Practice Relating to Rule 15. The Principle of Precautions in Attack
Section B. Avoidance or minimization of incidental damage
The Joint Circular on Adherence to IHL and Human Rights (1991) of the Philippines states:
Actions during security/police operations will be guided by these rules [of behavior for soldiers/police during security/police operations] in order … to reduce the destruction that may be inflicted against lives and properties … Members of the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and PNP [Philippine National Police] shall exercise the utmost restraint and caution in the use of armed force to implement policies … Members of the AFP and PNP shall inhibit themselves from unnecessary military/police actions that could cause destruction to private and public properties.
The Philippines’ AFP Standing Rules of Engagement (2005) states:
8. General Rules for the Correct Use of Force towards Mission Accomplishment
c. When a military operation is approved, it will be conducted to ensure that incidental injury to civilians and collateral damage to non-military objects are minimized.
h. The engagement of any target that meets the definition of high collateral damage requires NCA [National Command Authority] approval. This does not apply to immediate target engagement under the inherent right of self-defense.
i. Commanders of UCs [Unified Commands] and major component commanders may conduct offensive operations against the following high collateral damage time-sensitive situations/targets:
2) Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) munitions depot such as artillery shells, rockets, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
3) Any Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIEDs).
Cutting edge units must be able to defeat the armed threats in combat and yet avoid collateral damage. In this regard, we must improve on their mobility, firepower and accuracy, communication, survivability and ability to detect the armed groups.
The Philippines’ General Order No. 7 (2007) states:
Now, Therefore, I, Gloria M. Arroyo, President of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces of the Philippines, by the powers vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the land, do hereby order:
1. Keep Basilan and Sulu operations firmly controlled to minimize civilian casualties, with NDCC [National Disaster Coordinating Council] help in evacuating them.