Bombing of lumad schools against int’l humanitarian law – CHR

Bombing of lumad schools against int’l humanitarian law – CHR

11 August 2017


Bombing of lumad schools against int’l humanitarian law – CHR

QUEZON CITY—The Commission on Human Rights took a stand against threats to bomb lumad schools saying that it would violate the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) that gives protection to non-combatants, civilians, as well as civilian properties and institutions, during armed conflict.

“Paalala lang na ang pambobomba ng mga eskwelahan, ospital o anumang institusyong sibilyan ay labag po sa International Humanitarian Law. Tungkulin po ng estado na respetuhin ito,” said CHR Chairperson Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon in light of the celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on Wednesday, August 9, and IHL Month this entire August.

(We are reminding that the bombing of schools, hospitals, or any civilian institution violates IHL.

It is the responsibility of the State to respect this.)

Schools are zones of peace and are regarded under IHL as protected civilian objects. Attacks on schools during conflict is one of the six grave violations against children in situations of armed conflict identified and condemned by the UN Security Council.

Reacting to recent statements encouraging the military to bomb lumad schools, Chairperson Gascon also reminded the Armed Forces of the Philippines to remain true to their mandate and adhere to the precepts of IHL.

The CHR Chairperson said that, instead of a militarist approach, the government should focus on delivering socio-economic interventions to indigenous peoples’ (IP) communities.

“Sa tingin ko ang solusyon diyan ay hindi military. Ang solusyon diyan ay socio-economic services—bigyan ng eskwelahan, pabahay, at iba pang mga pangagailangan ng mga pamayanan ng mga lumad at protektahan ang mga lupang ninuno.”


(I think the solution is not the military. The solution is the delivery of socio-economic services— providing schools, housing, and other needs of IP communities and protect their native land.)

Addressing IP concerns

Chairperson Gascon also noted that there are about 17 million IPs in the country, but their voices has yet to be heard. “We will double our efforts to advocate and push for the realization of IP rights,” he asserted.

“One effort is that we are making is a National Inquiry on IP rights. We will do it over a long period of time so we can collect all the data on what is happening to our indigenous peoples and come up with a National Report.”

The said National Inquiry kicked-off last May this year in Iloilo and was headed by CHR Commissioners Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana and Roberto Eugenio Cadiz. There will be similar dialogues in Luzon and Mindanao.

The Commission continues to encourage both the national and local governments to fully implement the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997.

IPs continue to face issues on entitlement to their ancestral lands; access to basic social services; lack of roads, health centers, and school buildings in their communities; as well as threats to their culture and tradition, among others.

Advocating the rights of IPs, Chairperson Gascon asserted that, ultimately, “they are marginalized; they are disadvantaged; and we need to ensure that their voice is heard.” ###



Contact Person:

Atty. Jacqueline Ann C. de Guia
Director, Public Affairs and Strategic Communication Office
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