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AFP reaffirms commitment to IHL


CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines reaffirmed its commitment to the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) as the country celebrates IHL Day on August 12, 2020.

A series of activities were also prepared to advance the understanding of key AFP personnel and stakeholders of the principles of IHL.

"We will continue to carry out our duties and responsibilities to protect our citizens caught in the middle of armed conflicts and assure total respect to their human rights as stipulated in the International Humanitarian Law," AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay said in a statement.

The Executive Order No. 134, s. 1999 declares every 12th day of August IHL Day to enhance the understanding of and enforce the adherence of public officials and law enforcement agencies to the principles of IHL.

The Philippines is party to the Four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and accepts direct responsibility for the application of IHL.

"We likewise echo this year's theme, 'Preserving Human Dignity in Times of Armed Conflict: A Shared Human Responsibility' and pledge our support both as soldiers and citizens of this democratic country to this end," Lt. Gen. Gapay added.

As part of the month-long celebration, the AFP lined up a series of activities aimed at enhancing the understanding of the principles of IHL of its officers, enlisted personnel, and civilian employees.

This includes a webinar on IHL and a talk show with regional commanders and the Chief of the AFP Human Rights Office.

Likewise, the AFP will also host a symposium with the National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine National Police, state prosecutors, and members of the media.

Last month, the AFP also signed a Terms of Reference detailing high-level talks with the International Committee on the Red Cross in the Philippines aimed at discussing and providing courses of action on IHL issues.

This was signed by Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations Major General Benedict Arevalo and ICRC Manila Head of Delegation Boris Michel.

Our efforts to inculcate the values enshrined in the Geneva Conventions and the Republic Act 9851 will continue to dictate our focused military operations and ensure our full adherence to the principles of IHL and rule of law.”

"Our efforts to inculcate the values enshrined in the Geneva Conventions and the Republic Act 9851 will continue to dictate our focused military operations and ensure our full adherence to the principles of IHL and rule of law," Lt. Gen. Gapay added.

Meanwhile, the AFP condemned the communist terrorist group for its continued atrocities against civilians and non-combatants.

The AFP has recorded a total of 104 IHL and human rights violations committed by CTGs from January to June this year including the use of improvised explosive devices, recruitment of minors, attack of humanitarian activity, and attack of schools and civilians and their property.

"We join every Filipino in their call for just and lasting peace, an end to decades-old violence, and the complete victory against the New People's Army and its front organizations that continue to exploit and put the lives of innocent people at risk," Lt. Gen. Gapay added.

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Civil Relations Service, AFP

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