AFP scores Reds’ use of banned land mines
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday submitted to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) “for appropriate action” a list of the 141 incidents since 2010 in which communist rebels reportedly used land mines.
According to Col. Joel Alejandro Nacnac, the AFP-Human Rights Office (HRO) chief, the land mines planted by members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) have resulted in the death of 32 soldiers and five civilians and the wounding of an additional 163 soldiers and 24 civilians.
In 2020, there were 68 such incidents with the highest number of casualties from mine use in a decade reported in Eastern Visayas at 68, he added.
“With the assistance and support of the CHR, we may be able to put a stop to the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front’s criminal acts. The AFP, through the HRO, will continuously coordinate with the appropriate agencies in this whole-of-nation approach toward just and lasting peace,” Nacnac said.
The AFP-HRO chief reported that his office had confirmed the incidents of use, stockpiling, transporting and production of antipersonnel or land mines by the CPP-NPA.
Nacnac said all these were “in clear violation of Republic Act No. 9851, which penalizes as a war crime the employment of means of warfare prohibited under international law.”
According to him, the weapons referred to in the law are those that “cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering or which are inherently indiscriminate when inflicted on soldiers and civilians” such as land mines.
The AFP-HRO also submitted the report to the Philippine Human Rights committee, the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in the Philippines, the Administrative Order No. 35 secretariat, and the office of the United Nations International Organizations of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The report was also forwarded to the UN resident coordinator in the Philippines and the senior human rights adviser of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights to the Philippines.
Nacnac cited a UN General Assembly resolution adopted in 2005 that declared April 4 as International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action to “raise awareness about land mines and progress toward their eradication.”
“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,” he said.
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