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Philippines: ICRC concerned by death of civilians

21-02-2012 News Release 12/36

Manila (ICRC) – Following the attack on 19 February on the Kidapawan city jail, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is extremely concerned by the indiscriminate killing of bystanders and of a Red Cross volunteer responding to the scene.

Arriving in the area after it was declared safe and clear, a Philippine Red Cross emergency response team observed a small number of people injured and property damaged by bullets that had been indiscriminately fired in all directions.

"A makeshift bomb left in the area then exploded, killing a volunteer ambulance driver, Benny "Daddy" Balmediano, while the Red Cross team was attending to those injured in the attack on the jail," said Jean-Daniel Tauxe, the head of the ICRC delegation in the Philippines.

"We deplore the injury or death of anyone carrying out humanitarian duties," he said. "We would like to stress that civilians and humanitarian workers must be protected at all times."

The indiscriminate use of weapons is inconsistent with basic notions of humanity. The ICRC and the Philippine Red Cross call on all concerned to respect those responding to emergencies, including Red Cross workers.

"It is tragic for a humanitarian worker, who was also a father and whose sole purpose on the scene was to alleviate suffering and save lives, to be a victim of violence," said Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon.

For further information, please contact:
Allison Lopez, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 908 868 68 84