BARMM solons call for swift passage of bill seeking to protect displaced persons
MANILA, Philippines — Three members of the Bangsamoro parliament are pushing for the swift passage of a measure seeking to protect the rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) with a comprehensive regional instrument that covers both national and international laws, as well as the needs and aspirations of locals in the region.
Member of Parliament Deputy Speaker Laisa Alamia, Amir Mawallil, and Ras Mitmug called for the approval of Private Member Bill No. 20 or the “Rights of Internally Displaced Persons of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region Act,” filed in September last year.
According to the members, a similar measure Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) No. 32, was filed by the Government of the Day last September.
“We filed this bill as early as our first terms as members of the Bangsamoro Parliament, but it remained unapproved. We refiled it again in our second term, and we really hope this time that this will be approved for the benefit of our IDPs,” said Alamia in a statement issued Sunday.
Private Member Bill No. 20 states that there are over 104,000 IDPs in the country based on the UN High Commissioner on Refugees’ data. Of this number, 89,000 are from the Bangsamoro Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which were forced to flee their residences “due to armed conflict but have not crossed international borders yet.”
Mawallil stressed the importance of passing legislation to protect IDPs who remain vulnerable and easily victimized.
“As long as they remain IDPs and as long as there are no laws to protect them, they remain vulnerable to several things: physical attack, sexual assault, abduction, and the deprivation of adequate food, shelter, and government services. The UN itself said these IDPs are also subject to a higher mortality rate,” said Mawallil.
“This is why we are strongly advocating for the approval of this measure so that we can put in place protection measures for our IDPs. Marami sa IDPs natin ay mga kapatid nating Moro at indigenous peoples. For us, this is a measure of compassion and protection,” he added.
Members of the parliament said the two bills mentioned are both pending before the Committee on Social Services and Development and propose a framework for protecting and advancing the rights and welfare of IDPs.