By Francis T. Wakefield
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) today said they have always been committed to adhering to the Law of Armed Conflict and respecting human rights especially during times of conflict.
AFP Public Affairs Office chief Colonel Edgard Arevalo, made the assurance following the Amnesty International report on the recent Marawi crisis which reveals alleged violations of humanitarian law by the militants and the members of the military.
AI quoted people who said they were beaten and tortured by members of the AFP on suspicion they were militants.
Some soldiers also allegedly engaged in looting, and AI is calling for further investigation on whether the military aerial bombings complied with humanitarian law.
“That notwithstanding, the AFP has been coherent, consistent and unequivocal,” Arevalo said.
“We are committed to adhere to the Law of Armed Conflict and respect human rights in the conduct of our operations,” he added.
Arevalo, at the same time, said every member of the AFP is aware and reminded of the said commitment. He said should there be infractions, they are determined to hold the violators liable.
“In the observance of the due process of law, the AFP needs formal complaints to aid us in the investigation and prosecution of cases when warranted. And here is where need those reports,” Arevalo said.
“The same is true with reports of alleged looting,” he added.
Arevalo said the AFP leadership under chief of staff General Rey Leonardo Guerrero ensures that their regulations are observed to the letter and will not tolerate any infractions thereof.
“We will not dishonor the sacrifices and heroism of our soldiers,” Arevalo said.