The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) released a statement yesterday expressing its disappointment about the recent vetoing of the Rights of the IDP Act of 2013 by the President of the Philippines, His Excellency Benigno Aquino.
The IDP Act, vetoed last week by the President, would have strengthened the already significant efforts made by the Philippines government over the past decade to assist and protect the millions of people who have been displaced by conflict, violence and natural disasters in the country.
The adoption of the IDP Act by the Congress last February was hailed by IDMC as an important development for thousands of IDPs in the Philippines, and a positive example for a country where internal displacement is a recurring feature caused by factors such as frequent disasters, poverty, population growth, conflict and violence.
For example, it is estimated that nearly two million people (1,993,000) were displaced in the province of Mindanao during 2012, including 178,000 people who were displaced by conflict (armed conflict, clan feuds, crime and violence). Natural disasters, in particular Typhoon Bopha (Pablo), accounted for 91 per cent of all displacements.
While the last-minute veto of the IDP Act is certainly disappointing, it is essential that efforts are taken to launch a new IDP legislative initiative as soon as possible. By giving itself the legislative tools to better prevent and respond to displacement, the government would be addressing one the key drivers of vulnerability and poverty in the country. It would also set an example of legislative pioneering that other countries in the region experiencing large-scale internal displacement can follow.
Read the full statement here.
For more information on displacement in the Philippines, see our country page.