Duterte signs EO protecting services for refugees, stateless persons, asylum seekers
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has institutionalized access to protection services for refugees, stateless persons, and asylum seekers.
Duterte signed Executive Order No. 163, a copy of which was sent to reporters on Wednesday.
Under the order, the Philippines acknowledges the importance and enduring relevance of the 1951 United Nations (UN) Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, 1954 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Person, and 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, “and has taken steps to strengthen the existing legal framework and mechanisms for the protection of refugees, stateless persons and asylum seekers in the country… and address their need for protection, especially in times of public emergencies.”
With this, the country will protect the persons of concern’s (POCs) rights to liberty, security, and mobility.
“These shall include the provision of access to socio-economic services, social security benefits, gainful employment, and humane working conditions, education, participation in judicial and administrative citizenship proceedings, legal assistance and access to courts, and freedom of religion,” the order reads.
It added: “POCs have the concomitant obligation to abide by the laws and regulations of the country, including measures relating to the protection of public health, and maintenance of public order and national security.”
An Inter-Agency Committee on the Protection of Refugees, Stateless Persons and Asylum Seekers is likewise established to provide services and assistance to the said individuals.
Meanwhile, local government units are “encouraged to support the integration of the POCs within their communities, conduct information and awareness campaigns, and make available the necessary programs and services to facilitate such integration in local development frameworks, including development programming and emergency response and recovery frameworks.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.