MANILA -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Friday renewed its strict adherence to the International Humanitarian Law in light of the report published by the International Amnesty Law on the Battle of Marawi.
The IA report claimed that the Philippine armed forces detained and ill-treated fleeing civilians, and also engaged in looting.
The report also claimed that the extensive bombing of militant-held areas of Marawi city wiped out entire neighbourhoods and killed civilians, highlighting the need for an investigation into its compliance with international humanitarian law.
In his reaction, AFP spokesman Major General Restituto Padilla Jr. said the Philippine armed forces strictly adhered to the observance of the IHL during the course of the five-month battle in Marawi.
He said that their primordial mission was to save lives of the civilians trapped in the siege. Padilla said the safety and security of the government forces was the least of their priority. Proof to this, he said, was the rescue of 1,780 civilians and the death of 166 soldiers and policemen.
Meanwhile, AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said that the military is not inclined to believe reports from the AI until it sees the report in full.
We are yet to see the report that contains such allegations. That notwithstanding, the AFP has been coherent, consistent, and unequivocal," he said.
We have ensured that every member of the AFP is aware and reminded of the said commitment. Should there be infractions, we are determined to hold the violators liable," Arevalo added.
As the AFP remains strict in following the due proces of law, Padilla urged witnesses to the claims of looting and torture to file a formal complaint to the military.
Padilla encouraged complainants and witnesses to the alleged abuses by government forces to come out in the open and file the necessary complaints.
He assured the public that the AFP will not tolerate nor condone any misdeeds by their forces especially against the civilian populace they swore to protect.
Source: Philippine News Agency