Army troops ordered to carry ‘rules of engagement’ during combat
MANILA, Philippines — Army troops have been required to carry at all times a copy of the rules of engagement (ROE) in military operations.
At least seven rules, written on cards, provide the supposed “appropriate response” of soldiers in self-defense and in case of hostile or imminent attack, with the reminder to avoid “incidental injury or death of civilians and unintended damage to civilian objects.”
The top of the card carried the reminder, “Nothing in this ROE limits your right to take action to defend yourself and your unit.”
The Army commanding general, Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, ordered theissuance of two ID-sized laminated ROE cards to each of the tens of thousands of soldiers in the field and even those in the headquarters.
One card carried the rules in English and the other card carried a Filipino translation.
The soldiers were supposed to attach the ROE cards to their office IDs if they are in the headquarters or wear them together with their “dog tags” or place them in their wallets if they are in the field.
Bautista said the reminder about the rules of engagement was part of the new counter-insurgency campaign Bayanihan which the Armed Forces of the Philippines formally implemented starting January 1, 2011.
“The ROE provide those who give political direction to military operations with a degree of confidence that the actions of military personnel are conducted within a legally defensible framework. They provide commanders and personnel with a clearly delineated set of responsibilities and operational constraints,” Bautista said.
Bautista issued ROE cards to his men in 2011 when he was then the commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division based in Panay island.
He was appointed commanding general of the nearly 80,000-strong Army last November, succeeding retired Lieutenant General Arturo Ortiz.
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