Cluster Munition Ban Policy
The Philippines ratified the convention on 3 January 2019. It has participated in every meeting of the convention, most recently in November 2020. The Philippines voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution promoting implementation of the convention in December 2020.
The Philippines provided its initial Article 7 transparency report in October 2019, which formally confirms it has never produced cluster munitions and does not stockpile them, including for research or training purposes. According to the report, the Philippines destroyed a stockpile of 114 cluster munitions in May 2011.
The Republic of the Philippinessigned the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008, ratified on 3 January 2019 and the convention entered into force for the Philippines on 1 July 2019.
The Philippines reported in October 2019 that its Armed Forces had issued a directive prohibiting cluster munitions from being included in operational planning requirements.” The Philippines has not indicated if it intends to enact specific implementation legislation for the convention.
The Philippines submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report for the convention on 11 October 2019. It provided an annual update on 17 April 2020 that showed no change from the initial report. As of 15 August 2021 it had not provided its updated Article 7 report due 30 April 2021.
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 first part of the convention’s Second Review Conference held virtually in November 2020. The Philippines has promoted universalization of the convention, holding a virtual meeting in July 2020 for Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) military officials.
In December 2020, the Philippines voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution, which urges full implementation of the convention. Before the UNGA First Committee vote, the Philippines said it “is deeply concerned about the reported continued use of cluster munitions and calls on relevant countries to become states parties to the convention.” It offered to provide assistance to any country that wishes to complete the steps necessary for acceding to the convention.
The Philippines has elaborated its views on certain important issues relating to the interpretation and implementation of the convention. In 2017, the Philippines told States Parties that 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 stated that it “has no intention to assist, encourage or induce any state, group or individual to engage in any of the prohibited activities.”
In December 2020, the Philippines voted in favor of a UNGA resolution condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria.
The Philippines is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).
Use, production, and transfer
The initial transparency report provided in October 2019 formally confirms that the Philippines has never produced cluster munitions and does not stockpile them, including for research or training purposes. In the past, the Philippines reiterated several times that it has never used or produced cluster munitions.
According to the initial transparency report, the Philippines destroyed a total of 114 “81mm cluster bombs” by open detonation at a location in Cebu on 7 May 2011, after it adopted and signed the convention. The specific type of cluster munition referred to by the Philippines is unclear and no additional information was provided in the transparency reports.
In 2014, a Department of Defense official said that the Philippine Air Force had developed an experimental AFM-M3 cluster bomb unit in the 1990s, but the weapon was never pursued beyond the research phase and never used.
An old 9kg M41A1 fragmentation bomb was cleared and destroyed from a construction site at Lanang in Davao City in 2013 by demining operator Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (Fondation Suisse de Déminage, FSD). The AN-M1A1 cluster adaptor enabled six M41A1 fragmentation bombs to be deployed at the same time, making the weapon similar in function to a modern-day cluster munition.
 Memorandum to the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), on the Prohibition of Cluster Munitions in the AFP Operational Requirements by the Department of National Defense, 13 December 2017. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 11 October 2019. Previously, the Philippines stated in 2011 and 2016 that the prohibition on the use of cluster munitions is part of the operational policy of the AFP. Statement of the Philippines, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2011; and Letter from Bernadette Therese C. Fernandez, Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, to Mary Wareham, Arms Division, Human Rights Watch (HRW), 25 April 2016.
 The initial Article 7 report covered the period 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018.
 The April 2020 update covers the calendar year 2019.
 For details on the Philippines’ policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see HRW 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 as well as the First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2015 and intersessional meetings in 2011–2015 and the Preparatory meetings for the Second Review Conference held virtually in June and September 2020.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions”, UNGA Resolution 75/62, 7 December 2020. The Philippines voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 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 in Bali, Indonesia, 17 November 2009. Notes by Action on Armed Violence.
 “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 75/193, 16 December 2020.
 Letter from Leslie B. Gatan, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the UN in New York, 2 March 2009.
 These weapons were not referenced in the annual update provided on 30 April 2020.
 To date, this is the only such bomb to have been found in the Philippines, and no adaptor has been recovered. Philippines Campaign Against Cluster Munitions (PCCM) meeting with Col. Gerry Amante, Commander of the AFP 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.
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. 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. “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. 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. 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 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.
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. 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. 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 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. Periodic reports of improvised mine use attributed to the ASG have continued to emerge.
Previously, in March 2014, the Philippine government 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 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.
The NPA has continued to use command-detonated IEDs throughout 2019 and 2020. 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.”
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.
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 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.
 Monitor interview with Alfredo Lubang, Coordinator, Philippines Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL), 16 August 2020.
 Text of Senate Bill provided by email to the Monitor by Alfredo Lubang, Coordinator, PCBL, 10 September 2017.
 See, ICBL, “Country Profile: Philippines: Mine Ban Policy profile,” 21 November 2016.
 Text of Senate Bill provided by email to the Monitor by Alfredo Lubang, Coordinator, PCBL, 10 September 2017.
 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.
 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.”
 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.
 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, 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.”
 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.
 Government of the Philippines, “Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro,” 28 March 2014.
 Email from Alfredo Lubang, Coordinator, PCBL, 10 October 2017.
 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.
 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 the FSD in June 2015 in Sarangani, 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 2014, the Republic of the Philippines has received more than US$4 million in international support, most of which came from the European Union, which contributed $4.4 million to the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) in 2015, 2017, and 2018.
In 2016, Norway contributed NOK1.8 million (approximately $220,000) to support clearance and risk education activities. While in 2014, Switzerland provided CHF43,500 ($47,557) to Mines Advisory Group for clearance activities.
Summary of international contributions: 2014–2018
International contributions (US$)
 Emails from Frank Meeussen, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Export Control, European External Action Service (EEAS), 30 September 2016, 25 October 2018, and 30 September 2019. Average exchange rate for 2015: €1=1.1096, for 2017: €1=US$1.1301, and for 2018: €1=US$1.1817. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 2 January 2019.
 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.