The National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), led by its President, Dir Ferdinand M Cartujano, in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), headed by its Resident Representative Dr. Vinzenz Huzel, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), represented by RADM Donn Anthony Miraflor PN, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Education, Training, and Doctrine, J8, held three consecutive activities of the Operational Law Seminar Series, namely the 10th Operational Law (OPLAW) Seminar on 11 to 16 September 2022, the 2nd OPLAW Training-of-Trainers. Seminar on 18 to 20 September 2022, and the pioneering OPLAW Course for Media Practitioners on 21 to 24 September 2022.
The OPLAW is a tripartite partnership among NDCP, FES, and AFP in line with the organizers’ intent to promote international law, security sector reform, and the legitimate use of force while pursuing national security interests. As part of NDCP’s research extension services being administered by the Research and Special Studies Division (RSSD), the OPLAW serves the research and training mandate and major final outputs of the College.
Various officials from the AFP (active military personnel occupying O-4 to O-6 ranks), civilian national government agencies, and members of civil society organizations participated in the five-day 10th OPLAW Seminar Course, where participants engaged in scenario exercises to appreciate the applicability, scope, limits, and nuances of operational law in armed conflicts, and weighed in on how military forces should deal with a wide array of operational challenges while complying with the laws of armed conflict.
Meanwhile, the two-day OPLAW Training of Trainers helped future trainers who had previously taken the regular OPLAW Seminar in order to better prepare them for the sustainability of OPLAW in the country. The intention was to build a pool of facilitators and subject matter experts on the legal dimension of military operations.
Summing up the OPLAW series of activities, the OPLAW for Media Practitioners was a 3-day activity conducted to better acquaint members of the media industry with the complexities and challenges surrounding military operations during armed conflict. It is meant for the media personnel to start having a working knowledge of the rules governing armed conflict so that they would better understand the context and constraints that military personnel find themselves in.
In his closing remarks during the OPLAW Seminar graduation ceremony, the NDCP President, LtGen Cartujano, underscored that the graduates were equipped to participate in discussions about values, philosophies, policies, strategies, doctrines, operations, and even tactics in relation to armed conflict. LtGen Cartujano also highlighted the crucial role of nuances in military operations.