Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 19 October 2020


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. But as of August 2020, this process was not completed, and the 2016 bill was being refiled by the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL) in the next Congress.[1] “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, Security and Finance as of August 2016. A corresponding Bill 239 is pending in the Senate, also as of August 2016.[2] 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 Landmines” was introduced by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.[3] Similar measures have been placed before the House of Representatives and Senate in the past, but have not been passed.[4] 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.”[5]

The Philippines provided an updated Article 7 report in April 2020. Its previous Article 7 reports were submitted in March 2017, and cover the calendar years 2015 and 2016.[6]

The Philippines attended the Mine Ban Treaty’s Fourth Review Conference in Oslo in November 2019 where it delivered a statement during the High-Level segment. The Philippines also attended the convention’s intersessional meetings held online in June–July 2020.

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

In February, June, and December 2019, the PCBL condemned the New People's Army's (NPA’s) use of landmines.[7] In February 2017, the PCBL encouraged the government and the NPA to include cessation of improvised mine use in the ceasefire talks between the parties.[8] 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.[9]

Production, transfer, stockpiling, and use

In its 2020 Article 7 report, the Philippines did not report any discoveries or destruction of previously unknown stocks. Previously, in its 2015 Article 7 report, Form G(1), it recorded having discovered, and disposed of, 10 antipersonnel mines as a result of inspections at ammunition depots. The Philippines also reported recovering and disposing of 14 improvised mines and eight improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In its 2016 Article 7 report, Form G(1), the Philippines recorded having discovered, and disposed of, one Claymore mine, and 14 antivehicle and seven improvised Claymore mines.[10]

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 and 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 insurgent 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.[11] Previously, in December 2009, the Philippines told States Parties that all landmines and improvised mines recovered from non-state armed groups (NSAGs) are destroyed immediately.[12]

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.[13]

From May to October 2017, the AFP was engaged in battles with four allied Islamic State-aligned militant groups–the ASG, Ansar Khalifa Philippines (AKP), the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and the Maute Group (MG)–in Marawi, Mindanao. The group reportedly left behind many booby-traps and IEDs, resulting in casualties.[14] Periodic reports of improvised mine use attributed to the ASG have continued to emerge.[15]

Previously, in March 2014, the Philippine government and the MILF signed a comprehensive peace agreement.[16] 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 mine action work in the Bangsamoro region, in the western part of the island of Mindanao. The implementation of this agreement is ongoing and is supported by the European Union.[17]

The NPA has continued to use command-detonated IEDs throughout 2019 and 2020.[18] 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.[19] 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.”

Previously, 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 NPA improvised explosives are fitted with this feature, or how often it is used.[20]

In August 2016, President Duterte called on the NPA to cease using landmines if it wanted to continue peace talks with the government.[21] The NPA refused, stating that its use of command-detonated landmines was not in violation of international law.[22] In response, the PCBL issued a statement in August 2016 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 to the use of all types of landmines.[23]


[1] Monitor interview with Alfredo Lubang, Coordinator, Philippines Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL), 16 August 2020.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A (2016 only), 3 March 2017.

[3] Text of Senate Bill provided by email to the Monitor by Alfredo Lubang, Coordinator, PCBL, 10 September 2017.

[4] See, ICBL, “Country Profile: Philippines: Mine Ban Policy profile,” 21 November 2016.

[5] Text of Senate Bill provided by email to the Monitor by Alfredo Lubang, Coordinator, PCBL, 10 September 2017.

[6] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the calendar year 2019). In the previous 10 years, the Philippines provided only three reports, due annually, in 2017, 2013, and 2011.

[7] Philippines Campaign to Ban Landmines, Facebook, 11 February 2019, 2 June 2019, and 14 December 2019.

[8] PCBL press release, “Statement on the CPP-NPA-NDF’s offer for bilateral ceasefire agreement negotiations,” 21 February 2017. The press release states: “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.”

[9] Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines, Facebook, 13 January 2016.

[10] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Reports, Form G (2015 and 2016), 3 March 2017.

[11] See, for example, Alexander Lopez, “Tip-off leads Army to NPA landmine depot in Agusan Sur,” Philippine News Agency, 24 June 2019. The photograph and information contained in the article suggests explosive materials were for the manufacture of improvised explosive devices.

[12] 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.

[13] The MILF, Rebolusyonaryong Partidong Manggagawa-Mindanao/Revolutionary People’s Army (RPMM/RPA), 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 PCBL’s “Rebel Group Declaration of Adherence to International Humanitarian Law on 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.”

[14] See, “53 unexploded IEDs need recovering in Marawi City,Manila Standard, 20 August 2018; and “AFP: 2 soldiers lost legs after tripping on land mines in Marawi,” GMA News, 18 August 2017.

[15] Bong Garcia, “Bomb explosion kills farm owner in Basilan,” SunStar Zamboanga, 20 March 2017.

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

[17] Email from Alfredo Lubang, Coordinator, PCBL, 10 October 2017.

[18] Alexander Lopez, “NPA's continued use of landmines alarming: Army official,” Philippine News Agency, 22 April 2020; and Delfin T. Mallari Jr “AFP slams NPA use of landmine that killed soldier in Quezon,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, 5 November 2019.

[19] 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.

[20] Technical drawings of “NPA Improvised Remote Firing Switch with integral anti‐lift device,” based on a device recovered by the FSD in June 2015 in Sarangani, Mindanao. Provided to the Monitor by email, 9 September 2017.

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

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