Practice Relating to Rule 129. The Act of Displacement
The Philippines’ Military Instructions (1989) states that emphasis should be placed on allowing the civilian population to remain in their homes, on the basis that the large-scale movement of civilians creates logistical and strategic difficulties for the military.
Under the War Crimes Trial Executive Order (1947) of the Philippines, applicable to acts committed during the Second World War, “violations of the laws or customs of war … [such as] deportation to slave labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory” are war crimes.
The Executive Order adds that “deportation [of] … civilian populations before or during the [Second World War] … whether or not in violation of the local laws” constitutes a war crime.
The Philippines’ Republic Act No. 8371 (1997) on indigenous cultural communities and indigenous people states:
Rights during Armed Conflict.
- ICCs/IPs [Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous People] have the right to special protection and security in periods of armed conflict. The State shall observe international standards, in particular, the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, for the protection of civilian populations in circumstances of emergency and armed conflict, and shall not recruit members of the ICCs/IPs against their will into armed forces, and in particular, for the use against other ICCs/IPs; not recruit children of ICCs/IPs into the armed forces under any circumstance; nor force indigenous individuals to abandon their lands, territories and means of subsistence, or relocate them in special centers for military purposes under any discriminatory condition.
In practice, the forced displacement of civilians during military operations in the Philippines has been widely reported.
The Military Directive to Commanders (1988) of the Philippines provides: “Emphasis should be placed on shelter or stay-put policy rather than on evacuation … Official orders to move large groups of civilians normally will be given where serious combat action is expected to occur between troops and hostile forces.”
The Philippines’ AFP Standing Rules of Engagement (2005) states:
8. General Rules for the Correct Use of Force towards Mission Accomplishment
d. Commanders must be aware of, and sensitive to, the points stated in the definition of strategic implications of tactical operations. In particular, military operations shall be conducted in a manner that shall entail:
2) Minimum evacuation from homes and/or areas of food production.