Phil Red Cross CamSur marks Int’l Humanitarian Law month

By Ana-liza Macatangay


“Humanitarian Law dissemination is now more essential than ever to inform the general public, along with key stakeholders, the value of their rights, and their ability to exercise this as active citizenry in order to enable the public to not only ensure their own safety and security, but to enable their ability to seek and find solutions in good health, and meaningfully practice civic engagement.”


This was the message of Philippine Red Cross (PRC)-Camarines Sur Chapter Board Chairman Fermin Mabulo during the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) zoom activity dubbed “Humanitarian Law Dissemination” spearheaded by the chapter on Aug. 18.


Mabulo, the mayor of San Fernando, Camarines Sur and the president of the League of Municipal Mayors in the province, said that human rights had always been his central priority.


“We must follow a human based approach- to policy, decision-making process, to procedural rights, and to planning the future of the citizens of the Philippines. Both my daughter and I have been staunch advocates of human rights and humanitarian laws and policy,” Mabulo said.


In her keynote speech, lawyer Marion Eloisa E. Legacion, also a member of the PRC Board of Directors and head of the Committee on IHL, stated that the chapter is not only a staunch advocate but an implementor of Humanitarian Law.


“The main objective of IHL is to protect those who do not take part in the fighting, such as civilians and medical, religious and military personnel. It also protects those who have ceased to take part, such as wounded, shipwrecked and sick combatants, and prisoners of war,” Legacion added.


Legacion further said that in matters of IHL, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) takes the lead.


“It is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusive humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance.”


Maria Felisa Badiola, PRC Camarines Sur officer-in-charge, said that the chapter will continue to advocate the preservation of the rights of the civilian, particularly all groups, who shall be under the protection of the IHL as per the provisions of the Geneva convention.


“Every year, on the 18th of August, we commemorate the signing of the 1949 Geneva Convention. We advocate the importance of IHL to the public and we want to share this information to everyone. We commemorate it this year, with the Department of Foreign Affairs as this years’ IHL Adhoc Committee chair,” Badiola said.


This year’s IHL theme is “Upholding the Law of Armed Conflict amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic Protecting Humanity for healing and recovery.”


The zoom IHL activity was participated in by PRC Camarines Sur directors, chapter personnel, 9th Infantry Division thru the G7 units from battalions and brigades, and personnel of the Camarines Sur Police Provincial Office.


Personnel of unicipal police stations, Red Cross Youth (RCY) advisers and 143 RCY staff and other volunteers also attended the online session. (PIA5/Camarines Sur)