By Wilnard Bacelonia

(Logo courtesy of ICRC)

MANILA – Senate Majority Leader Francis “Tol” Tolentino on Tuesday recommended to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to seek the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the delivery of supplies to Filipino troops deployed in BRP Sierra Madre at the Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“In view of the escalating conditions in the West Philippine Sea, particularly near the Ayungin Shoal relative to our resupply missions, my humble recommendation is to seek the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross based in Geneva, Switzerland,” Tolentino said in his letter to DFA Secretary Enrique Manalo.

“The ICRC under the Geneva Convention can facilitate the necessary humanitarian aid to our Navy personnel living in BRP Sierra Madre, and would pave the way for the delivery of the needed food supplies by our soldiers therein,” he said.

The lawmaker made the call amid the continued harassment of the China Coast Guard and Chinese militia against resupply missions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Coast Guard.

Tolentino said the DFA, together with Task Force WPS, can undertake this step which is in accordance to the international law.

The senator believes that China can never harass the ICRC, being a neutral organization in charge of providing assistance under International Humanitarian Law.

“Kahit si [Adolf] Hitler, hindi ginawa yon (Even Adolf Hitler never did that),” Tolentino said.

The ICRC, founded in 1863 and based in Geneva, Switzerland, is an independent and neutral organization dedicated to helping individuals impacted by conflicts and armed violence.

With over 21,000 employees in more than 100 countries, the ICRC upholds laws that protect war victims, and operates primarily on voluntary donations from governments, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. (PNA)