CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has confirmed the occurrence of 141 incidents of use, stockpiling, transporting and production of Anti-Personnel or Land Mines installed by Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs) to promote their armed struggle against the government since 2010.
The AFP Human Rights Office (AFPHRO) submitted to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for appropriate action, a list of incidents on Thursday, March 4 covering incidents using land mines that killed, maimed, or injured civilians and AFP personnel; These were mostly perpetrated by the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
Colonel Joel Alejandro S Nacnac, Chief of AFPHRO stated that “the CPP-NPA-NDF’s acts of using, stockpiling, transporting and producing land mines is a clear violation of RA 9851 which penalizes as a war crime the employment of means of warfare prohibited under international law, such as weapons, projectiles, materials and methods of warfare that cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering or which are inherently indiscriminate when inflicted on soldiers and civilians.”
“The number of reported incidents from 2010 to date has risen to 141 incidents that resulted in the death of 32 military personnel and 5 civilians, and wounding of 163 soldiers and 24 civilians for a total of 224 casualties. Data collected by our Office from field units provides a factual and verifiable basis for the report,” Col Nacnac added.
The year 2020 has shown to have the highest number of incidents at 68, followed by 24 in 2017 and 20 in 2019. Region 8 has 68 reported casualties followed by Region 2 and CAR, both with 31. Region 5 has the highest number of reported incidents of actual use of APM by the Reds with 19 incidents, followed by Region 8 with 17 and Region 11 with 12.
The report was also submitted by AFPHRO to the Philippine Human Rights Committee (PHRC), International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in the Philippines (ICRC), AO 35 Secretariat and the Office of the United Nations International Organizations of the Department of Foreign Affairs (UNIO-DFA). It will also be submitted to the UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines and the Senior Human Rights Adviser of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) to the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the public may not be aware of a Resolution adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on December 8, 2005 which declared the 4th of April of each year as International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
“The UN resolution called for continued efforts by States, with support from the UN and other concerned organizations, to help establish and develop national mine-action capacities in countries where mines constitute a serious threat to the lives of people. The day aims to raise awareness about landmines and progress toward their eradication. The Mine Awareness Day is a global observance and not a public holiday,” Col Nacnac said.
As part of its mandate, the AFPHRO continues to monitor Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law violations by non-State armed groups such as the CPP-NPA-NDF including the use of APM or land mines that has maimed or permanently injured soldiers and civilians.
“With the assistance and support of the Commission on Human Rights, we may be able to put a stop to the CPP-NPA-NDF’s criminal acts. The AFP, through the Human Rights Office, will continuously coordinate with the appropriate agencies in this whole-of-nation approach towards just and lasting peace,” said Col Nacnac.
from AFP Human Rights Office