Thursday, March 01, 2012

AFP, PNP to undergo CARHRIHL seminar

The Government of the Philippines-Monitoring Committee (GPH-MC) will conduct basic orientation seminars for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), a peace agenda agreement signed by both the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
These seminars will be held in Tarlac City on March 1 and Lucena City on March 14, for the AFP Northern Luzon Command and the Southern Luzon Command, respectively, and for the PNP provincial and regional officers in both areas. In October last year, seminars were also held for the PNP and AFP Eastern Mindanao Command and Central Command.
“We hope to further promote adherence to international human rights from our security forces and welcome this opportunity of working with the unified commands. We anticipate that the initiative coupled with improved cooperation with other stakeholders will over time result in better conditions on the ground,” said Undersecretary Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Chair of the GPH-MC.
CARHRIHL orientation seminars aim to enhance the security forces’ training in human rights and international humanitarian law principles as part of the education and information campaign of the GPH-MC. They also encourage the security forces to document and report CARHRIHL violations.
Participation in CARHRIHL orientations are “all part of the AFP’s continuing efforts towards enhancing the culture for human rights, international humanitarian law, and the rule of Law among our officers and soldiers, most especially those assigned on the ground,” according to Col. Domingo J. Tutaan Jr. (GSC) PA, Chief of the AFP Human Rights Office. He also emphasized that besides compliance, soldiers, as protectors of the people and state, need to understand and internalize the peace agreement’s provisions and principles.
The orientation seminar in Lucena City also commemorates the 14th year anniversary of the signing of CARHRIHL by the GPH and the NDFP on March 16,1998.
The first of four substantive peace agenda items, which will constitute the final peace settlement, CARHRIHL seeks to uphold principles of human rights and international humanitarian law in the context of armed conflict.
The other substantive agenda items still to be tackled by the GPH and NDFP Negotiating Parties are (a) socio-economic reforms; (b) political and constitutional reforms; and (c) end of hostilities and disposition of forces.
The CARHRIHL establishes a Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC), composed of representatives of both the government and the NDFP, as an interim mechanism for adherence to the CARHRIHL. The GPH-MC is the government section of the JMC. The two sections separately uphold, protect and promote the principles of the CARHRIHL until a final peace agreement is reached.
Peace talks between the government and the NDFP have stalled for over a year owing to the communist group’s continued insistence on the release of detainees it claims to be covered under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).
However the verification mechanism for the JASIG failed in mid-2011 when the NDFP was unable to produce photographs and identification of its JASIG-covered personalities. The NDFP claimed that these photographs were stored in diskettes rather than in hard copy per JASIG stipulation.  The diskettes could not be decrypted.
A March 1, 2012 press release from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines

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