Newspeg: Banner headline in all major news sites: “ Mother of Sen. Guingona injured, 2 killed in NPA attack at Misamis checkpoint” by GMA News Online at gmanetwrok.com; “Wife of ex-VP Guingona wounded in ‘ambush’ “ by ABS-CBN News at abs-cbnnews.com; “ Sen. Guingona’s mom hurt in NPA attack” by the Phil. Daily Inquirer at inquirer.net
The following are the provisions of the CAHRIHL or the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law which both parties invoke to govern situations such as this (pertinent provisions):
Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
Between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, including the executive department and its agencies, hereinafter referred to as the GRP
THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES, including the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA), hereinafter referred to as the NDFP Hereinafter referred to as “the Parties”,
RECOGNIZING that respect for human rights and international humanitarian law is of crucial importance and urgent necessity in laying the ground for a just and lasting peace,
CONSIDERING that a comprehensive agreement on respect for human rights and international humanitarian law should take into account the current human rights situation in the Philippines and the historical experience of the Filipino people,
AFFIRMING that the principles of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law are universally applicable,
ACKNOWLEDGING that the prolonged armed conflict in the Philippines necessitates the application of the principles of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law,
REAFFIRMING their continuing commitment to the aforesaid principles and their application,
REALIZING the necessity and significance of assuming separate duties and responsibilities for upholding, protecting and promoting the principles of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law,
UPHOLDING and complying with the mutually acceptable principles as well as the common goals and objectives in The Hague Joint Declaration of September 1, 1992, the Breukelen Joint Statement of June 14, 1994 and pertinent joint agreements hitherto signed, and
FULLY AWARE of the need for effective mechanisms and measures for upholding, protecting and promoting the principles of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law in a comprehensive agreement,
SOLEMNLY ENTER without reservation into this Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
RESPECT FOR INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW
Article 1. In the exercise of their inherent rights, the Parties to the armed conflict shall adhere to and be bound by the generally accepted principles and standards of international humanitarian law.
Article 2. These principles and standards apply to the following persons:
1. civilians or those taking no active part in the hostilities;
2. members of armed forces who have surrendered or laid down their arms;
3. those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds or any other cause;
4. persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict; and,
5. relatives and duly authorized representatives of above-named persons.
Article 3. The following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the persons enumerated in the preceding Article 2:
1. violence to life and person, particularly killing or causing injury, being subjected to physical or mental torture, mutilation, corporal punishment, cruel or degrading treatment and all acts of violence and reprisals, including hostage-taking, and acts against the physical well-being, dignity, political convictions and other human rights;
2. holding anyone responsible for an act that she/he has not committed and punishing anyone without complying with all the requisites of due process;
3. requiring persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict to disclose information other than their identity;
4. desecration of the remains of those who have died in the course of the armed conflict or while under detention, and breach of duty to tender immediately such remains to their families or to give them decent burial;
5. failure to report the identity, personal condition and circumstances of a person deprived of his/her liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict to the Parties to enable them to perform their duties and responsibilities under this Agreement and under international humanitarian law;
6. denial of the right of relatives and duly authorized representatives of a person deprived of liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict to inquire whether a person is in custody or under detention, the reasons for the detention, under what circumstances the person in custody is being detained, and to request directly or through mutually acceptable intermediaries for his/her orderly and expeditious release;
7. practices that cause or allow the forcible evacuations or forcible reconcentration of civilians, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand; the emergence and increase of internally displaced families and communities, and the destruction of the lives and property of the civilian population;
8. maintaining, supporting and tolerating paramilitary groups such as armed religious fanatical groups, vigilante groups, private armed groups of businessmen, landlords and politicians, and private security agencies which are being used in land and labor disputes and the incursions in Article 9, Part III of this Agreement; and,
9. allowing the participation of civilian or civilian officials in military field operations and campaigns.
Article 4. The principles and standards of international humanitarian law shall likewise apply and protect the rights of persons, entities or objects involved or affected in any of the cases or situations cited hereunder.
1. Persons hors de combat and those who do not take a direct part in hostilities are entitled to respect for their lives, dignity, human rights, political convictions and their moral and physical integrity and shall be protected in all circumstances and treated humanely without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, faith, sex, birth, social standing or any other similar criteria.
2. The wounded and the sick shall be collected and cared for by the party to the armed conflict which has them in its custody or responsibility.
3. Neutral persons or entities and medical personnel, including persons of humanitarian and/or medical organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), shall be protected and respected. The establishments, facilities, transport and equipments of these persons, entities and organizations; objects bearing the emblem of the red cross and the flag of peaceful intention; and historic monuments, cultural objects and places of worship shall likewise be protected.
4. Civilian population and civilians shall be treated as such and shall be distinguished from combatants and, together with their property, shall not be the object of attack. They shall likewise be protected against indiscriminate aerial bombardment, strafing, artillery fire, mortar fire, arson, bulldozing and other similar forms of destroying lives and property, from the use of explosives as well as the stockpiling near or in their midst, and the use of chemical and biological weapons.
5. Civilians shall have the right to demand appropriate disciplinary actions against abuses arising from the failure of the Parties to the armed conflict to observe the principles and standards of international humanitarian law.
6. All persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict shall be treated humanely, provided with adequate food and drinking water, and be afforded safeguards as regards to health and hygiene, and be confined in a secure place. Sufficient information shall be made available concerning persons who have been deprived of their liberty. On humanitarian or other reasonable grounds, such persons deprived of liberty shall be considered for safe release.
7. The ICRC and other humanitarian and/or medical entities shall be granted facilitation and assistance to enable them to care for the sick and the wounded and to undertake their humanitarian missions and activities.
8. Personnel and facilities of schools, the medical profession, religious institutions and places of worship, voluntary evacuation centers, programs and projects of relief and development shall not be the target of any attack. The persons of said entities shall be guaranteed their safety.
9. Every possible measure shall be taken, without delay, to search for and collect the wounded, sick and missing persons and to protect them from any harm and ill treatment, to ensure their adequate care and to search for the dead, prevent despoliation and mutilation and to dispose of them with respect.
Article 5. The Parties decry all violations of the principles of international humanitarian law. They encourage all victims of such violations or their surviving families to come forward with their complaints and evidence.
Article 6. The persons liable for violations of the principles of international humanitarian law shall be subject to investigation and, if evidence warrants, to prosecution and trial. The victims or their survivors shall be indemnified. All necessary measures shall be undertaken to remove the conditions for such violations and to render justice to and indemnify the victims.
Article 7. The GRP shall review and undertake to change policies, laws, programs, projects, campaigns and practices that cause or allow the forcible evacuation and reconcentration of civilians, the emergence and increase of internally displaced families and communities and the destruction of the lives and property of the civilian population.
Article 8. The GRP shall continue to review its policy or practice of creating, maintaining, supporting, or allowing paramilitary forces like the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs) and Civilian Volunteers’ Organizations (CVOs) or any other similar groups.
Article 9. Internally displaced families and communities shall have the right to return to their places of abode and livelihood, to demand all possible assistance necessary to restore them to their normal lives and to be indemnified for damages suffered due to injuries and loss of lives.
Article 10. The Parties shall provide special attention to women and children to ensure their physical and moral integrity. Children shall not be allowed to take part in hostilities.
Article 11. Medical, religious and other humanitarian organizations and their personnel shall not carry out other tasks inimical to any of the Parties. Neither shall they be compelled to carry out tasks which are not compatible with their humanitarian tasks. Under no circumstances shall any person be punished for having carried out medical activities compatible with the principles of medical ethics, regardless of whoever is benefiting from such medical activities.
Article 12. Civilian population shall have the right to be protected against the risks and dangers posed by the presence of military camps in urban centers and other populated areas.
Article 13. The Parties recognize the right of the people to demand the reduction of military expenditures and the rechanneling of savings from such reduction towards social, economic and cultural development which shall be given the highest priority.
Article 14. The Parties shall promote and carry out campaigns of education on international humanitarian law, especially among the people involved in the armed conflict and in areas affected by such conflict.
PART V JOINT MONITORING COMMITTEE
Article 1. The Parties shall form a Joint Monitoring Committee that shall monitor the implementation of this Agreement.
Article 2. The Committee shall be composed of three members to be chosen by the GRP Panel and three members to be chosen by the NDFP Panel. Each Party shall nominate two representatives of human rights organizations to sit in the committee as observers and to do so at the pleasure of the nominating Party. The Committee shall have co-chairpersons who shall serve as chief representatives of the Parties and shall act as moderators of meetings.
Article 3. The co-chairpersons shall receive complaints of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and all pertinent information and shall initiate requests or recommendations for the implementation of this Agreement. Upon its approval by consensus, the Committee shall request the investigation of a complaint by the Party concerned and make recommendations. By consensus, it shall make reports and recommendations on its work to the Parties.
Meetings of the Committee shall be every three months and as often as deemed necessary by the co-chairpersons due to an urgent issue or complaint. The meetings shall be held in the Philippines or in any other venue agreed upon by the Parties.
Article 4. Members of the Committee and the observers shall be entitled to the safety and immunity guarantees stipulated by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.
Article 5. The Committee shall create a joint secretariat that shall provide staff support. Each Party shall nominate an equal number of members in the joint secretariat who shall serve at the pleasure of the nominating Party.
Article 6. The Committee shall be organized upon the effectivity of this Agreement and shall continue to exist until dissolved by either Party by sending to the other Party a written notice of dissolution which shall take effect thirty days after official receipt. Dissolution of the Committee shall not mean the abandonment of rights and duties by any Party under this Agreement and under the principles and standards of human rights and international humanitarian law.
Article 1. The Parties shall continue to assume separate duties and responsibilities for upholding, protecting and promoting human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law in accordance with their respective political principles, organizations and circumstances until they shall have reached final resolution of the armed conflict.
Article 2. The Parties recognize the applicability of the principles of human rights and principles of international humanitarian law and the continuing force of obligations arising from these principles.
Article 3. Nothing in the provisions of this Agreement nor in its application shall affect the political and legal status of the Parties in accordance with the Hague Joint Declaration. Subsequently, this Agreement shall be subject to the Comprehensive Agreements on Political and Constitutional Reforms and on End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces. Any reference to the treaties signed by the GRP and to its laws and legal processes in this Agreement shall not in any manner prejudice the political and organizational integrity of the NDFP.
Article 4. The Parties may from time to time review the provisions of this Agreement to determine the need to adopt a supplemental agreement or to modify the provisions hereof as circumstances require.
Article 5. This Agreement shall be signed by the Negotiating Panels and shall take effect upon approval by their respective Principals.
IN WITNESS, we sign this Agreement this 16th day of March 1998 in The Hague, The Netherlands.
GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHIL