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ICHRP Condemns Blatant International Humanitarian Law Violations of the Philippine Government

ICHRP Condemns Blatant International Humanitarian Law Violations of the Philippine Government

Press Release
May 2, 2023

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) condemns the blatant and rampant human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL) violations perpetrated by the Philippine government under President Bongbong Marcos.

“President Bongbong Marcos continues to implement the counterinsurgency program of the Duterte administration. This has resulted in a widespread, very brutal and inhumane campaign of human rights and IHL violations against non-combatants, wounded fighters unable to resist (hors de combat), and prisoners of war in the ongoing armed conflict in the country,” said Peter Murphy, ICHRP Global Council Chairperson.

“Countless incidents of hamletting, red-tagging, harassment of civilians, and indiscriminate firing and bombing of communities have been reported already this year in different areas of the Philippines, including Cagayan Valley, Southern Tagalog, Eastern Visayas, Negros Island, and Mindanao. This clearly violates the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Additional Protocols of 1977, ratified by the Philippine government, and numerous provisions under Part IV (On IHL) of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), an agreement signed by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).”

A recent case of IHL violation is the brutal killing last August 21, 2022 of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria-Tiamzon, along with eight other members (dubbed the ‘Catbalogan 10’) of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). They were unarmed and reported captured alive and should have been treated as prisoners of war. Wilma Tiamzon was reported to be very sick and should have been treated as hors de combat. But upon capturing the 10, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) killed them, put their remains in a boat, and exploded the boat, splattering their remains and mutilating their lifeless bodies.

“As they were captured unarmed and in no condition to fight, the Catbalogan 10 should have been accorded respect for their rights, as stipulated in the Geneva Conventions on IHL and the CARHRIHL. This case shows that the Philippine government does not respect its own signature in international conventions and is hell bent to follow the counter-insurgency prescriptions of its master, the United States,” continued Murphy.

Benito Tiamzon as a member of the NDFP negotiating panel, and Wilma Austria-Tiamzon as a consultant, made substantial contributions to advance the peace negotiations with the GRP during the early part of the Duterte administration. But the Tiamzons, like most of those involved in the negotiating of the last round of peace agreements with the Duterte regime, have been subsequently killed by the Duterte and Marcos governments.

“ICHRP calls on the Philippine government to uphold the rights of civilians and their communities, as well as combatants rendered hors de combat and prisoners of war, and non-combatants who are members of the warring parties in the ongoing civil war in the country. It will also continue to support calls to address the roots of the armed conflict and attain just and lasting peace for the Filipino people,” concluded Murphy.