By LS MACATANGAY
NAGA CITY – The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Camarines Sur Chapter led the launching over the week end at Plaza Quezon here of the month-long awareness and advocacy drives in communities to popularize the International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
Nanette Rodrigazo, PRC Camarines Sur chapter administrator, explained the significance of raising the community’s awareness on the law of war or the law of armed conflict, noting that IHL seeks to ensure the full protection of non-combatants, respect for the use of the Red Cross protective emblems, and guarantee that all principles stipulated in the Geneva Convention will be implemented.
“This is the essence of our celebration of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL),” she said.
Clamrence Racquel S. Abada, PRC IHL and Red Cross Youth (RCY) coordinator, said that the organization has also invited PRC volunteers and youth members from various universities in the region to participate in the observance of the IHL month.
“We are happy that our youth, especially RCY members, are very enthusiastic in being a part of this momentous occasion – and this is what we really need, believing in the context that our students can help us in effectively disseminating the importance of IHL and other services that Red Cross is offering.”
Lt. Col. Erwin De Asis, G7 CMO of the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, who attended the launching rites said that the AFP’ support to the endeavors of the PRC has been attested by Army’s constant participation during blood letting activities, medical missions and other community services.
Lawyer Gilbert Morandarte, PRC IHL Committee chairman, also emphasized that medical and religious military personnel, wounded, shipwrecked and sick combatant, prisoners of wars, and most specifically civilians are being given full protection under this law.
“The law also states that women and children are given additional protection since they are the most vulnerable members of our society,” he said.
IHL is “a set of rules which place restrictions on the use of weapons and methods of warfare. ” It also protects those innocent persons or civilians who are not, and who are no longer participating in an armed conflict or hostilities as a result of armed struggles.
IHL also seeks to protect human dignity and to limit sufferings during times of war.
Also present during the occasion were members of PRC Camarines Sur Chapter Board of Directors, including PIA Camarines Sur manager Lizel Macatangay, secretary; Eudeza Racagad, treasurer; Mely De Guzman, auditor; and Eng. Cornelio Abesa, chair of the Committee on Disaster Management Service (DMS).