Practice Relating to Rule 55. Access for Humanitarian Relief to Civilians in Need
The Guidelines on Evacuations adopted in 1991 by the Presidential Human Rights Committee of the Philippines provided: “Medicines and relief goods, whether coming from the government or non-government organizations, shall be given to the evacuees without delay.”
A circular from the Office of the President of the Philippines issued in 1991 stipulates:
Only in cases of tactical operations may control of the movement of non-combatants and the delivery of goods and services be imposed for safety reasons, provided that in no case should such control lead to the starvation of civilians.
The Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (2006) provides:
During combat operation:
13. Do not block the entry of food, health services and education to the civilian populace as a way to defeat the enemy
. If you plan to neutralize the enemy through this method, the civilian population will surely be affected. However, “government forces may prevent or limit the entry of service workers (eg. DSWD [Department of Social Welfare and Development] personnel) and the delivery of goods into an area of armed conflict if the same will interfere directly with ongoing combat operations, or will endanger the lives or safety of service workers or those delivering the goods. Any dispute arising from the restriction of the flow of goods and services shall be resolved by the Peace and Order Council concerned.”
The Act on Child Protection (1992) of the Philippines contains an article on “children in situations of armed conflicts” which states that “delivery of basic social services such as … emergency relief services shall be kept unhampered”.