Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 21 November 2016


The Republic of the Philippines signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 15 February 2000, becoming a State Party on 1 August 2000.

The Philippine House and Senate have repeatedly been unable to pass implementation legislation. It was last known to have been introduced in February 2011, the “Act Providing for a Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Landmines, for Other Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Landmines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices, For The Creation of a Philippine Coordinating Committee on Landmines, and for Related Purposes.”[1]

The Philippines Article 7 report of September 2013 provided no further updated information on the status of congressional activity on an implementation law.[2]

As of 21 November 2016, the Philippines had not provided its Article 7 report, due 30 April 2016 or 30 April 2015. It submitted its last report on 6 September 2013.[3] Its previous Article 7 report covered calendar year 2010. It has provided nine previous reports.[4]

The Philippines attended the Mine Ban Treaty Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November-December 2015 but did not attend the convention’s intersessional Standing Committee meetings in Geneva in May 2016. The Philippines also attended the Bangkok Symposium on Landmine Victim Assistance in June 2015.

The Philippines is a State Party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines.

In January 2016, the Philippines Campaign to Ban Landmines initiated a postcard campaign to Congressional representatives urging the passage of the implementation legislation for the Mine Ban Treaty before congress adjourned for new elections in February 2016.[5]

Production, transfer, stockpiling, and use

In September 2013, the Philippines reported that it had found antipersonnel mines discovered during inspections at ammunition depots, recovered claymore mines in field operations, and also seized improvised mines. In its Article 7 Form B(2) it recorded having discovered 39 antipersonnel mines as a result of inspections at ammunition depots, recovered 45 claymore mines in field operations, and seized two improvised mines. It noted that the mines were scheduled for destruction. In its Article 7 Form G(3) it recorded having discovered 29 antipersonnel mines as a result of inspections at ammunition depots, recovered 278 claymore mines in field operations, and seized 14 improvised mines, all of which were destroyed. It is not clear if the mines in Form G included the mines in Form B. If so, 10 antipersonnel mines were unaccounted for.[6] The Philippines has previously reported that it has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines. It destroyed its entire stockpile of antipersonnel mines—all Claymore-type mines—in 1998. It has not retained any live mines for training purposes. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has stated that it has never used antipersonnel mines to combat insurgency groups within the country.

Media reports regularly state that authorities have recovered “landmines” during operations against insurgents, almost all of which appear to be command-detonated improvised devices.[7] In December 2009, the Philippines told States Parties that all landmines and improvised mines recovered from non-state armed groups (NSAGs) are destroyed immediately.[8] In September 2013, the Philippines reported that it had destroyed 14 improvised mines and 278 claymore mines during operations.[9]

Non-state armed groups

The Monitor could not identify any instances of use of antipersonnel mines (victim-activated explosive devices or booby-traps) by NSAGs during 2012 or the first half of 2013.

In the past, at least four NSAGs have used antipersonnel mines or victim-activated improvised mines, including the New People’s Army (NPA), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). Five NSAGs, including the MILF, have formally pledged in writing not to use antipersonnel mines.[10]

In March 2014, the government of the Philippines and the MILF signed a comprehensive peace agreement.[11] Implementation of the agreement stalled in February 2016 when the Philippine Congress failed to pass a law to implement the agreement.[12] In March 2016, the Philippines Campaign to Ban Landmines accused the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway faction of the MILF, of using victim-activated explosive devices in the Barangay Tee in Datu Salibo Municipality in the province of Maguindanao, and called on them to halt use and respect international humanitarian law.[13] In June 2016, an Islamist armed group left behind explosive devices after fleeing a camp, which caused death and injury to government troops.[14]

The NPA used command-detonated improvised devices in 2015 and 2016.[15] Philippine authorities and the media continue to refer to these as “landmines.” The NPA (the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, CPP) signed a Comprehensive Agreement to Respect Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) with the Philippine government in 1998.[16] The CARHRIHL commits both parties to protect the civilian population by not violating the “right not to be subjected to...the use of landmines,” but does not define “landmine.” In August 2016, President Duerte called on the NPA to cease using landmines if it wanted to continue peace talks with the government.[17] The NPA refused stating that its use of command-detonated landmines was not in violation of international law.[18] The Philippines Campaign to Ban Landmines issued a statement in August noting that NPA use of command detonated mines might be in line with the Mine Ban Treaty, but that it still threatened civilian non-combatants and requested the NPA publicly declare a halt in use of all types of landmines.[19]

[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 6 September 2013.

[2] Ibid.

[4] Previous reports submitted on 16 April 2010; 31 March 2007; 3 November 2006; 9 May 2005; 15 February 2004; 14 May 2003; 5 April 2002; 12 September 2001; and 12 September 2000. There was no report covering the year 2007.

[5] Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL), 13 January 2016.

[6] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Forms B & G, 6 September 2013.

[7] See, for example, Zaff Solmerin, “Troops overrun NPA land-mine factory,” Business Mirror, 12 March 2012; and “Philippine troops seize NPA weapons factory,” Mindanao Examiner, 1 April 2011.

[8] Statement by Erlinda F. Basilio, Special Envoy of the President of the Republic of the Philippines, Mine Ban Treaty Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 3–4 December 2009.

[9] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form G, 6 September 2013.

[10] The MILF, the Rebolusyonaryong Partidong Manggagawa-Mindanao/Revolutionary People’s Army (RPMM/RPA), the Rebolusyonaryong Partidong Manggagawa-Pilipinas/Revolutionary People’s Army (RPMP/RPA) faction of Nilo de la Cruz, and the Marxista-Leninistang Partidong Pilipinas/Rebolusyonaryong Hukbong Bayan (MLPP/RHB) signed the “Rebel Group Declaration of Adherence to International Humanitarian Law on Landmines” of the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines. The MILF, the Revolutionary Workers Party of the Philippines/Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade, and the Revolutionary Workers Party of Mindanao/Revolutionary People’s Army signed the “Deed of Commitment under Geneva Call for Adherence to a Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines and for Cooperation in Mine Action.”

[11] Government of the Philippines, “Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro,” 28 March 2014.

[12] Jose Rodel Clapano, “Congress buries Bangsamoro bill,” Philippine Star, 4 February 2016.

[14] The device appears to have been victim activated, but details of the mechanism were not available to the Monitor. The use was attributed to Dawlah Islamiya, comprised of rogue MILF and foreign combatants led by Abdullah Maute. “2 soldiers killed, 5 hurt in landmine blast in Lanao Sur,” Philippine Inquirer, 2 June 2016.

[15] Ben O. Tesiorna, “Communist leadership to combatants: Use more land mines,” CNN Philippines, 9 August 2016.

[16] CARHRIHL, Part III: Respect for Human Rights, Article 2(15), 16 March 1998. The government considers use of command-detonated devices as well as any type of landmine as banned by CARHRIHL, while the NPA considers only use of victim-activated devices banned.

[17] Edith Regalado and Giovanni Nilles, “Reds told: Stop using landmines or no peace talks,” Philippine Star, 8 August 2016.

[18] Ben O. Tesiorna, “Communist leadership to combatants: Use more land mines,” CNN Philippines, 9 August 2016.