Cluster Munition Ban Policy
UPDATE: On 3 January 2019, the Philippines deposited its instrument of ratification to the Convention on Cluster Munitions to become the 106th State Party. The treaty will enter into force for the Philippines on 1 July 2019. Information below will be updated later this year.
Summary: Signatory the Philippines has conducted extensive stakeholder consultations on the convention, but has yet to introduce the ratification proposal to parliament for its consideration and approval. The Philippines has participated in every meeting of the convention and voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution on the convention in December 2017.
The Philippines states that it has not used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions.
The Republic of the Philippines signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008.
In September 2017, the Philippines provided States Parties with an update on its progress towards ratifying that noted its support for the convention is due to the priority it assigns to acting “in solidarity with other countries and its communities who have or are suffering from [the weapons’] adverse effects.” The Philippines said the Department of Foreign Affairs is collecting “certificates of concurrence” from four ministries and then will forward the ratification proposal to the president for signature, from which it will proceed to the Senate for consideration and approval.
Over the past decade, the Philippines has engaged in extensive stakeholder consultations on the convention.
The Philippines actively participated in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions and sought the most comprehensive treaty possible.
The Philippines has participated in every meeting of the convention, most recently the Seventh Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2017. It attended regional meetings on the convention, most recently in Bangkok in March 2017.
In December 2017, the Philippines voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution, which urges states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.” The Philippines voted in favor of the previous UNGA resolutions promoting implementation of the convention in 2015 and 2016.
The Philippines elaborated its views on certain important issues relating to the interpretation and implementation of the conventionin September 2017, when it told States Parties thatas a signatory, it “continues to defend its position to prohibit the use, local and foreign stockpiling, investment, production, and transit of cluster munitions in the country.” The Philippines has previously stated that it “has no intention to assist, encourage or induce any state, group or individual to engage in any of the prohibited activities.”
The Philippine Campaign Against Cluster Munitions (PCCM) regularly raises the urgent need for the country to ratify the convention in its outreach to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine Commission on Human Rights, and the National Committee on International Humanitarian Law.
The Philippines is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.
Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling
The Philippines has stated several times that it has never used, produced, of transferred cluster munitions and possesses no stocks.
In 2011, the Philippines stated that its armed forces have a standing directive that cluster munitions cannot be included as operational requirements. In June 2016, the Department of Foreign Affairs said, “the prohibition on the use of cluster munitions is part of the operational policy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.”
In March 2014, a Department of Defense official informed the Philippine campaign that the AFM-M3 cluster bomb unit was made in an experimental stage in the 1990s by the Philippine Air Force, but was not pursued beyond the research phase and was never used.
In April 2013, the demining NGO Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (Fondation Suisse de Déminage, FSD) received an unexploded nine-kilogram M41A1 fragmentation bomb that the Philippine Army cleared from a construction site at Lanang in Davao City.
 In 2016, the foreign minister told the Monitor that the government is “currently conducting broad consultations with concerned agencies and stakeholders with regard to the Convention’s ratification.” Letter to Mary Wareham, Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch (HRW), from Bernadette Therese C. Fernandez, Executive Director, Office of UN and International Organizations, Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, 25 April 2016.
 For details on the Philippines’ policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 144–145.
 The Philippines has participated in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention as well as the First Review Conference in 2015 and intersessional meetings in 2011–2015
 European Union Nonproliferation Consortium, “Cooperating to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions: the country coalition concept,” at UNESCAP, Bangkok 16–17 March 2017.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,”UNGA Resolution 72/54, 4 December 2017.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 71/45, 5 December 2016; and“Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.
 Letter from Leslie B. Gatan, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the UN in New York, 2 March 2009. The Philippines reiterated this during the Regional Conference on the Promotion and Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Bali, Indonesia, 17 November 2009. Notes by Action on Armed Violence.
 Letter from Leslie B. Gatan, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the UN in New York, 2 March 2009.
 Letter to Mary Wareham, HRW, from Bernadette Therese C. Fernandez, Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, 25 April 2016.
 PCCM meeting with Col. Gerry Amante, Commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Munitions Control Center, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, 25 March 2014. The AFM-M3 is a copy of the United States AN-M1A1 cluster adapter design. The use of an AN-M1A1 cluster adaptor enabled six M41A1 fragmentation bombs to be deployed at the same time, making the weapon similar in function to a cluster munition. To date, this is the only such bomb to have been found in the Philippines, and no adaptor has been recovered.
Mine Ban Policy
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.
Implementation legislation for the Mine Ban Treaty was again introduced into both the House of Representatives and the Philippine Senate in 2016. “An 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, Creating for this Purpose a Philippines Coordinating Committee on Landmines, and for Related Purposes” was introduced in July 2016 to the 1st Regular Session of the 17th Congress, had a first reading, and was referred to the Committees on National Defense and Security and Finance as of August 2016. A corresponding Bill 239 is pending in the Senate, also as of August 2016. Furthermore, House Bill 3386 corresponding “An Act Absolutely Prohibiting the Use of Mines, Booby-traps and other devices, providing for a total Ban on Antipersonnel Landmines and Creating for this purpose a Coordinating Committee on Landmine” was introduced by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Similar measures have been placed before the House of Representatives and Senate in the past, but have not been passed. The scope of the new bills exceed the Mine Ban Treaty, in that they also prohibit “manually emplaced munitions and devices, including improvised explosives, made to kill, injure or damage, whether designed to be activated manually, by remote control, or automatically after the lapse of time.” The Philippines provided two updated Article 7 reports in March 2017, covering 2015 and 2016. It has provided 11 previous reports.
The Philippines attended the Mine Ban Treaty’s Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties in Santiago, Chile, in November–December 2016 and the convention’s intersessional meetings in Geneva in June 2017.
The Philippines is a State Party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines.
In February 2017, the Philippines Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL) encouraged the government and non-state armed group (NSAG), New People’s Army (NPA), to include cessation of improvised mine use in the ceasefire talks between the parties. Previously, in January 2016, the PCBL initiated a postcard campaign to the Congressional House of Representatives and the Senate urging the passage of the implementation legislation for the Mine Ban Treaty before congress adjourned for new elections in February 2016.
Production, transfer, stockpiling, and use
In 2015 and 2016, the Philippines reported that it continued to discover antipersonnel mines during inspections at ammunition depots, recover claymore mines in field operations, and seize improvised mines. In its 2015 Article 7 Form G(1), it recorded having discovered, and disposed of, 10 antipersonnel mines as a result of inspections at ammunition depots. It also reported recovering and disposing of 14 improvised mines and eight improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In its 2016 Article 7 Form G(1), it recorded having discovered, and disposed of, one claymore mine, and 14 antivehicle and seven improvised claymore mines.
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, most of which appear to be command-detonated improvised devices. Previously, in December 2009, the Philippines told States Parties that all landmines and improvised mines recovered from NSAGs are destroyed immediately.
Non-state armed groups
In the past, at least four NSAGs have used antipersonnel mines or victim-activated improvised mines, including the 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.
As of May 2017, the Philippines Army has been engaged in battles with an Islamist armed group in Marawi, Mindanao. The group has reportedly used improvised mines, resulting in casualties. Periodic reports of improvised mine use attributed to Abu Sayyaf continue to emerge.
Previously, in March 2014, the government of the Philippines and the MILF signed a comprehensive peace agreement. A provision of the Annex on Normalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro concerns “Landmines and Unexploded Ordnance,” which mandates the PCBL and Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) to assist in the mine action work in the Bangsamoro. The implementation of this agreement has been ongoing since 2012, and is supported by the European Union. The Philippine Congress has yet to pass a law on the creation of a new autonomous arrangement referred to as the Bangsamoro. In March 2016, the PCBL accused the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway faction of the MILF, of using victim-activated explosive devices in the Barangay Tee region in Datu Salibo Municipality in the province of Maguindanao, and called on them to halt use and respect international humanitarian law. In June 2016, an Islamist armed group left behind explosive devices after fleeing a camp, which caused death and injury to government troops.
The NPA continued to use command-detonated improvised explosive devices in 2016 and 2017. 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. 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 2017, the Monitor was provided a technical drawing of NPA remote-detonated explosive devices. The devices are fitted with an antihandling device that can be turned on or off manually. When used in the antihandling mode, the device would be considered banned under the Mine Ban Treaty. It is unknown how many of the NPA improvised explosives are fitted with this feature, or how often it is used.
In August 2016, President Duterte called on the NPA to cease using landmines if it wanted to continue peace talks with the government. The NPA refused, stating that its use of command-detonated landmines was not in violation of international law. In response, the PCBL 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.
 Text of Senate Bill provided by email to the Monitor by Alfredo Lubang, Coordinator, Philippines Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL), 10 September 2017.
 See, ICBL, “Country Profile: Philippines: Mine Ban Policy profile,” 21 November 2016.
 Previous reports submitted 6 September 2013, for calendar year 2011; 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.
 “Statement on the CPP-NPA-NDF’s offer for bilateral ceasefire agreement negotiations,” PCBL Press Release, 21 February 2017. “PCBL urges both parties to tackle the issue of improvised landmines and IEDs as part of any ceasefire agreement. Ceasefire should also mean cease-the-use-of-improvised- explosives-and-landmines. Ending the use of landmines and IEDs will definitely boost the confidence of both parties to pursue other equally difficult agenda on the negotiating table.”
 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.
 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 PCBL. 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.”
 See, “AFP: 2 soldiers lost legs after tripping on land mines in Marawi,” GMA News, 18 August 2017. Also, “Snipers, land mines delay liberation of Marawi City,” Business Mirror, 26 June 2017.
 Email from Alfredo Lubang, Coordinator, PCBL, 10 October 2017.
 PCBL, “BIFF should stop using Victim-Activated Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs),” 2 March 2016.
 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,” Inquirer, 2 June 2016.
 Ben O. Tesiorna, “Communist leadership to combatants: Use more land mines,” CNN Philippines, 9 August 2016.
 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.
 Technical drawings of “NPA Improvised Remote Firing Switch with integral anti‐lift device” based on a device recovered by FSD in June 2015 in Sarangani province, Mindanao. Provided to the Monitor by email, 9 September 2017.
 Ben O. Tesiorna, “Communist leadership to combatants: Use more land mines,” CNN Philippines, 9 August 2016.
 PCBL, “PCBL Statement on President Duterte’s ‘Stop Landmines or No Peace Talks’ remarks,” 6 August 2016.
Contamination and Impact
The Philippines is affected by explosive remnants of war (ERW), especially unexploded ordnance (UXO), as a result of long-running, low-level insurgencies by the New People’s Army (NPA) and other non-state armed groups, mainly in Mindanao. The extent to which it is also affected by mines is unclear.
The Philippines has consistently denied in its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports, the latest of which covers 2009, that it has any mined areas containing antipersonnel mines. However, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) continue to claim that the NPA uses antipersonnel mines.
The NPA has denied using mines, but acknowledges that it continues to use “command-detonated explosives” in attacks on government security forces. A 2012 statement by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Central Committee urges the NPA to use landmines “to impede enemy troop movement or harass any encamped force” and encourages them to “produce explosives from unexploded munitions of the enemy.” Many incidents attributed to the NPA, although often reported as landmine attacks, appear to involve IEDs.
Explosive remnants of war
The Philippines has UXO contamination from recent conflicts between the government and non-state armed groups, mainly on the southern island of Mindanao, causing civilian and military casualties. It also contends with large amounts of UXO and abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO), including chemical weapons that date back to World War II.
The AFP says that 30% of total ordnance in Mindanao is UXO. Fighting between armed groups associated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Muslim Barangay, Guindulungan, Maguindanao, in December 2010 may have resulted in more UXO contamination in the area (see above).
Some 4,000 World War II-era shells and other explosive items were collected for destruction in March (see Mine Action Program below). In other discoveries, at least 21 artillery shells were discovered in a warehouse in Binondo, Manila, in February 2012. Other bombs were found in Muntinlupa City in Manila, in Calapan City in Mindoro, Kawit in Cebu City, and Surigao del Norte.
Mine Action Program
The Philippines has no formal program for dealing with mines, IEDs, or ERW. Clearance has been conducted by a range of government actors, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the police.
In March 2011, the Philippines and the US conducted a “Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Exercise” in which some 4,000 World War II-era artillery shells and other ageing ordnance, including aircraft bombs, land and sea mines, and depth charges, were collected from Caballo Island in Manila Bay and shipped to a military gunnery range in Tarlac. These were destroyed by a series of detonations, the last of them initiated by President Benigno Aquino himself. The Philippine Navy said ordnance with a total explosive weight of 364,348 lb (nearly 163 tons) had been destroyed in the exercise, which involved explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Philippine National Police and the Coast Guard. President Aquino reportedly said the threat posed by the ordnance on Caballo Island had represented one of the major problems facing his administration.
Safety of demining personnel
At least three EOD personnel from the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force were killed in Taguig City after a mortar shell they had taken to a welding shop to be defused reportedly exploded. Another EOD team member and eight others were reported injured.
 Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2009), Form C.
 See, for example, “Philippines condemns rebel landmine attack,” Agence France-Presse, 29 November 2011; Paul M. Gutierrez, “10th ID uncovers NPA ‘bomb-making complex’ in Mindanao,” Journal Online, 2 April 2011; and “Landmine Incidents (1 April 2010 to 21 February 2011),” received from the AFP Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, J3, 28 February 2011.
 CCP Central Committee, “Strengthen the people’s army and intensify the people’s war,” Message to the New People’s Army, 29 March 2012, p. 21.
 Email from Cliff Alvarico, Field Associate, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Cotabato Field Office, Cotabato City, 28 January 2011.
 Bernadette A. Parco, “Vintage bombs probably used as ‘booby trap’: archaeologist,” Sunstar.com.ph, 1 February 2012; “Vintage bomb found in Calapan City”, The Mindoro Post, 13 November 2011; Mike U. Crismundo, “2 live vintage bombs unearthed,” Tempo, 29July 2011; Karen Boncocan, “Muntinlupa police recover vintage bomb.” Inquirer.net, 11 May 2011; “Two killed in WWII bomb explosion in the Philippines,” The Mindanao Examiner, 20 July 2011.
 “LSS-EOD eliminated the hazard of explosive remnants of war,” Philippine National Police Logistic Support Service, undated but accessed 24 January 2012; Aurea Calica, “Noy leads detonation of 4,000 vintage bombs at Crow Valley,” The Philippine Star, 6March 2011.
Support for Mine Action
Since 2013, the Republic of the Philippines has received about US$4 million in international support, most of which came from the European Union, which contributed $3.8 million to the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) in 2013, 2015, and 2017.
In 2016, Norway contributed NOK1.8 million (approximately $220,000) to support clearance and risk education activities. While in 2014, Switzerland provided CHF43,500 ($47,557) to Mines Advisory Group for clearance activities.
Summary of international contributions: 2013–2017
 Emails from Frank Meeussen, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Export Control, European External Action Service (EEAS), 30 September 2016 and 25 October 2018; and from Carolin J. Thielking, European Union Mine Action Focal Point, Division for WMD, Conventional Weapons and Space, EEAS, 15 May 2013; and Mine Ban Treaty Implementation Support Unit, “The European Union’s support to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention,” undated, p. 14. Average exchange rate for 2013: €1=US$1.3281; for 2015: €1=1.1096, and for 2017: €1=US$1.1301. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 11 January 2018.
 Email from Ingrid Schoyen, Senior Adviser, Section for Humanitarian Affairs, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 31 May 2017. Average exchange rate for 2016: NOK8.3936=US$1. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 4 January 2017.
 Switzerland, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, April 2015. Average exchange rate for 2014: US$1=CHF0.9147. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 2 January 2015.
 See previous Monitor reports.
Casualties and Victim Assistance
All known casualties by end 2013
571 (184 killed; 386 injured) since 1999
Casualties in 2013
0 (2012: 59)
2013 casualties by outcome
0 (2012: 6 killed; 53 injured)
In 2013, in the Republic of the Philippines no casualties from mines or explosive remnants of war (ERW) were identified from media scanning for the year. This marked the first year since 2009 that no ERW casualties were recorded. There were also no reported casualties of victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or casualties of IEDs that were clearly determined to not have been command detonated. Media monitoring identified at least 14 casualties from IEDs that were likely command detonated but for which media reports lacked sufficient detail to confirm the means of activation. Several other casualties from IEDs were identified, all of which were clearly caused by command-detonated IEDs.
The lack of victim-activated explosive casualties in 2013 represents a significant decrease from the 59 casualties in 2012 and 34 casualties in 2011. Clearer reporting of device types and improved efforts to differentiate incidents caused by victim-activated and command-activated devices may account for the decrease in casualties as incidents involving a large number of military casualties in 2013 appear to have been caused by remotely activated devices.
Between 1999 and the end of 2013, the Monitor identified a total of 573 casualties from mines, ERW, and victim-activated IEDs (185 killed; 387 injured; one of unknown status).
At least 387 mine/ERW survivors have been identified through the end of 2013.
Created in 2008, the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) is the national government agency mandated to formulate policies and to coordinate the activities of all agencies, both public and private, concerning disability issues and concerns. It is also tasked to strengthen the database on disability for both policy formulation and program development and to conduct policy review and consultation dialogues with different stakeholders. According to the NCDA, there was “no specific program or even database for mine casualties, victims or survivors, because mine warfare is not common in the Philippines.”
During 2013, the ICRC continued to provide support to the Davao Jubilee Rehabilitation Center. To further strengthen the service capacity and quality, the ICRC provided financial support for the construction of two new buildings; a new prosthetics and orthotics department was completed in 2012 and a new physiotherapy building was erected and equipped in 2013. During the year, 408 people benefited from various physical rehabilitation services at the ICRC-assisted center, representing an increase of close to 200% compared to 2012. Since the beginning of the ICRC assistance, the number of persons receiving services at the centers increased significantly (from 45 in 2008 to 408 in 2013). Children represented 49% and women 10% of the beneficiaries.
The law prohibited discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment; education; air travel and other transportation; access to healthcare; and other social services; it also provided for equal access for persons with disabilities to all public buildings, but implementation was ineffective and many physical barriers remained.
The Philippines ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 15 April 2008.
 Monitor media monitoring from 1 January to 31 December 2013.
 ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programme (PRP), “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, May 2014, p. 58.
 Telephone interview with Mateo A. Lee Jr., Officer-in-Charge, NCDA, 3 March 2010; and email, 15 February 2011.
 ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, May 2014, p. 59.
 United States Department of State, “2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Philippines,” Washington, DC, 27 February 2014.