Press Release
November 10, 2009


DATU PIANG, North Cotabato - Sen. Loren Legarda yesterday called on the national government to provide a "viable livelihood program" for hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who have been displaced by the armed conflict in Mindanao.

In a visit here, Loren noted that the Philippines was ranked first in the number of internally displaced persons worldwide by registering 600,000 evacuees in 2008 The ranking was made by Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), a Geneva-based leading international body monitoring conflict-induced internal displacement.

Loren also called on the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to "faithfully observe their truce and to facilitate their peace talks in order to establish permanent peace in Mindanao. We must stop this fighting among brothers and sisters."

Loren also asked the Department of Health to provide more medical assistance to the evacuees after receiving reports that many of them are suffering from diseases, arising from overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and malnutrition.

Loren said that the upsurge in fighting between the Moro Islamic Liberation Forces and the government has caused the displacement of more than 950,000 persons since early August 2008. As of the end of August 2009, based on data from the government's National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), an estimated 66,000 families, or between 330,000 and 400,000 people, remained displaced in Mindanao.

Loren said that aside from their immediate needs for food, clothing and shelter, the evacuees desire to have jobs or to engage in livelihood activities in order that they can support themselves and their families and not be forever dependent on local and international aid.

"These evacuees from war do not want to be forever dependent upon charity. They desire to keep their dignity and secure their future by having stable employment and livelihood activities in farming, handicraft, small and medium industries, fishing and other productive activities," said Loren.

Loren called on the government national agencies like the departments of agriculture, trade and industry, Technical Skills and Development Authority, and others to provide assistance to local governments in Mindanao to provide livelihood projects for the Mindanao war refugees.

Loren also called on the Department of Education to establish temporary schools in the evacuation centers so as not to disrupt the studies of children of school age among the evacuees.

The overwhelming majority of the displaced are located in the Autnomous Region for Muslim Mindanao, where 62,000 families or 310,000-370,000 live in evacuation centers, most of them in Maguindanao Province.

A further 3,800 families were reported to be still displaced in Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat Provinces and 260 families in Lanao del Norte Province (NDCC IDP Taskforce, 26 August 2009).

In addition to people displaced in 2008, many who had fled the 2000 and 2003 wars are still unable to return or have not found durable solutions, said Loren.

News Latest News Feed