Press Release
December 2, 2012


Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada is pushing for the passage of a law which aims to protect the rights and lives of victims of internal displacement caused by armed conflicts, mass violence and natural disasters.

"Internally displaced persons do not enjoy adequate protection and assistance compared to their counterparts who crossed an internationally recognized border. They experience suffering, neglect and deprivation," Sen. Estrada laments.

Section 3 of Senate Bill 530 defines "internal displacement" as "the forced or obliged movement of person or group of persons to flee or leave their homes or places of habitual residence, without crossing an internationally recognized State border, as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or other natural or human-made disasters."

Sen. Estrada cites an online report1 saying that fighting rebel groups in Central Mindanao in 2008 caused the forced displacement of 600,000 persons.

In another instance, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reveals that during the onslaught of typhoon Juaning in July 2011, more than 123,000 families or 614,688 individuals were reported to have been evacuated.

"The Philippines ranked third after Burma and Indonesia as countries in Southeast Asia with the most number of internally displaced persons and among the top forty (40) countries all over the world where internal displacement is considered as a significant phenomenon. Counterinsurgency operations and related military activities under the government's war on terrorism were identified as the leading causes of conflict-induced displacement in the country, especially in Mindanao," Sen. Estrada states in the bill's explanatory note.

The proposed measure is also to formulate a local mechanism to prevent the occurrence of and avoid conditions leading to internal displacement, in consonance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Senate Bill 530 contains terms on prohibition against internal displacement; protection against crime, discriminatory practices and curtailment of human freedoms during the period of displacement; extension of humanitarian assistance to IDPs; and provision of support during the return, resettlement or local integration of the IDPs.

[1] Accessible in the website of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR)

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