AFP personnel urged to also act as human rights defenders

AFP personnel urged to also act as human rights defenders

MANILA – Aside from being the mandated defenders of the people and the state, all Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) personnel must be able to act as human rights officers.

AFP Human Rights Office chief, Col. Joel Alejandro Nacnac, made the call following the virtual participation of 300 military personnel in the 2020 Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Summit on Dec. 11.

“The AFP shall continue to adhere to human rights, IHL, and the rule of law. As participants of this summit, we are expected to guard these rights in our communities and areas of responsibility,” Nacnac said in a statement Sunday.

He added that all AFP personnel must be aware and informed of various laws dealing with human rights and IHL so that they can also function as such, if needed.

“We have to study further the different laws so that all of us will be equipped and capacitated to act as human rights officers,” Nacnac said.

Speakers in the said forum included lawyer Francis Tom Temprosa, Director of the Human Rights Education and Promotion Office of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR); Rosemarie Trajano, Secretary General of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates; Ricardo Lucero Jr. of the International Committee of the Red Cross; and lawyer Randy Escolango, Deputy Commissioner of the Insurance Commission.

Reserve Col. Philip Siegfried Fortun of the Fortun Narvasa and Salazar Law Firm also served as a reactor to the presentations of the speakers.

“I’d like to congratulate the AFP Human Rights Office and the participants for taking the time today to listen, the result of which is a significant engagement of all of our partners in human rights with the AFP, the individual empowerment through education, and having a perfect celebration of human rights day,” Fortun said his rejoinder.

Meanwhile, some 81 AFP personnel also joined a blood-letting activity dubbed as “Dugtong Alay ng Puso: Buhay para sa Sangkatauhan” of the Commission on Human RIghts on December 12 at Diliman, Quezon City.

The blood-letting drive is part of a week-long celebration of the Human Rights Day observed every 10th day of December.

“As public servants, we have voluntarily taken the duty to put the rights of others before us. We expect everyone’s commitment in ensuring that their messages not merely remain as words, that it should resonate with us and live with us,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said in a statement. (PNA)

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