Press Release
August 21, 2008

Lawmaker eyes supplemental budget for community rehabilitation, humanitarian mission

As he warns against an imminent civil war, Senator Bong Revilla called on the government to outline a mitigation plan, including a humanitarian mission, for the restoration of properties and livelihood of families displaced by the recent violence in Mindanao .

The senator stressed that military action against the rampage by the so-called MILF lost commands should be simultaneous with efforts to secure the lives and properties of the increasing internally displaced persons (IDPs). "The government should show its caring hand while with the other hand a clinched fist against those who advocate violence to impose the rule of law," Revilla said.

Revilla emphasized the role of the state to secure its territory and its subjects against all forms of violence. "The government must ensure the peace and tranquility in all areas of the country not only in the affected provinces but also throughout the region and the country. We should not allow the spillover of hostilities," he said.

Revilla noted that the properties of the most of the IDPs were already burned down by the rebels. "There were reports that some of the displaced families are now returning home but the question is if they still have a home to return to. We need a humanitarian mission to alleviate their plight," he said.

In pushing for the humanitarian mission, Revilla explained that this would not only ease the apprehension of some IDPs that the government is neglecting them but would also prevent the escalation of a civil war.

He cited reports that civilians in the rampaged areas are starting to arm themselves because according to them, the government can not fully protect their families and communities from the rebels.

Revilla further pointed out the declaration of the vigilante group Ilaga that they are ready for battle against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. "I do not want to be an alarmist but the possibility of a civil war fueled by strong emotions and frustrations can not be set aside. This will worsen the situation," he warned.

The lawmaker said he is willing to file a bill for the allocation of a supplemental budget to address the dilemma of thousands of displaced families. "If this is the only way to efficiently help our displaced kababayans, I will initiate the move," Revilla added.

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