Practice Relating to the Prohibition of Certain Types of Landmines
In December 1995, during a state visit to Cambodia, the Philippine president, Fidel V. Ramos, issued a statement expressing the Philippine Government’s support to the international community in opposing landmines and to mine-clearing activities and the destruction of stockpiles.
President Ramos’s statement was preceded by several memoranda issued in October 1995 by the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of National Defence providing data on anti-personnel landmine stockpiles and landmine incidents and upholding the six-point Policy Positions proposed by the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines. The six-point proposals called on the government to immediately ratify the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and its annexed Protocols; to support the position of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines for an international total ban and contribute to humanitarian mine action; to confirm or deny reports that the Philippines was a landmine producer; to factor landmine issues into negotiations with the various rebel groups; to contribute concretely to humanitarian mine action in the form of professional and technical support; and to provide special assistance to neighbouring Cambodia in mine clearance, victim rehabilitation, and peace and reconstruction work.
The government’s position on landmines and armed groups’ concurrence with a moratorium on landmine use are also embodied in peace and cease-fire agreements. For instance, the Joint Guidelines and Ground Rules for the Implementation of the 1993 Interim Cease-fire Agreement between the Government and the Moro National Liberation Front included “landmining” under prohibited hostile acts. Another example is the Operational Guidelines of the Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities between the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front of 14 November 1997, which lists “landmining” among the prohibited hostile acts.
The Philippine Government was an active partner in the “Ottawa Process” which led to the adoption of a treaty banning anti-personnel landmines, attending all of the preparatory meetings. It was a full participant in the International Strategy Conference “Towards a Global Ban on Anti-personnel Mines” held in Ottawa, Canada, in October 1996 , endorsed the Final Declaration of the Brussels Conference on Anti-personnel Landmines in June 1997 and was a full participant in the Oslo negotiations in September 1997. The Philippines voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolutions in support of a ban on anti-personnel landmines in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
In July 1997, the Philippines, along with the ICRC and the Philippine Red Cross Society, co-sponsored the Asian Regional Seminar for Military and Political Experts in Manila to examine the military value of landmines. In that meeting, it was concluded that the humanitarian cost of using these weapons far outweighed any military utility.
In 2003, in its report under Article 7 of the 1997 Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines, the Philippines stated:
The Philippines, as a State Party to the Ottawa Convention, has an existing policy against the use of anti-personnel mines. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) disposed of its entire anti-personnel mines inventory comprising 2.460 claymore mines on 18 July 1998, and since then, no anti-personnel mines have been obtained, procured or manufactured by the AFP.
House Bill Nr. 222 entitled, “An Act Prohibiting the Use, Manufacture, Sale and Deployment of Land Mines and Prescribing Penalties Thereof”, was filed in June 2000 at the Philippine House of Representatives. A new version of the legislative measure, House Bill No. 346 entitled, “An Act Prohibiting the Use, Manufacture, Acquisition, Sale and Deployment of Landmines and Prescribing Penalties Therefor”, has been filed on 02 July 2001 and is now under consideration by the Committee on Public Order and Security of the House of Representatives.
The obligations assumed under the Mine Ban Treaty form part of the curriculum of all personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Activities/courses on Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training and Bomb Threat Prevention Seminars are conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines on a yearly basis as part of its sustainable Mine Awareness Education Program.