In observation of the International Mine Action Day on 4 April 2014, the Philippine Army and Police destroyed stockpiles of recovered landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The destruction was carried out with the support of FSD and its local partner, the Philippines Campaign to Ban landmines (PCBL)
The mines and IEDs had been recovered from New People’s Army (NPA) camps in Eastern Mindanao and are part of a larger stockpile still to be destroyed. The demolitions were carried out on the 4th to emphasise the Philippine government’s commitment to the Mine Ban Treaty in destroying all mines and IEDs that fall into its possession and to demonstrate the destructive effects of the command wire IEDs encountered in Mindanao.
Although the New People’s Army (NPA - the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines) has formally pledged in writing not to use antipersonnel mines, it continues to use command-detonated IEDs, referred to by the Philippine authorities and the media as “landmines.” The NPA’s latest use of such a device in Mindanao was on the same day: April 4th, International Mine Day.
FSD teams also showed the materials currently used in mine and UXO risk education (MRE) in Mindanao. In combination with its UXO survey activities, FSD conducts MRE, and trains volunteer MRE providers in Muslim Mindanao and Zamboanga City. Later in the year, MRE training will be extended to volunteers in Eastern Mindanao and the islands of Basilan, Jolo and Tawi-Tawi. To ensure that MRE messages and materials are relevant to the areas in which they will be used, these will be developed and field-tested during the volunteers’ training.
UXO survey and risk education are amongst the activities carried out under the FSD’s “Mine Action Support to the Peace Process” programme in Mindanao. The programme is funded through the European Union’s Instrument for Stability (IfS).