- The National Democratic Front defends the NPA’s use of landmines
- Peace negotiator Luis Jalandoni says it is not prohibited under international treaties
- Jalandoni says they are open to talking about the landmines issue with the government
The National Democratic Front (NDF) defended the use of its armed wing, New People’s Army, of landmines in clashes with the military, saying that international agreements do not prohibit it.
“The use of command detonated landmines do not violate the Geneva Convention and the Ottawa Treaty, which took effect in 1999,” NDF’s Luis Jalandoni said in Filipino during an interview with GMA News.
The left’s peace negotiator further explained: “’Yung anti-personnel sa Ottawa Treaty ay ‘yung landmine by chance na naapakan ng isang tao sasabog na. Iba itong command detonated landmine na ginagamit lang kung meron legitimate military target at itong command detonated landmine na nasa Ottawa Treaty hindi pinagbabawalan.”
[The anti-personnel [prohibited] in the Ottawa Treaty is landmine by chance that when one person steps on to it and triggers, it will explode. This command detonated landmine is different and only used when there’s a legitimate military target. This command detonated landmine is not prohibited under the Ottawa Treaty.]
President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday criticized the NPA for using landmines against the military. He said that these are prohibited under international law such as the Geneva Convention.
Duterte urged the revolutionary left to stop using landmines or he will cancel peace talks, which is set to resume on August 20.
Reacting to this, Jalandoni said they are still willing to talk about the use of landmines with the government. He said, however, that this should be the ones included in the ceasefire agreement while maintaining that international treaties allow it
Duterte earlier declared a unilateral ceasefire with the communists during his first State of the Nation Address in late July. However, due to a clash between the NPA and government paramilitary forces in Davao del Norte, the President ordered a deadline for the left to issue their own ceasefire.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the political arm of the radical oppositionist failed to issue the ceasefire even after their deadline lapsed on June 30, prompting the President to cancel the government’s armistice.