On February 23 and 24, 2015, the Palawan State University shall welcome some very notable luminaries in the field of International Humanitarian Law. They will come to the PSU Main Campus in Tiniguiban to hold a forum which mainly serves as a Training Seminar on International Humanitarian Law, made possible with the approval of PSU President Dr. Jeter S. Sepeñe who has proactively encouraged the PSU community to celebrate the school’s 50th Golden Jubilee through activities such as this one.

This has come to the attention of the University with the endorsement of no less than PSU Office of Legal Affairs and Adjudication Director Atty. Joselito C. Alisuag.

“The community is searching for peace. As an academe, we (the PSU) are the catalyst for peace and we are also a part of settling of disputes whether local or international. In a lot of conflicts in the past, the academe has been involved in dispute resolution. That is the concept of a University,” said Atty. Alisuag.

The Training Seminar on IHL initiated by the University of the Philippines, in collaboration with Palawan State University, shall be conducted by key personalities in the industry. Expected to share their expertise are Atty. Maricel R. Seno, Atty. Romel Bagares, Dean Merlin M. Magallona, Prof. H. Harry L. Roque, Jr., Dean Raul Pangalangan, Atty. Julius M. Concepcion, Asst. Secretary Gary J. Domingo and Atty. Celeste Cembrano-Mallari. As of this writing, the PSU is also seeking to finalize the inclusion of a representative from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

It is within PSU’s interest to stand on neutral ground and offer itself as a venue to initiate peace. Atty. Alisuag went on to continue, “The academe is seen as a neutral party in times of conflict. We (the PSU) are viewed as apolitical. We have no biases and we are objective. This is not only a quest for truth but also a quest for justice.”

In a proposal previously submitted by the Institute of International Legal Studies of the University of the Philippines Law Center discussing this upcoming IHL Training Seminar, it was established that “International Humanitarian Law forms a major part of public international law. It comprises the rules which, in times of armed conflict, seek to protect people who are not or are no longer taking part in the hostilities, regulate the conduct of armed conflict and limit its effects. It also restricts the methods and means of warfare employed.”

The Palawan State University has committed to inviting participants composed of members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, lawyers, journalists, students and faculty members. Moreover, IILS-UP Law Center Director H. Harry L. Roque, Jr. has established a set of objectives which the IHL Training Seminar aims to achieve:

  1. To equip the participants with the basic knowledge in the field of IHL as well as the human rights law and international criminal law applicable to armed conflicts;
  2. To enhance knowledge of the latest IHL laws and treaties applicable in the Philippines;
  3. To discuss the relevant legal frameworks, mechanisms and methodologies that may be used to address violations of conflict;
  4. To look into the underlying objectives of monitoring and enforcement activities, paying particular attention to the legal, policy and operational challenges;
  5. To enrich local practices and enforcements in the region through the lectures that will be provided.

The 2-day Training Seminar is expected to touch on various legal issues concerning International Humanitarian Law and matters on armed conflict such as the tragic encounter that took place in Mamasapano in Maguindanao which saw fatalities on two sides, namely the PNP Special Action Forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.