IBP condemns, demands justice for landmine explosion victims

Published June 11, 2021, 9:42 AM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday, June 11, condemned the June 6 Masbate landmine explosion that killed two persons and injured a teenager.

“We strongly condemn the use of anti-personnel landmines, seek justice for the innocent victims, and demand full accountability and punishment for those who callously deployed the landmines,” IBP President Domingo Egon Q. Cayosa said in a statement.

The New People’s Army (NPA) has assumed “full responsibility” for the explosion that killed Keith Absalon, 21, a football player of the Far Eastern University, and his cousin Nolven, 41. The blast also injured Nolven’s 16-year-old son.

“No goal or ideology can justify a blatant disregard of the laws and conscience of humanity; and even in the extreme conditions of war, the principles of decency and humanity must be honored,” Cayosa pointed out.

He said the landmine explosion “highlights the inhumanity of this internationally outlawed device.”

“Because of its persistent, indiscriminate and inhumane nature, the use, manufacture, and sale of anti-personnel land mines is banned by the 1997 Ottawa Treaty (Mine Ban Convention) of which the Republic of the Philippines is a signatory together with a vast majority of civilized nations,” he said.

“Various United Nations General Assembly Resolutions reflect a clear and convincing global consensus against the use of anti-personnel land mines,” he added.

Cayosa called on the government to ensure that the total ban on the use of landmines be maintained.

“Let us be firm and united in banishing anti-personnel landmines from the Philippines and in the world,” he added.

Last June 10, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has asked the NPA not only to assume “full accountability” but should also surrender the perpetrators “to face justice within the court system.”

“If the NPA is serious and sincere about taking accountability for the improvised explosive device (IED) that killed civilians in Masbate — beyond owning responsibility, offering indemnity, and promising an investigation — they should identify all those responsible and surrender them to the lawful authorities to face justice within the court system,” the CHR said in a statement.

“They should likewise be held accountable for all other crimes they have perpetrated in violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws since they began pursuing this armed conflict,” it added.