetrators of atrocities.

“We shall forever remain steadfast to our ideals and values as a Filipino soldier and as the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” General Faustino said.

Annually since 1999, the Department of National Defense and Department of Foreign Affairs co-chair a government inter-agency ad hoc committee of which the AFP is a member, to formulate and implement activities for the IHL Day on August 12 and the whole month of August as IHL Month.

Among other activities are the Workshop on the AFP Handling Protocol on Children in Situations of Armed Conflict on August 3, Recitation of Pledge of Commitment to IHL on August 12, and IHL Webinar on August 27.///