+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Email Notification Receive notifications when this Country Profile is updated.


Send us your feedback on this profile

Send the Monitor your feedback by filling out this form. Responses will be channeled to editors, but will not be available online. Click if you would like to send an attachment. If you are using webmail, send attachments to .


Last Updated: 17 December 2012

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact

The Philippines is affected by explosive remnants of war (ERW), especially unexploded ordnance (UXO), as a result of long-running, low-level insurgencies by the New People’s Army (NPA) and other non-state armed groups, mainly in Mindanao. The extent to which it is also affected by mines is unclear.


The Philippines has consistently denied in its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports, the latest of which covers 2009, that it has any mined areas containing antipersonnel mines.[1] However, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) continue to claim that the NPA uses antipersonnel mines.[2]

The NPA has denied using mines, but acknowledges that it continues to use “command-detonated explosives” in attacks on government security forces. A 2012 statement by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Central Committee urges the NPA to use landmines “to impede enemy troop movement or harass any encamped force” and encourages them to “produce explosives from unexploded munitions of the enemy.”[3] Many incidents attributed to the NPA, although often reported as landmine attacks, appear to involve IEDs.[4]

Explosive remnants of war

The Philippines has UXO contamination from recent conflicts between the government and non-state armed groups, mainly on the southern island of Mindanao, causing civilian and military casualties. It also contends with large amounts of UXO and abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO), including chemical weapons that date back to World War II.

The AFP says that 30% of total ordnance in Mindanao is UXO. Fighting between armed groups associated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Muslim Barangay, Guindulungan, Maguindanao, in December 2010 may have resulted in more UXO contamination in the area (see above).[5]

Some 4,000 World War II-era shells and other explosive items were collected for destruction in March (see Mine Action Program below). In other discoveries, at least 21 artillery shells were discovered in a warehouse in Binondo, Manila, in February 2012.[6] Other bombs were found in Muntinlupa City in Manila, in Calapan City in Mindoro, Kawit in Cebu City, and Surigao del Norte.[7]

Mine Action Program

The Philippines has no formal program for dealing with mines, IEDs, or ERW. Clearance has been conducted by a range of government actors, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the police.

In March 2011, the Philippines and the US conducted a “Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Exercise” in which some 4,000 World War II-era artillery shells and other ageing ordnance, including aircraft bombs, land and sea mines, and depth charges, were collected from Caballo Island in Manila Bay and shipped to a military gunnery range in Tarlac. These were destroyed by a series of detonations, the last of them initiated by President Benigno Aquino himself. The Philippine Navy said ordnance with a total explosive weight of 364,348 lb (nearly 163 tons) had been destroyed in the exercise, which involved explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Philippine National Police and the Coast Guard. President Aquino reportedly said the threat posed by the ordnance on Caballo Island had represented one of the major problems facing his administration.[8]

Safety of demining personnel

At least three EOD personnel from the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force were killed in Taguig City after a mortar shell they had taken to a welding shop to be defused reportedly exploded. Another EOD team member and eight others were reported injured.[9]


[1] Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2009), Form C.

[2] See, for example, “Philippines condemns rebel landmine attack,” Agence France-Presse, 29 November 2011; Paul M. Gutierrez, “10th ID uncovers NPA ‘bomb-making complex’ in Mindanao,” Journal Online, 2 April 2011; and “Landmine Incidents (1 April 2010 to 21 February 2011),” received from the AFP Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, J3, 28 February 2011.

[3] CCP Central Committee, “Strengthen the people’s army and intensify the people’s war,” Message to the New People’s Army, 29 March 2012, p. 21.

[4] See for example, Mar S. Arguelles, “Soldiers led by colonel escape landmine blast,” Inquirer News, 7 September 2011.

[5] Email from Cliff Alvarico, Field Associate, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Cotabato Field Office, Cotabato City, 28 January 2011.

[6] Sandy Araneta, “21 vintage bombs found in Binondo warehouse, The Philippine Star, 1 February 2012.

[7] Bernadette A. Parco,  “Vintage bombs probably used as ‘booby trap’: archaeologist,” Sunstar.com.ph, 1 February 2012; “Vintage bomb found in Calapan City”, The Mindoro Post, 13 November 2011; Mike U. Crismundo,2 live vintage bombs unearthed,” Tempo, 29 July 2011; Karen Boncocan, “Muntinlupa police recover vintage bomb.” Inquirer.net,; “Two killed in WWII bomb explosion in the Philippines,” The Mindanao Examiner, 20 July 2011.

[8]LSS-EOD eliminated the hazard of explosive remnants of war,” Philippine National Police Logistic Support Service, undated but accessed 24 January 2012; Aurea Calica, “Noy leads detonation of 4,000 vintage bombs at Crow Valley,” The Philippine Star, 6 March 2011.

[9] Jamie Marie Elona, “4 dead, 8 injured in Taguig blast,” Inquirer.net, 25 January 2012.