Bill on displaced persons gathers dust in Congress


A measure that grants compensation for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) has been gathering dust in Congress.

This is because House Bill 4744 or the proposed IDP Act has not been acted upon by the Senate even if the measure has been approved by the House of Representatives in August 2014.

Under the bill, the family of an IDP who lost a relative will receive a P50,000 compensation from the government. Likewise, those IDPs who suffered physical, emotional and psychological injuries will receive amounts of money corresponding to the actual and compensatory damages such as moral, nominal, exemplary and temperate damages as determined by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

Akbayan party-list Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez, one of the authors of the measure, noted that the approval of the IDP Act will be a strong reaffirmation of the commitment of both the House and the government to ensure that victims of internal displacements due to natural calamities and armed conflicts are fully protected.

“For too long, the victims of arbitrary internal displacements are left to fend for themselves, with inadequate government support, due to lack of legal support on how the state should handle their plights. And because they [the victims]need to survive, they become increasingly vulnerable to ill-treatments and exploitation of unscrupulous people who generate profits from their helplessness,” Gutierrez pointed out.

“Through this bill, these IDPs will be provided adequate protection and care by the government, assured of their human rights and dignity and protected from all form of abuses and exploitation that will help fasttrack their recovery. We look forward to gaining the support of the members of the Senate on this important legislation that will ensure the quick approval of the Senate version of the bill,” Gutierrez said.

An earlier version of the measure was rejected by the President back in 2013 because of the provision empowering the CHR to determine damages incurred by IDPs which the Chief Executive claims was a violation of the exclusive power of the judiciary.

Based on government records, the number of individuals affected by the ongoing military offensive in Central Mindanao against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters has already reached 93,402.

An additional evacuation center was recently opened in Datu Anggal Midtimbang to accommodate the evacuees.


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