NDFP denies use of anti-personnel mines, emphasizes adherence to international humanitarian law

NDFP Human Rights Monitoring Committee

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) today expressed surprise at the statement attributed to Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Atty. Leila de Lima that the New People’s Army (NPA) violated international humanitarian law (IHL) in the ambush it carried out against a team of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force in Antipolo City, Rizal on 20 April 2010, in which five (5) PNP-SAF members were killed and four (4) were wounded.

In news reports, Chairperson de Lima was quoted as saying that the NPA's use of landmines “is violative of both human rights law and international humanitarian law”.

”If true, then Chairperson de Lima has unwittingly echoed the false and unsubstantiated accusation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP against the NPA on the use of landmines”, said Fidel V. Agcaoili, Chairman of the NDFP Human Rights Monitoring Committee.

“She should have known better than to accept as true the false allegations of the AFP and the PNP, considering her own sad experiences with these mendacious, corrupt and brutal agencies of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). The AFP and PNP are absolutely ignorant of the facts and the pertinent international law on landmines”, Agcaoili added.

“Although not signatories to the Ottawa Treaty or any deed of commitment, the NPA and the NDFP have repeatedly declared that the NPA does not use and has never used mines which are not command-detonated and directed against military vehicles and personnel. Command-detonated mines are not prohibited by any international treaty or convention, including the Geneva Conventions and their Protocols. Such mines are directed at purely military targets,” Agcaoili emphasized.

“While constantly repeating the false accusation, the AFP and the PNP have never produced any evidence of the use by the NPA of anti-personnel mines prohibited by the Ottawa treaty,” Agcaoili stated.

“The 20 April 2010 successful ambush of the team of PNP-SAF personnel was a legitimate military operation of the NPA. According to reports by the Narciso Antazo Aramil Command of the NPA, one (1) M203 grenade launcher, one (1) sniper rifle, seven (7) M16 rifles, two (2) .45 caliber pistols and ammunition were taken from the PNP-SAF team. Even the newspaper picture of the ambushed vehicle does not support the false allegation of the AFP and PNP,” Agcaoili said.

“The four wounded SAF personnel who surrendered were treated as prisoners of war (POWs) and were given first aid by the NPA. In accordance with the NDFP policy on the treatment of POWs, the NPA decided to immediately release them so that they could be brought to the nearest hospitals in Antipolo City.” Agcaoili concluded.