AFP hails CHR, civil group pact vs. use of landmines

By Priam Nepomuceno / Philippine News Agency

NO TO LANDMINES. CHR chairperson Chito Gascon (center) and PCBL national coordinator Fred Lubang (upper left frame) sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) fostering cooperation against the use of landmines in a virtual ceremony on Thursday (Sept. 9, 2021). The AFP has expressed its support to the measure which provides better collaboration and cooperation between the two organizations and their stakeholders in addressing issues of explosive weapons. (Photo courtesy of PCBL)

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday expressed its support to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL) which aims to address the communist terrorists' use of these deadly weapons.


“The AFP welcomes the agreement between the CHR and the PCBL which manifests the whole-of-nation approach to end local communist armed conflict,” AFP chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. said in a statement.


AFP Center for Law of Armed Conflict director Brig. Gen. Joel Alejandro Nacnac attended the virtual MOU signing on Thursday.


Signatories to the pact were CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon and PCBL national coordinator Fred Lubang.


Under the agreement, all parties shall work on areas of advocacy, technical support, monitoring and reporting, verification missions and policy-making towards banning of landmines.


“This agreement is a step forward in our government's effort to enforce the ban on landmines and make those who are violating this ban accountable for their crimes against humanity," Nacnac said.


The MOU is an offshoot of the AFP’s submission of reports to the CHR on the communist terrorist group (CTG)'s human rights and international humanitarian law violations throughout the years.


It was also due to recent mine-related incidents by the CTGs that led to the death of the collegiate athlete Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven and the injury of civilians.


The MOU will provide better collaboration and cooperation between the two organizations and their stakeholders in addressing issues of explosive weapons.


“The agreement shall create a broader coalition on the whole-of-government’s fight against the CTGs especially highlighting their continuous IHL violations,” Faustino said.


The use of landmines is a violation of the Ottawa Convention or the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty signed by 133 states and adapted by 164 state parties, including the Philippines.


It prohibits the production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of anti-personnel mines which cause serious destruction and indiscriminately harm civilians, including children. The use of landmines is also a violation of Republic Act 9851 which penalizes crimes against the International Humanitarian Law. (PNA)

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