'War in Cities' exhibit in Intramuros officially opens to the public

Christina Quiambao, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2022 06:42 AM | Updated as of Aug 19 2022 08:37 PM

'War in Cities' exhibition launch on August 18 at Fort Santiago, Intramuros. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
'War in Cities' exhibition launch on August 18 at Fort Santiago, Intramuros. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

(UPDATED) A child's desk riddled with bullet holes, a doll with a half-burnt face, and a visual aid from school coated in dust are some of the items displayed in the "War in Cities" exhibit, highlighting the after-effects of armed conflict in cities. 

The exhibit was officially launched on Thursday, August 18, by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in partnership with the Embassy of Switzerland and the Intramuros Administration at Fort Santiago, Intramuros. 

In the Fort Santiago Tunnel, various items from Iraq and the Philippines, specifically from the Zamboanga City crisis in 2013 and the Marawi Siege in 2017, are displayed for the public to view.

Boris Michel, delegation head of the ICRC Philippines, said the exhibit aims to "tell the stories of people" who encounter armed conflict around the world. 

"Going through this exhibit will be a very good experience for anyone to teach anybody about what's happening in the world," he said.

During the launch, a panel discussion with Filipino historian Ambeth Ocampo, Armed Forces of the Philippines Col. Alvin Luzon, and ICRC Philippines Head of the Water and Habitat team William James Corkill discussed the impact of "protracted conflict" in cities and how authorities can encourage and reinforce respect for international humanitarian law in these situations. 

Corkill discussed how armed conflict affects essential services such as water supply and electricity, from his personal experiences during the Ukraine conflict in 2016 to 2020. 

Meanwhile, Luzon detailed the Philippine Army's experiences in preventing further damage to infrastructures and civilians during the Marawi Siege in 2017. 

Ocampo, on the other hand, explained the importance of preserving and protecting these remnants of historical events for the sake of memory and identity. 

"War and conflict spares no one. Loss of life is a loss of of our family and friends. Loss of cultural property is a loss for memory and identity," he said. 

The exhibit is part of the commemoration of the International Humanitarian Law Month in the Philippines, and will remain open to the public until August 31, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. 

While the exhibit in itself is free, according to an ICRC official, Fort Santiago charges an entrance fee of P70 for regular guests and P50 for students, persons with disabilities and senior citizens.