Philippines -August 2003 - The Internal Displacement Monitoring

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Philippines -August 2003 - The Internal Displacement Monitoring
PROFILE OF INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT :
PHILIPPINES
Compilation of the information available in the Global IDP
Database of the Norwegian Refugee Council
(as of 13 August, 2003)
Also available at http://www.idpproject.org
Users of this document are welcome to credit the Global IDP Database for the collection of information.
The opinions expressed here are those of the sources and are not necessarily shared by the Global IDP
Project or NRC
Norwegian Refugee Council/Global IDP Project
Chemin Moïse Duboule, 59
1209 Geneva - Switzerland
Tel: + 41 22 799 07 00
Fax: + 41 22 799 07 01
E-mail : [email protected]
CONTENTS
CONTENTS
1
PROFILE SUMMARY
6
INSECURITY AND INSUFFICIENT ASSISTANCE HAMPERS RETURN
6
CAUSES AND BACKGROUND OF DISPLACEMENT
11
B ACKGROUND
11
GENERAL DEMOGRAPHICS IN ARRM AND CONFLICT -AFFECTED AREAS (2003)
11
THE ISSUE OF LAND
13
GOVERMENT AND MILF COMPETE OVER MINDANAO'S NATURAL RESOURCES
14
P EACE AND ORDER IN MINDANAO: ABU SAYYAF, PARAMILITARY GROUPS AND CONFLICT OVER
LAND (SEPTEMBER 2002)
16
THE INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT (SEPTEMBER 2002)
17
REVIEW OF CONFLICT -RELATED DISPLACEMENT INCIDENTS DURING 2001
19
REVIEW OF CONFLICT -RELATED DISPLACEMENT INCIDENTS DURING 2002 (AUGUST 2002)
20
CAUSES OF DISPLACEMENT
21
CONFLICT AND DISPLACEMENT IN MINDANAO (1996-2000)
21
MILITARY OFFENSIVES AGAINST THE MILF CAUSE MASSIVE DISPLACEMENT DURING 2000
23
GOVERNMENT CRACKDOWN ON ABU SAYAFF CAUSES DISPLACEMENT IN BASILAN AND SULTAN
KUDARAT (JULY 2003)
24
MILITARY OPERATIONS AGAINST NPA IN MINDORO ORIENTAL FORCE PEOPLE TO FLEE
(NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2002)
26
RESUMPTION OF FIGHTING BETWEEN GRP AND THE MILF DISPLACES SOME 400,000 PEOPLE
(NOVEMBER 2002- MAY 2003)
26
OTHER CAUSES OF DISPLACEMENT
28
LUMADS FLEE HARASSMENT BY ANTI-COMMUNIST GROUPS (NOVEMBER 2002)
28
IDPS RE-DISPLACED BY ELECTIONS (MAY 2001)
29
DISPLACEMENT CAUSED BY BANDITRY (MAY 2001)
30
PEACE EFFORTS
30
GRP-CPP/NPA/NDF P EACE P ROCESS (SEPTEMBER 2002)
30
GRP-MNLF P EACE P ROCESS (SEPTEMBER 2002)
32
GRP-MILF P EACE P ROCESS (JULY 2003)
35
POPULATION PROFILE AND FIGURES
41
GENERAL
SELECTED MINDANAO STATISTICS (1998)
41
41
TOTAL NUMBER OF IDPS
41
BETWEEN 110,000 AND 150,000 PEOPLE STILL DISPLACED AS A RESULT OF THE AFP-MILF WAR
(JULY 2003)
41
AT LEAST 45,000 PEOPLE DISPLACED IN MINDANAO AT THE END OF 2002
45
OVER 135,000 PERSONS STILL DISPLACED IN MINDANAO AT THE END OF 2001
48
FIGHTING BETWEEN AFP AND MILF DISPLACED NEARLY 1 MILLION PERSON DURING 2000
50
NUMBER OF IDPS OVER THE LAST 3 YEARS
50
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND DISAGGREGATED FIGURES
51
OVER 30,000 DISPLACED IN LANAO PROVINCE (JULY 2003)
51
AT LEAST 30,000 IDPS IN P IKIT , NORTH COTABATO (JUNE 2003)
52
THE MAJORITY OF THE DISPLACED ARE MUSLIM (MARCH 2003)
53
PATTERNS OF DISPLACEMENT
56
GENERAL
56
MILITARY CAMPAIGNS ARE USUALLY FOLLOWED BY MASSIVE DISPLACEMENT OF COMMUNITIES
(MARCH 2003)
56
TENDENCY TOWARDS LONGER-TERM DISPLACEMENT (NOVEMBER 2000)
57
PHYSICAL SECURITY & FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT
58
PHYSICAL SECURITY
58
DISPLACED PERSONS IN P IKIT ASK TO BE ABLE TO BEAR ARMS BEFORE RETURNING (MARCH
2003)
58
FACT -FINDING MISSION REVEALS SEVERAL HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS DURING ARMY
OFFENSIVE IN P IKIT (MARCH 2003)
58
IDPS CAUGHT IN THE CROSS-FIRE AND AT RISK OF "DISAPPEARANCE" (AUGUST 2002)
60
AI WARNS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN MINDANAO AND THE SULU ARCHIPELAGO (APRIL 2002)
61
MILF AND NDF ACCUSED OF RECRUITING CHILDREN (JANUARY 2001)
63
SUBSISTENCE NEEDS (HEALTH NUTRITION AND SHELTER)
64
GENERAL
64
IDPS IN P IKIT LACK WATER, MEDICINE AND FOOD (FEBRUARY 2003)
64
118 IDPS HAVE DIED IN EVACUATION CENTERS IN NORTH COTABATO SINCE JANUARY (JUNE
2003)
65
INSUFFICIENT FAMILY INCOME IDENTIFIED AS THE MAIN PROBLEM OF IDP S (JULY 2002)
65
HIGH NUMBER OF CHILDREN DIE IN EVACUATION CENTERS BECAUSE OF INADEQUATE
CONDITIONS (FEBRUARY 2001)
67
HEALTH
68
DIARRHEA IS THE MAIN CAUSE OF DEATH OF CHILDREN IN EVACUATION CENTERS (MAY 2003) 68
LACK OF POTABLE WATER, MEDICINES AND INSUFFICIENT FOOD RATION PARTICULARLY AFFECT
HEALTH OF YOUNG CHILDREN (MAY 2003)
69
1/4 OF THE DISPLACED CHILDREN AFFECTED BY UPPER RESPIRATORY TRACT INFECTIONS
(FEBRUARY 2003)
70
FOOD
70
FOOD SUPPLIES DWINDLING IN EVACUATION CENTERS (MARCH 2003)
70
2
DISPLACEMENT HAS NOT HAD SIGNIFICANT NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE NUTRITIONAL STATUS OF
THE DISPLACED POPULATION (NOVEMBER 2000)
71
NUTRITIONAL STATUS IN CENTRAL MINDANAO BELOW NATIONAL AVERAGE (NOVEMBER 2000)
72
ACCESS TO EDUCATION
73
GENERAL
73
AROUND ONE IN THREE CHILDREN WHO ENTER PRIMARY SCHOOL DO NOT COMPLETE IT (1997) 73
OBSTACLES TO EDUCATION
73
SEVERE POVERTY IN CENTRAL MINDANAO MAKES ACCESS TO EDUCATION UNCERTAIN FOR IDPS
(FEBRUARY 2003)
73
SCHOOLS DESTROYED BY FIGHTING OR USED AS EVACUATION CENTERS (JANUARY 2001)
74
ISSUES OF SELF-RELIANCE AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
76
SELF-RELIANCE
76
CHRONIC UNCERTAINTY REDUCES LIVELIHOOD OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE DISPLACED (MARCH
2003)
76
FOOD AND LIVELIHOOD STRATEGIES SEVERELY DAMAGED DURING/AFTER DISPLACEMENT
(NOVEMBER 2000)
79
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
80
WB HOUSEHOLD SURVEY SHOWS 93 PERCENT OF IDP HOUSEHOLD DO NOT BELONG TO ANY
ORGANIZATION (MARCH 2003)
80
PROPERTY ISSUES
81
GENERAL
81
CLOSE TO 7,000 HOUSES DAMAGED DURING THE FIGHTING IN MINDANAO (JANUARY-JULY 2003)
81
IDPS COMPLAIN SOLDIERS STOLE THEIR HORSES (OCTOBER 2002)
81
GRP WILL AWARD REPARATIONS FOR THE PROPERTIES LOST OR DESTROYED BY REASONS OF THE
CONFLICT (SEPTEMBER 2002)
82
PATTERNS OF RETURN AND RESETTLEMENT
83
GENERAL
83
THREE POST -CONFLICT COMMUNITY TYPES IN MINDANAO (MARCH 2003)
83
GOVERNMENT DECLARES "ZONES OF PEACE" TO ENSURE SAFE RETURN OF EVACUEES, BUT
MILITARY PRESENCE TO REMAIN (JUNE 2003)
84
SOME 50,000 EVACUEES ASK GOVERNMENT TO ENSURE SAFE RETURN TO THEIR HOMES (JUNE
2003)
86
WB SURVEY SHOWS MANY WILL NOT RETURN HOME AFTER LEAVING THE EVACUATION CENTERS
(MARCH 2003)
86
MILF AND GRP AGREE TO ENSURE SAFE RETURN AND REHABILITATION OF IDP S (JUNE 2001) 87
RETURN
88
3
RETURN OF THE DISPLACED BEFORE P RESIDENT'S VISIT RAISES QUESTIONS OF FORCED RETURN
(JUNE 2003)
89
OVER 90% OF THE DISPLACED HAVE REPORTEDLY RETURNED OR RESETTLED (NOVEMBER 2001)
90
POLICY
91
TRIPOLI P EACE AGREEMENT OF JUNE 2001 PROVIDES FOR THE RETURN OF EVACUEES AND THEIR
REHABILITATION (SEPTEMBER 2002)
91
OBSTACLES TO RETURN
92
WB'S SOCIAL ASSESSMENT SHOWS ABSENCE OF PEACE AND SECURITY IS THE MAIN REASON FOR
NOT RETURNING (MARCH 2003)
92
RETURNING IDP S WILL FACE LOSS OF RELIEF AID AND ETHNIC RESENTMENT (MARCH 2003) 94
SLOW AND LIMITED RECONSTRUCTION HAMPERS RETURN (AUGUST 2002)
95
MEMORIES OF WAR PREVENT IDP S FROM RETURNING HOM E (MAY 2002)
96
LANDMINES IMPEDE RETURN OF DISPLACED (AUGUST 2001)
97
P RESENCE OF MILF AND ARMY IN EVACUATED AREAS HAMPERS RETURN (JULY 2001)
97
LITTLE RETURN DUE TO FEAR OF FIGHTING (JANUARY 2001)
98
HUMANITARIAN ACCESS
100
GENERAL
100
SECURITY PROBLEMS CAUSE RESTRICTION OF ACCESS (APRIL 2003)
100
VOLATILE SECURITY CONDITIONS HAMPER PROJECT OPERATIONS : CFSI RESPONSE AND
RECOMMENDATIONS (OCTOBER 2001)
100
MOVEMENTS OF GOVERNMENT , UN AND NGO STAFF CONTINUE TO BE CONSTRAINED BY
SECURITY CONDITIONS (NOVEMBER 2000)
100
FOOD FOR THE TRAPPED CIVILIANS BLOCKED BY THE MILITARY BY FEAR OF IT BEING USED BY
THE MILF (MAY 2000)
101
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL RESPONSES
103
NATIONAL RESPONSE
103
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES IN THE P HILIPPINES (NCCP) TO ASSIST IDPS IN MINDANAO
(MARCH 2003)
103
IN BASILAN AND SULU , PEOPLE RELY MAINLY UPON COMMUNITY LEADERS AND NGO S TO
DELIVER SERVICES (MARCH 2003)
105
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, NGOS AND THE DSWD ASSIST THE DISPLACED IN P IKIT (FEBRUARY
2003)
105
MUNICIPAL DISASTER RESPONSE CENTER RESPONDS TO THE NEEDS OF THE EVACUEES
(FEBRUARY 2003)
106
MINIMUM STANDARD RATES OF ASSISTANCE TO DISPLACED PERSONS PROVIDED BY THE DSWD
(OCTOBER 2001)
107
INTERNATIONAL RESPONS E
111
EUROPEAN COMMISSION PROVIDES €500,000 OF HUMANITARIAN AID AND FINANCES 4 PROJECTS
FOR IDP S IN MINDANAO (JUNE 2003)
111
UN EXTENDS ITS ASSISTANCE TO IDP S (MARCH 2003)
113
JAPAN TO INVEST 400 MILLION DOLLARS IN THE ARMM REGION (FEBRUARY 2003)
115
WORLD BANK AND GOVERNEMENT SIGN A US$33MIO LOAN AGREEMENT T O FINANCE
DEVELOPMENT IN THE ARMM REGION (JANUARY 2003)
115
4
UN REPRESENTATIVE ON INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT VISITS THE P HILIPPINES (NOVEMBER 2002)
116
ICRC'S ACTIVITIES IN MINDANAO (SEPTEMBER 2001)
118
UNDP SUPPORTS REINTEGRATION OF THE INTERNALLY DISPLACED IN MINDANAO (JUNE 2001)
118
REFERENCES TO THE GUIDING P RINCIPLES ON INTERNAL D ISPLACEMENT
119
KNOWN REFERENCES TO THE GUIDING P RINCIPLES AS OF FEBRUARY 2003
120
COORDINATION
124
RESPONSE TO INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT COORDINATED BY THE NATIONAL DISASTER
COORDINATING COUNCIL (FEBRUARY 2003)
124
GOVERNMENT "TAKES NOTE OF THE ACTIVITATION" OF THE BANGSAMORO DEVELOPMENT
AGENCY (BDA) (MARCH 2003)
125
CONFUSION OVER INTERACT -MINDANAO'S ROLE IN REHABILITATION OF IDPS (SEPTEMBER 2001)
126
MINDANAO COORDINATING COUNCIL (MCC) PLACES UNDER THE P RESIDENT ALL AGENCIES AND
BODIES CHARGED WITH RELIEF AND REHABILITATION (AUGUST 2000)
128
SELECTED NGO ACTIVITIES
130
TABANG MINDANAW CONDUCTS A INTEGRATED EMERGENCY HEALTH MANAGEMENT
PROGRAMME FOR IDPS (MAY 2003)
130
VSO SUPPORTS THE LIVELIHOOD OF THE DISPLACED IN MINDANAO (2003)
132
CFSI ASSISTS IDPS IN CENTRAL MINDANAO (MAY 2003)
132
NGO ORGANIZES A MEETING BETWEEN DISPLACED PEOPLE AND GOVERNEMNT OFFICIALS TO
DRAW ATTENTION TO THEIR NEEDS (APRIL 2003)
134
BALAY PROVIDES RELIEF AND PSYCHOSOCIAL SERVICES TO IDPS (MARCH 2003)
135
BALIK-KALIPAY PSYCHOSOCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME DISRUPTED BY WAR (FEBRUARY
2003)
136
OXFAM GB PROVIDES ASSISTANCE TO PEOPLE AFFECTED BY CONFLICT IN MAGUINDANAO AND
COTABATO (NOVEMBER 2002)
136
ECDFC LAUNCHES AN IDP NETWORK CALLED DISPLACEMENT WATCH (AUGUST 2002)
137
TABANG MINDANAW SHIFTS FROM RELIEF TO REHABILITATION (OCTOBER 2001)
138
NGO S WANT TO GO BEYOND "REACTIVE LEVEL " IN ADDRESSING IDP PROBLEMS (JULY 2001) 139
GAPS
140
SENATOR ASK GOVERNMENT TO RELEASE MORE FUNDS FOR EVACUEES, 1/3 HAVE NOT RECEIVED
ANY HELP FROM GOVERNMENT SO FAR (MAY 2003)
140
MAYOR OF P ARANG CRITICIZED FOR DENYING THE DISPLACED ENTRY TO HIS TOWN (FEBRUARY
2003)
141
GOVERNMENT CRITICIZED FOR NOT DELIVERING AID TO MAGUINDANAO EVACUEES (FEBRUARY
2003)
141
UN REPRESENTATIVE IDENTIFIES A PROTECTION GAP BETWEEN THE POLICIES ADOPTED AND
THEIR IMPLEMENTATION (FEBRUARY 2003)
142
NGO S DENOUNCE LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY IN DISTRIBUTION OF RELIEF (JULY 2001)
143
CFSI UNDERSCORES INSUFFICIENCY OF POPULATION DATA (OCTOBER 2001)
143
CONFUSION AMONG AGENCIES AS TO WHO IS ASSIGNED RESPONSIBILITY FOR DISTRIBUTING FOOD
ASSISTANCE (NOVEMBER 2000)
144
RECOMMENDATIONS
144
RECOMMENDATIONS FOLLOWING THE UN REPRESENTATIVE ON INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT'
MISSION TO THE P HILIPPINES (FEBRUARY 2003)
144
ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
147
LIST OF SOURCES USED
148
5
PROFILE SUMMARY
Insecurity and insufficient assistance hampers return
Hundreds of thousands of civilians in the Philippines have this year been forced to leave their homes and
livelihoods, once again displaced by the fighting between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and
the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). It is estimated that more than 400,000 civilians have been
displaced since the military launched a major operation against a MILF camp near Pikit town in North
Cotabato in February2003. Many have reportedly returned since, but some 100,000 to 150,000 remain in
evacuation centers as of the end of July and an unknown number of people are still staying with relatives
and friends, waiting for peace and security to return before going back. Although the main displacements
were due to fighting between the military and the MILF, “anti-terrorist” operations against the Abu Sayyaf
Group (ASG) have continued during 2003 and caused villagers to flee in the south of the country.
Many of the areas and communities affected by the fighting are the same as three years ago when the then
President Estrada launched an “all-out war” against the MILF resulting in the displacement of nearly one
million people (UNDP 13 November 2000 p. 4). These communities and villages were in the process of
being rehabilitated and were just starting to regain enough confidence to rebuild their lives and livelihoods
when the combats resumed forcing them once again to seek refuge in often cramped evacuation centers and
with relatives.
Following the deployment of military troops near the Liguasan Marsh in Central Mindanao in November
2002, skirmishes with the MILF occurred from December onwards, causing only small-scale displacement
at first. On February 11, the military launched a major offensive against one of MILF’s stronghold near
Pikit town in North Cotabato province. Intense bombardments, burning of houses and an important
militarization of the area triggered massive evacuations of people to safer places. As a result, an estimated
410,000 persons have been displaced since February 2003 (DSWD 22 July 2002).
The Government justified its attack on the MILF camp by alleged links between the MILF and the
Pentagon group, a kidnap-for-ransom gang. The latter had reportedly found sanctuary in the area controlled
by MILF. Shortly after the launching of the offensive in February 2003, the military acknowledged that the
real target was not the criminal gang, but was indeed the separatist rebel group and that the attack on their
stronghold was merely a response to reports that the MILF was massing up troops in the area, an alleged
violation of the 7 August 2001 ceasefire agreement (The Inquirer 17 February 2003).
GRP-MILF peace efforts
The Government and the MILF met in late March 2003 to explore ways of resuming the peace negotiations
and the implementation of the May 2002 agreement. The parties reiterated their commitment to the political
settlement of the conflict and agreed to issue a joint statement. Regarding the return of the evacuees and
rehabilitation of the affected areas, the Government acknowledged the activation of the Bangsamoro
Development Agency (BDA), a MILF-controled body tasked with implementing development and
rehabilitation projects in the conflict-affected areas (Mindanews 30 March 2003).
The talks were again stalled when a bomb, the second in one month, exploded in Davao City on April 2,
killing some 15 people. The government was then quick to blame the MILF and warrants of arrest were
issued against MILF leaders. Some four months later, a group of young military officers known as the
‘Magdalo mutineers’ accused the Government to be behind the bombings in an effort to label the MILF as a
6
terrorist organization (Mindanews 27 July 2003). Warrants of arrest were suspended and a commission will
now be formed to probe the Davao bombings (The Inquirer 4 August 2003).
The MILF and the Government have agreed on a ‘mutual cessation of hostilities’ to start on July 19.
Malaysia has offered its good offices in search of a political solution and will deploy a ceasefire observer
team. The United States, while offering financial and logistic support to the government’ “war on terror”,
has on the other hand committed to help rehabilitate the conflict-affected areas of Mindanao.
Between 100,000 and 150,000 people still unable to return
As mentioned above, those displaced during 2003 are often the same people who were forced to flee during
the 2000 “all-out war” against the MILF. They are usually peasants fleeing their homes in fear of being
caught in the crossfire or after being ordered to leave by the military. The vast majority of the displaced are
Muslims. Other reasons for fleeing include the fear of being accused of being a MILF or an ASG member
or sympathizer. Most of the displaced are children and women. Men tend to either be conscripted to join
the MILF or leave their families in order to avoid conscription. Also the fear of being tagged as a supporter
of the MILF or the ASG by the military can explain why they avoid evacuation centers (WB 3 March 2003,
p. 14).
Internally displaced people have sought refuge in neighboring villages and in the principal metropolitan
centres. They have been sheltered in evacuation centers, schoolrooms, mosques, chapels and other public
buildings. The main areas of displacement during the 2000 war were Maguindanao, Sulu, Lanao del Norte,
North Catabato and Marawi City (WB 3 March 2003, p. 13). This year the areas hardest hit by the fighting
and displacement are again more or less the same. Figures provided by the Department of Social Welfare
and Development (DSDW) as of July 22, indicate that a total of 410,000 people have been forced to leave
their homes since the beginning of 2003. 166,000 people sought shelter and protection inside some 276
evacuation centers while an estimated 245,000 other displaced persons found refuge with relatives or
friends outside of the centers.
As of end-July, some 157,000 persons were still displaced, a third residing inside some 100 evacuation
centers and two-thirds outside of them (DSWD 22 July 2003). Most of the evacuation centers still hosting
IDPs are in Cotabato province (65 centers), Maguindanao (ARMM2 ) (47 centers) and Lanao de Norte
province (24 centers) (UNDP 4 August 2003).
These displaced persons are unable or unwilling to return home because of limited housing, land mines, the
continued presence of MILF or AFP forces in villages of origin and the traumatic memories of the violence
and destruction they’ve witnessed or endured. Others are still accommodated with relatives while some
have opted for resettlement in more secure areas .
Protection
A fact-finding mission conducted by a coalition of national human rights NGOs visited Pikit at the end of
February to investigate reports of alleged human rights violations committed during the military offensive
against the MILF. The mission documented numerous cases of human rights violations including forced
evacuations, indiscriminate bombing, summary executions and looting of properties (Bulatlat 15 March
2003). The government estimates that the fighting in Mindanao has since February damaged close to 7,000
houses (DSWD 22 July 2003).
Other threats for the civilians include the activities of the para-military units and the massive recruitment
into the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units Units (CAFGUs). Rebels were allegedly behind the
7
burning of houses and government buildings and have used civilians as human shields (Balay 24 March
2003).
The counter-insurgency campaign underway in southwestern Mindanao in particular on the islands of Jolo
and Sulu since September 2000, has intensified since the deployment of US soldiers in Basilan in January
20021 (PAHRA 27 September 2001). During 2002 and 2003, the AFP presence has been reinforced and
increasing numbers of "anti-terrorist" military operations have continued against the ASG, forcing many
civilians out of their homes (Manila Times 15 July 2003/Cyberdyaryo 6 March 2003)).
Landmines represent both a risk for civilians fleeing armed clashes and an obstacle for return. Balay, a
local NGO, reported that evacuees from the villages of Sarakan, Sapal, Sarmiento, Tiba, Langkong, and
Minantao, all in Matanog, Maguindanao, refused to return to their homes because of fear of landmine
explosions (ICBL August 2002). Landmines are used by at least three rebel groups, the MILF, the NPA and
the ASG. Provinces most affected by the presence of landmines are of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and
Cotabato where the camps of the MILF are located and where most of the fighting took place in 2000.
Food security and health conditions
War and displacement has greatly disrupted the lives of the people in Mindanao. Prior to the eruption of
violence in 2000, Mindanao, and in particular the ARMM region, already ranked among the poorest regions
of the country.
There have been reports of food shortages in evacuation centers. The UN appealed in March for
humanitarian assistance as the food supply margin was only 10 days (Mindanews 20 March 2003). Funds
received by the government were reportedly insufficient and not evenly distributed (The Manila Times 26
February 2003). At the end of May, it was reported that close to one-third of the evacuees had not received
any assistance from the government (Senator Aquilino Pimentel 29 May 2003).
Conditions in the overcrowded evacuation centers were generally described as inadequate with poor
medical facilities and sanitation resulting in health risks for the most vulnerable. Prolonged stay in the
evacuation centers exposed IDP children – reported to constitute 60 to 70 percent of the displaced – to
ailments such as bronchopneumonia, ulcers, diarrhea and measles (The Manila Times 29 May 2003).
As of the end of July, the number of civilian casualties recorded by the DSWD stood at 238 (DSWD 22
July 2003). Particularly hard-hit by the fighting and displacement was Pikit town, in North Cotabato where
44,000 out of a total population of 69,000 were displaced. Some 188 persons died there, half of them inside
evacuation centers (Mindanews 9 June 2003). Located near the MILF Camp of Rajahmuda, Pikit was
already affected by the fighting between the rebels and the military in 1997 and during the 2000 conflict
(Fr. Roberto C. Layson 20 June 2000). Every time the scenario has been identical, with scores of civilians
fleeing their homes in fear of the fighting and the bombings and ending up in evacuation centers or public
buildings.
Psychological trauma and stress due to the violence and the sudden displacement, often accompanied by
destruction or looting of property and means of livelihoods, was reported as a serious concern (Balay 24
March 2003).
Assistance to IDPs
The Philippine Government has responded to the displacement mainly through the National Disaster
Coordinating Council (NDCC), which coordinated the actions of the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD), the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRD) and
8
local governments (CHR 3 February 2003, p. 12). However, the scale of displacement has reportedly
resulted in relief needs beyond the capacity of these national institutions, and thus many actors of the civil
society, including many local NGOs and church organizations, have participated in the relief and
rehabilitation efforts.
The set of guidelines for the cessation of hostilities agreed upon by both the government and the MILF in
August 2001 provides for the safe return of IDPs to villages of origin. In May 2002, the government and
the MILF further consolidated the August 2001 agreement by signing the "Implementing Guidelines on the
Rehabilitation aspect of the Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001" (GRP-MILF 7 May 2002).
The main provisions of this agreement are the safe return of the internally displaced to their place of origin,
financial and technical assistance to rebuild their houses and livelihoods and reparations awarded to the
IDPs by the government for the properties lost and or destroyed by the conflict. The MILF is to lead and
manage rehabilitation and development projects through the BDA (Mindanews 30 March 2003).
During his visit to Mindanao in November 2002, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on
internal displacement, Mr. Francis Deng, identified gaps between the positive intentions and statements
made by the Government on behalf of the evacuees and their practical implementation on the ground. Of
particular concern was the gap in the protection needs of the displaced and the returnees who generally felt
isolated and neglected (CHR 3 February 2003, p. 12).
During the massive displacements of 2000, the United Nations responded to the humanitarian needs of the
displaced population through its Multi-Donor Programme (UNMDP) (UNRC 31 May 2000). Other UN
activity on behalf of the war-affected people of Mindanao has included support to the 1996 peace
agreement, through peace-building efforts and improvements of their living conditions via the SPCPDNEDA-UN Multi-Donor Assistance Programme (UNDP 6 September 2001). The UN has also supported
the DSWD's actions on behalf of internally displaced, namely through food-for-work programmes and the
decamp ment of populations in various provinces. During the latest emergency, the Relief and
Rehabilitation component of the MDP3 assisted the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Cotabato and to
the nine municipalities in the Province of Maguindanao by responding to the health and medical needs of
the evacuees (Mindanews 6 March 2003).
The European Commission committed €500,000 of humanitarian aid during 2003 to help the displaced and
has since 2001 been funding four IDP projects in Mindana (EC 6 June 2003). The IDP projects are
implemented through 4 different INGOs (DECP April 2003).
Background to the conflict
The main area of fighting and displacement is Mindanao, the second largest island in the country, where
different Islamized ethnic groups have been struggling either for autonomy or independence for the last 30
years.
The conflict in Mindanao is the result of a general underdevelopment of the region, an unequal redistribution of wealth, and limited efforts by the central government to integrate the Muslim population of
Mindanao into the political and institutional fabric of the country. The rich reserves of untapped natural
resources and raw materials of Mindanao, in particular in the Moro 3 areas, have provided a strong incentive
for the government to fight the Muslim secessionist movements there since the 1970s (Oxfam, November
2000, pp. 8-9).
In 1996, an agreement between the Government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was
signed providing for a ceasefire and for the creation of a priority development zone (SZOPAD) comprising
14 provinces and ten cities considered the poorest in the country. There were high hopes at that time that
9
this agreement would put an end to the military activities of the Islamic groups, but by 2000 hope for peace
had considerably diminished. At this time, an increasing number of militants were leaving the MNLF to
join the more radical MILF. The MILF was not party to the 1996 agreement. It signed an agreement with
the Government on the general cessation of hostilities in 1997. This ceasefire was, however, repeatedly
violated.
As a result of the "all-out war" declared by President Estrada on the MILF in March 2000, intense clashes
between the MILF and the AFP prompted massive displacement of people near the disputed areas. The
fighting started in the western Maguindanao province and rapidly spilled over to other regions of
Mindanao. By August 2000 an estimated 800,000 to one million persons had been forced to flee their
homes (USCR June 2001).
Despite persistent skirmishes during 2002, most of the displaced had been able to return to their homes by
the end of 2002 and start rebuilding their lives with the help of the government and aid agencies until
fighting started again in February 2003.
[1] The US and Philippine governments have agreed to conduct joint military operations in which the US soldiers are officially not to
take an active part. The aim is to strengthen the AFP capacity to combat terrorism by providing training and logistical support. These
joint military operations consist of several phases, called “Balikatan”. Balikatan 02-1, which started in early 2002 and ended six
months later, took place in Mindanao and aimed at crushing the ASG. Balikatan 02-2 involved more US troops and took place in
Central Luzon between April and May 2002. Given the relative failure of Balikatan 02-1 in getting rid of the ASG, more joint
exercises are planned in Basilan and elsewhere in the country in the last quarter of the year.
[2] Created on 6 November 1990 and considered the 15th region of the Philippines, the Autonomous Regions of Muslim Mindanao
(ARMM) is an administrative area located in the southern portion of Mindanao and includes the provinces of Lanao del Sur,
Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. In August 2001, following a plebiscite, Basilan province and Marawi City chose to join the
ARMM.
[3] The 'Moro' is the collective term for people belonging to the thirteen ethno-linguistic groupings in Mindanao. The Moro People's
religion is Islam except for some non-Muslim Moro tribes who possess a culture distinct from the rest of the people of the Philippines.
10
CAUSES AND BACKGROUND OF DISPLACEMENT
Background
General demographics in ARRM and conflict-affected areas (2003)
•
As a result of colonial and post-colonial state policy, Muslim population in Mindanao between 1903
and 1999 declined from 76 to only 19 percent.
•
Muslim ethnic groups of Mindanao have been largely marginalized by the pace and form of
development.
•
Tausug and the Maguindanao have been the most politically dominant ethnic groups. Tausug inhabit
the volcanic island comprising the Sulu province while the Manguindanaoans live in the often
inundated plains of the Cotabato provinces along the Rio Grande of Maguindanao.
•
The conflict-affected areas in Mindanao are the poorest among the 77 provinces of the Philippines.
•
The highest levels of dissatisfaction with government services are found in Mindanao, especially in the
conflict-affected areas.
"Muslims and the influx of Settlers
From making up 76 percent of the population in 1903, the Muslim population in Mindanao had declined to
only 19 percent by 1990. This is a direct result of colonial and post-colonial state policy of opening
Mindanao to settlers from the islands of Luzon and the Visayas. There is multi-ethnicity at the regional,
provincial and municipal levels but at the village level one will mostly find homogenous ethnic
communities. Muslim ethnic groups in Mindanao speak related languages, and practice many customs that
are similar. Many Muslim ethnic communities-also collectively called Moros –live in close proximity to
Christian and other non-Muslim Filipino groups. However, these Muslim ethnic groups remain separate
from the “majority” in the Philippine nation-state not only by religion but als o by the presence of political
movements animated by the idea of belonging to a “Bangsa Moro”- a separate Moro nation. This
distinction is enhanced by an imbalance in economic development. The Muslim ethnic groups of Mindanao
have been largely marginalized by the pace and form of development carried out by the colonial
governments and during the republic’s post-colonial period.
Muslim Ethnic Affiliations
Of the 13 Moro ethnic groups, the Tausug and the Maguindanao have been the most politically dominant
for it is from them that the Mindanao Sultanates emerged. The spheres of influence of their early sultanates
extended over the communities of the other Moro groups and the Lumads or non-Muslim indigenous
groups. The smaller groups are: the Samal, Yakan, Badjao, and the Jama Mapun, of the Sulu archipelago
who were once subject peoples of the (Tausug) Sulu sultanate; the Kalangan, Sangil, Kalibugan and Iranun
whose settlements were once under the sphere of influence of the Maguindanao sultans; and the Palawani
and Molbog of South Palawan.
The Tausug inhabit the volcanic island comprising the Sulu province while the Manguindanaoans live in
the often inundated plains of the Cotabato provinces along the Rio Grande of Maguindanao. The Maranao
comprise the largest Moro group in terms of population. They live in the plains around Lake Lanao. The
smaller groups occupy more or less distinct territories scattered in Mindnao and the Sulu islands, though in
some instances their living spaces are penetrated by families belonging to the larger groups.
11
Approximately five percent of the total population of the region, the Lumad groups are individually known,
as: Ata (or Ata Manobo), Bagobo, Banua-on, Batak, Bla-an, Bukidnon, Dibabawon, Higaunon, Mamanwa,
Mandaya, Mangguwangan, Manobo, Mansaka, Matigsalug, Pala’wan, Subanen, Tagagkoalo, Tagbanua,
T’boli, Teduray and Ubo.
Poverty in ARRM and the Conflict-Affected Areas
The conflict-affected areas in Mindanao are the poorest among the 77 provinces of the Philippines. These
are also the poorest provinces in Mindanao. With the exception of North Cotabato and Davao del Norte, the
incidence of people falling below the poverty line and depth of poverty in these provinces rose dramatically
from 1997 to the year 2000. The El Nino phenomenon and the fall in the price of copra and rubber
contributed to the worsening of poverty in the region.
Without exception, all the conflict-affected areas fall in average per capita incomes from 1997 to 2000. The
fall in averages incomes of both the poor and the non-poor populations was most severe in Basilan and
Tawi-Tawi.
12
The Annual Poverty Indicator Survey conducted in October 1999 shows that social services coverage in the
conflict-affected provinces of Mindanao compare unfavorably with the typical or median province in the
country. The recently completed Filipino Report Card found the highest levels of dissatisfaction with
government services in Mindanao, especially in the conflict-affected areas." (WB 3 March 2003, pp. 10-12)
The issue of land
•
There are opposing systems of land use practiced by the Moro and the non-Moro.
•
Localized conflicts over land have been magnified in the context of the bigger armed groups' fight
against the government.
•
The competing claims over land will remain a structural problem between Moro and non-Moro even if
peace accords succeed.
"The Moro land issue is a conflict that may be understood in part by attributing it to opposing systems of
land use practiced by the indigenous Moro groups and the non-Moro migrant settlers who have occupied or
used territories traditionally owned or controlled by the Moros.
Tensions over land are both a cause and an outcome of conflict. Community tensions over forest resources,
for instance, have been a cause of recent localized fighting that is magnified when the bigger armed groups
cast these localized conflicts in the context of their bigger narratives and recruit the local protagonists to
fight in the name of the bigger war.
Even if the risk of another escalation of armed conflict is eliminated as a result of successful peace accords,
the competing claims over land will, without a doubt, have a powerful inhibiting effect on private
investments. Settlers whose families have invested labor for two or three generations and indigenous
peoples whose attachment to the land reaches back through the centuries will need to be assisted in
reaching an acceptable settlement of these claims. Some indigenous groups have been increasingly turning
to opportunities provided by the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) to avoid a further erosion of their
13
land claims. Yet others have responded by actually reverting to Moro traditional land concepts." (WB 3
March 2003, p. 21)
Government and MILF compete over Mindanao's natural resources
•
The Muslims are the largest single minority group in the Philippines and reside mainly in Mindanao.
•
Muslim provinces are largely under-developed compared to the rest of the country.
•
The Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was created in 1990 to grant more autonomy
the Muslims and to foster the development of the region.
•
Leader of MNLF elected as governor of the ARMM in 1996.
•
The moro areas in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudrat, North and South Cotabato, Basilan and the Sulu
islands have rich reserves of untapped natural resources, raw materials and, cheap labor.
•
Mindanao represents 48 per cent of gold production, 63 per cent nickel and 18 per cent charcoal in the
country’s total reserves.
"About 5 million Muslims, who constitute 7 percent of the population, reside principally in Mindanao and
nearby islands and are the largest single minority group in the country. Historically, they have been
alienated from the dominant Christian majority, and government efforts to integrate Muslims into the
political and economic fabric of the country have met with only limited success. The national culture, with
its emphasis on familial, tribal, and regional loyalties, creates informal barriers whereby access to jobs or
resources is provided first to those of one's own family or group. Many Muslims claimed that they continue
to be underrepresented in senior civilian and military positions. Provinces in Mindanao that are
predominantly Muslim lag behind the rest of the island in almost all aspects of socio-economic
development" (U.S. DOS, 25 February 2000, sect. 4)
14
Source:WB, 3 March 2003, p. 21
"The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or ARMM, was created in 1990 to help solve the longfestering Muslim problem and at the same time hasten the economic development of the Muslim areas. At
present, however, the ARMM only covers the four provinces of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, and Lanao
del Sur. Through a plebiscite in 1989, the predominantly Christian residents of the 14 provinces and 10
cities expressed their preference not to join the ARMM. On September 9, 1996, elections were held for the
ARMM officials. Prof. Nurallaji Misuari, the Chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF),
was elected as governor, with Guimid P. Matalam as vice governor. They replaced Linding Pangandangan
and Nabil Tan as governor and vice governor, respectively. Also elected with them were 121 regional
assemblymen. The ARMM elections were considered unique because they were peaceful, despite being
held in what has been the country's traditionally most volatile areas. After his election as ARMM governor,
Misuari has assumed the role of peace broker in Mindanao. He promised to use "moral pressure" to
convince members of the Abu Sayyaf group and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to lay down
their arms and assist the government in promoting peace and development in Mindanao. […]"
"Mindanao spreads over 94, 229 sq km/34 percent of country’s land area and provides a substantial
contribution to the country’s economy. The moro areas in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudrat, North and South
Cotabato, Basilan and the Sulu islands have rich reserves of untapped natural resources, raw materials and,
cheap labor. The GoP’s all-out war against the MILF has mainly been because of these resources.
As many observe, Mindanao is the ‘Land of Promises’ and in fact is the ‘Rice Bowl’ of the Philippines.
The land is characterized by fertile soil suitable to cultivate a variety of crops and has a timberland of
15
nearly 39 per cent of nation’s forest cover, despite massive deforestation. These areas, especially those
within the MILF camps have potentials for super profits.
Mindanao represents 48 per cent of gold production, 63 per cent nickel and 18 per cent charcoal in the
country’s total reserves. The Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) is eyeing on a marshland in the
said area for natural gas extraction. The Moroland Sugar Corporation is planning to establish a milling
facility within a 25,000 hectare land area which will traverse six municipalities. The Consunji concession
and a Malaysian corporation are planning to log and to put up a palm oil tree plantation respectively in the
town of Buldon. These are but examples of the region’s potentials as an investor’s haven. The MILF is a
deterrent to the government’s program of attracting more foreign investors in the region." (Oxfam
November 2000 pp. 4-5)
For more information about the MILF and the Moro struggle see:
“Overview of the Moro struggle through history” and “The Moro struggle for self-determination and the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front”, by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), May 2000
Peace and order in Mindanao: Abu Sayyaf, paramilitary groups and conflict over land
(September 2002)
•
Military operations have increased in intensity on the Abu Sayyaf group that operates on the island of
Jolo and against the two Abu Sayyaf factions operating on Basilan.
•
There have been accusations of the complicity of some MILF sectors in support of fleeing Abu Sayyaf
elements.
•
Part of the volatility in Mindanao in the first half of the year was interpreted by some well placed
sources as being part of national political destabilization attempts.
•
The greatest potential threat to the peace and order situation in Mindanao is conflict over land and
land-related exploration and exploitation rights.
"Operations by the AFP against the two Abu Sayyaf factions operating on Basilan have been intense. Apart
from the recovery of hostages, not without lamentable causalities from among them, Abu Sayyaf has been
fleeing the is land. It has also been attempting to to make safe haven arrangements in other locations.
Military operations have also increased in intensity on the Abu Sayyaf group that operates on the island of
Jolo. The degree of military pressure has been slowly successful. The high profile U.S. Army presence in
Zamboanga City and on Basilan has also been a factor in terms of electronic surveillance, logistics, and
psychology.
The GRP-MNLF cease fire has held without major difficulties, but there have been accusations of the
complicity of some MILF sectors in support of fleeing Abu Sayyaf elements. Such accusations are quite
serious considering GRP efforts to have the U.S. differentiate between Abu Sayyaf and MILF on its list of
terrorist organizations. This controversy is not unrelated to the competing policy positions analyzed in the
following section.
[…]
Part of the volatility in Mindanao in the first half of the year was interpreted by some well placed sources as
being part of national political destabilization attempts. This is one interpretation of the brief bombing
campaign of the 'Indigenous Federalist People’s Army' (IFPA). This has all of the earmarks of a text book
intelligence operation run by people previously trained in these disciplines. If this is the case this would be
a front organization linked to national destabilization efforts by groups opposed to both 'indigenous rights'
16
and 'federalism'. Their goal would be to discredit both while at the same time promoting national
destabilization.
The continued organization of paramilitary groups introduces another element of uncertainty to the
situation. A priority has been given their organization among indigeneous peoples. For the first time some
Indigenous Peoples have been receptive to receiving arms and training from the AFP. One backdrop of this
for the AFP is the appearance in recent years of IPs in New People’s Army (NPA) ranks in Mindanao,
including children combatants. This in turn is related to violent pressure on indigenous groups by timber
and mining groups in the mountainous areas they inhabit. The objectives of the AFP are to try to preclude
NPA influence and also impede transit through IP areas of insurgent combatants as well as of criminal
elements. Some local officials further hope that extra-judicial actions could form a vaccination against their
presence altogether. Some analysts consider that the modest monthly stipends that paramilitaries receive are
sufficient motivation. However, some leaders of the indigenous people state that they are accepting military
training for the first time to defend their land and land claims in the framework of Republic Act No. 8371,
'Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997'.
The foregoing point underscores the point that the greatest potential threat to the peace and order situation
in Mindanao is conflict over land and land-related exploration and exploitation rights There is a broadbased consensus that land is at the root of much of the armed conflict in Mindanao and that land must be
part of a strategic, sustainable solution. Land could also be the prime source of post-conflict conflict. The
most contentious remaining point on the GRP-MILF negotiating is ancestral domain. Some government
officials speak of significant quantities of public land that could be used for agrarian reform in the region to
meet these demands. However, other government officials point out that almost all of the government land
in Mindanao is already the object of ancestral domain claims by indigenous people under RA No. 8037 of
1997. When one adds to this mix the interests of squatters with precarious land rights, including refugees,
small holders, and the large Muslim Datus, one has a complex situation already on the IP and Muslim side,
even before factoring in Christian settlers, corporations (domestic and foreign) that want to expand
plantation agriculture and agroindustry, timber and mining, oil and gas interests.
Finaly, unidentified commandos with no insignia have also appeared in early morning raids in Cotabato
City and other areas of Mindanao in apparent arms searches. Their demeanor would seem to indicate
government forces but their existence has not been recognized by any known unit. The searches were
undertaken in homes of paramilitaries.
This indicates that the objective might have been for “additional guns” or “crew operated” weapons. This in
turn can be related to persistent rumors about the rearming with heavier weapons of some MNLF cadre.
This type of 'cat and mouse game', however, sets the precedent for unidentified commandos----which at
times linked to paramilitaries----have formed a delivery system for some of the worst human rights abuses
in other countries. These types of groups have not reappeared in recent weeks, and it is hoped that this
modality of operations has been permanently discontinued." (UNDP 23 September 2002, pp. 29-31)
The international context (September 2002)
•
The conflict in the Southern Philippines has always had an international dimension, especially in
relation to the Muslim world and neighboring countries.
•
The war on terrorism at the international level has and will condition the conflict in the Southern
Philippines at the military, political, psycho-social, and even cultural levels.
•
As a result of the military pressure on Abu Sayyaf, the latter is increasingly isolated, reduced to its core
cadre and support structures, and it is clearly on the defensive.
•
The bombing campaign of the “Indigenous Federalist People’s Army” (IFPA) has attempted to project
an image of endless chaos in Mindanao for national destabilization purposes but this factor and the
hardening of public opinion in some circles of Philippine society and the State in relation to the peace
17
processes in the South has proven manageable and do not represent a threat to the peace process to
date.
"The conflict in the Southern Philippines has always had an international dimension, especially in relation
to the Muslim world and neighboring countries. The formation of the Moro National Liberation Front
(MNLF) was influenced by the March, 1968 massacre in Corregidor of Muslim combatants linked to an
aborted Marco Administration plan to foment rebellion in Sabah. Upon formation the MNLF received
support and safe haven from Muslim countries, in part because of the Philippine claim on Sabah and the
Marcos Administration’s aborted attempt to pursue that claim by military means.
Inversely, the 1976, 1996, and 2001-2002 peace processes have all had intermediations from Muslim
countries. Libya, Indonesia, and Malaysia have undertaken leadership roles in the intermediation of these
processes. The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) has represented the Islamic world in general in
the peace process through the Committee of Eight chaired by Indonesia.
In the 2001 and 2002 peace processes Libya and Malaysia have taken a lead role in facilitating GRP-MILF
peace agreement within the framework of the territorial integrity and constitution of the Republic of the
Philippines. The negotiations were undertaken between Kuala Lumpur and Tripoli. Likewise, these two
countries also played proactive roles in the negotiations that led to the MNLF-MILF unity agreement.25
The 2001-2002 peace and unity agreements and the positive international environment surrounding them
could lead to further and much needed financial support for Mindanao from investors in Muslim countries.
A first step in this direction would be palm oil plantation land for up to 270,000 hectares to be financed
with Malaysian capital. This point is of importance inasmuch as at this historical juncture neither the
Philippine national budget nor the quantum of external cooperation the country is receiving would be able
to meet the financial requirements for constructing a sustainable peace in Mindanao. Investment would
have to be the driving force with external cooperation and government programmes providing
complementary financing. This of course is not a liability but in reality the ideal situation. Mindanao is
quite fortunate that there is significant investor interest. However, the security threshold necessary to access
foreign direct investment is high. There cannot be significant foreign investment in Mindanao until
sustainable peace is obtained and the law and security situation improves, especially in relation to
kidnapping for ransom.
It is necessary to take advantage of the current positive international conditions because this window of
opportunity may be short-lived. The 2001-2002 GRP objective of seeking a fast track to peace is congruent
with international reality. The international war on terrorism is going to be fought principally in Muslim
countries, or in Muslim regions of multicultural countries. This will increase polarization in the Islamic
World, including non-Muslim countries with significant Muslim populations. It is thus better to reach
agreements now before the situation becomes more complicated.
The war on terrorism at the international level has and will condition the conflict in the Southern
Philippines at the military, political, psycho-social, and even cultural levels. It is a factor in the interaction
of the different policy positions on peace and war in Mindanao, in the political processes within the
Bangsamoro community, and in Philippine national public opinion.
To date the impact of the War on Terrorism is mixed but on balance positive. The pressure on Abu Sayyaf
has increased given the higher level of activity of the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) backed by
U.S. Army support. The rejection of Abu Sayyaf in Filipino public opinion and in the Bangsamoro
commu nity is strong, although family and clan loyalties are always a factor in the region. As a result of the
foregoing Abu Sayyaf is increasingly isolated, reduced to its core cadre and support structures, and
it is clearly on the defensive.
18
The GRP-MILF peace process was already well underway before 11th September, but the international and
national atmosphere after that date indicates the wisdom of the timing of the MILF decision to retire from
insurgent status. This has already brought tangible benefits for both the MILF and the peace process. For
example, it was the intercession of the GRP engaged in the peace process with the MILF that got this
organization taken off the U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations. To be on that list today
obviously would have major implications for the MILF, Filipino society and the GRP. It would have meant
placing 15,000 experienced combatants in a pariah status that would preclude negotiations.
There has also been a hardening of public opinion in some circles of Philippine society and the State in
relation to the peace processes in the South. Ample sectors of public opinion identify a generic Mindanao
situation without distinctions as to different actors and processes. Some of these states of opinion are also
fueled by prejudices that date back to the Spanish and their introduction of the term “Moro” in centuries in
which Christian-Muslim wars on the Iberian peninsula were still relatively recent. Some elements have
attempted to exploit this space by attempting to link Abu Sayyaf’s need to find safe havens with MILF
elements. Those who oppose the “Implementing Guidelines” of May 7th have also sought to mobilize
public opinion against rewarding the Muslim insurgents of MILF with “the return to the camps” and the
“management of national funds” after the sacrifices of the AFP soldiers who were killed or were wounded
taking the camps. The bombing campaign of the “Indigenous Federalist People’s Army” (IFPA) has
attempted to project an image of endless chaos in Mindanao for national destabilization purposes. These
factors have proven manageable and do not represent a threat to the peace process to date. " (UNDP 23
September 2002, pp. 31-33)
Review of conflict-related displacement incidents during 2001
•
Some 9,000 persons were displaced by AFP-MILF clashes in Maguindanao on 11February 2001
•
Some 12,000 persons were displaced by military operations in Davao del Sur between 23 and 26 May
•
More than 50,000 persons were displaced by Abuy Sayyaf-APF clashes in Sulu province between May
and June.
•
Some 5,000 persons were displaced by AFP-MILF clashes in September/October
•
Some 23,000 persons were displaced by AFP pursuit operations against bandits in North Cotabato on
17 November
•
Some 14,000 persons were displaced by MNLF-AFP clashes on Jolo island
19
Review of conflict-related displacement incidents during 2002 (August 2002)
•
Some 6,700 persons were displaced on the 10th February in Basilan by fighting between AFP and
MILF
•
Some 27,000 persons were displaced at the end of February in Maguindananao by fighting between
AFP and MILF
•
Some 23,000 persons were displaced in March in Noth Cotabato
•
Some 8,000 persons were displaced in March in Basilan by persuit operations against the Abu Sayyaf
Group
•
Some 5,000 persons were displaced in Maguindanao by military operations
20
Causes of displacement
Conflict and displacement in Mindanao (1996-2000)
21
•
Nationhood among Islamized ethnic groups in the south is based on specific ethnic identifications
unified by Islamic tradition that first influenced the Sulu islands in the 13th century.
•
The 1996 peace agreement between the MNLF and the GRP has not prevented the resurgence of
armed conflict and the emergence of new representations asserted by the Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (MILF) and the Abu Sayyaf (Father of the Sword) Group in Mindanao.
•
In 2000, the all-out armed confrontations between government forces and the MILF, as well as the Abu
Sayyaf, escalated in 9 municipalities of Maguindanao, 5 in Cotabato, 3 in Lanao del Sur, 1 in South
Cotabato and in the cities of Cotabato and General Santos.
•
By August 439,000 people had evacuated of whom 340,265 were housed in evacuation centers
"The Philippines has various ethnic minorities within the larger Christian-Filipino society. While the state
has appeased most of the more than eighty ethno-linguistic groups nationwide, it has not made peace with
the Islamized ethnic groups in the south. Nationhood among Islamized ethnic groups in the south is based
on specific ethnic identifications unified by Islamic tradition that first influenced the Sulu islands in the
13th century. In the most recent phase of the Muslim struggle for nationhood, the Government of the
Republic of the Philippines (GRP) made peace with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1996.
Despite high expectations, the peace agreement has not prevented the resurgence of armed conflict and the
emergence of new representations asserted by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Abu
Sayyaf (Father of the Sword) Group in Mindanao, now renamed as the Al-Harakatul-ul-Islamiya (Islamic
Movement).
Barely a month after the signing of the Peace Agreement, the MILF prepared for war and began to reassert
its own representation of the demands of the Moro people. In a display of mass strength during the Bangsa
Moro People’s Assembly in Cotabato City on 3-5 December, 1996, it declared its rejection of the Peace
Agreement and reaffirmed its commitment to Islamic independence.
Four years later, all-out armed confrontations between government forces and the MILF, as well as the Abu
Sayyaf, caught domestic and international public attention. Hostilities escalated in 9 municipalities of
Maguindanao, 5 in Cotabato, 3 in Lanao del Sur, 1 in South Cotabato and in the cities of Cotabato and
General Santos.
Refusing to recognize the MILF as a legitimate representative of the Moro people, the Philippine
government engaged in dual tactics: military confrontations and piece-meal negotiations. Initial meetings
between the MILF and the GRP in April, May and June of 1997 were bogged down by continued fighting.
In June 1987[sic], government forces attempted to seize control of Camp Rajamuda, the MILF’s second
biggest camp, resulting in the displacement of around 75,000 people.
Intense fighting continued until July after which the GRP and MILF signed an Agreement on the General
Cessation of Hostilities (AGCH). This was followed by the signing of the Implementing Administrative
Guidelines on the AGCH on September 12, 1997. By November, the two parties had signed a Ceasefire
Agreement.
Upon the election of Estrada to the presidency, his government appointed a new negotiating panel to talk
peace with the MILF. What followed was a rough process that swung from war to negotiations finally
leading to the government’s all out offensive in April 2000.
Two days after the government offensive, the MILF unilaterally suspended talks with the government. By
May 7, 2000, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported that the clashes in
Maguindanao, Cotabato and Lanao had already affected 23,031 families (123,758 persons of whom 74,691
were housed in evacuation centers). By August 439,000 people had evacuated of whom 340,265 were
housed in evacuation centers." (Oxfam January 2001, pp. 5-6)
22
Military offensives against the MILF cause massive displacement during 2000
"The escalation of the armed conflict between government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
may be seen as a consequence of the government's militaristic response to the long-drawn struggle for the
right to self-determination of the Moro people. The months of shaky peace talks between the MILF
leadership and members of the government panel has earlier led to the military recognition of some 13
main camps of MILF in Maguindanao, South Cotabato, Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. For the rebels
it was a virtual acceptance of their belligerency status by the Philippines state, a development which
Malacanag considered as a political setback and a slap at Estrada's "macho leadership". To recover from
that blunder, the government stepped up its military offensives in rebel positions which precipitated the
outbreak of an all out armed confrontation between the government armed forces and MILF fighters.
Prior to the eruption of armed hostilities in Lanao del Norte, the government has accused the MILF of
instigating the bombing of public buses and a ferry boat in Ozamiz City last February 25 where around 40
civilians were killed and wounded. The public was outraged by the tragic violence but no group came out
to claim responsibility for the incident. Whether it was the handiwork of Islamic rebels or a special project
of the military psy-war experts, nobody knows for sure. But whoever was behind the bombing has certainly
succeeded in igniting anti-Moro sentiments. It has created an excuse for the renewal of full-scale military
assaults against the Moro rebels, despite the cease-fire agreement between the MILF and the Estrada
administration." (TFDP March 2000)
"The militarization of the conflict in the course of the year 2000 has led to deterioration in the peace and
development situation.
The government has successfully reasserted control over areas previously held by the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF). The break-up of the territorial bases of the MILF has led to the fragmentation of
its permanent forces into decentralized and at times independent guerrilla commands. Large-scale military
operations have also been undertaken in Basilan and Jolo as part of search and rescue operations for Abu
Sayyaf hostages held for ransom and as human shields. Terrorist tactics have been utilized by insurgents in
central Mindanao and by the kidnapping gangs in Basilan and Jolo.
Increased militarization has led to more civilian than military fatalities. In the period of maximum combat
in the year 2000 (January-August), there were 218 soldiers and militiamen killed and 354 civilian fatalities,
as well as 457 MILF killed. The government also reports that more civilians died in the evacuee centers
than in combat. That figure of over 700 civilian deaths in combat or in evacuee centers is greater than the
combined soldier, militia, and MILF losses of 677 in the same period. Increased militarization has also led
to the destruction of over 6000 homes and the internal displacement of nearly one million persons, 300,000
of whom were in that status in October 2000. The National Peace Forum identified two cases that they
consider to constitute intentional destruction of housing by the Army (Nalapoan Pikit, North Cotabato and
Matanog, Maguindanao). The same representatives point out that this should not be considered a pattern in
that other cases have not been identified. However, the tactics employed did objectively lead to a large
number of houses destroyed and a massive displacement of civilian population. The type of displacement
produced is also qualitatively different from those seen in recent years. There now exists a tendency toward
longer-term displacements for the first time since the 1970’s. Only 10% of the persons whose homes have
been destroyed desire to return to their place of origin as of October, 2000. In some cases relocation is
being undertaken. The displaced persons do not wish to return to the locations of their previous homes due
to the presence of the military, not because they fear the soldiers, but rather because stationary or in transit
military draw MILF attacks that frequently place civilians in cross-fire situations. The net result is that
human security in the areas affected has deteriorated as a result of militarization.
The levels and types of population displacements produced by militarization have the potential to reproduce
the armed conflict through the expansion of the pool of potential insurgent combatants. In insurgencies with
23
social and political support, acute or chronic civilian casualties, widespread destruction of property, and
massive population displacements increase the pool of potential insurgents. New combatants may enter
either established groups or form new ones. Evacuee camps, especially when they become permanent, often
become insurgent recruitment centers. The most critical group is quite obviously young unemployed men
whose families have been affected by the conflict.
In Mindanao the evacuee camps were in a crisis situation in June as evidenced by high mortality rates,
especially among children. The crisis has subsequently subsided but conditions in many camps remain
overcrowded and deficient. Some people are being permanently relocated and some of the housing now
considered temporary will most probably become permanent. Most all of the people in the camps can be
considered poor in that people with more resources generally find other accommodations. All have suffered
economic setbacks as a result of their displacement." (UNDP 13 November 2000, pp. 4-5)
For further details on the chronology of events, see "How war erupted in Central Mindanao", Gaston Z.
Ortigas Peace Institute, 20 October 2000
Government crackdown on Abu Sayaff causes displacement in Basilan and Sultan
Kudarat (July 2003)
•
Close to 1,000 people displaced due to military operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sultan
Kudarat.
•
Abu Sayaff sympathizers in Basilan escape army raid with hostages.
•
Mass arrests in Basilan on July 13 strike fear among civilians.
•
Unknown number of civilians fled to escape the arrests.
The number of families displaced in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat, has climbed to 150 as government troops
continue to scour villages there in search of the elusive Abu Sayyaf chieftain, Khadaffy Janjalani, and about
50 armed rebels.
The Armed Forces public information chief, Lt. Col. Daniel Lucero, said most of the 859 evacuees were
from the villages of Molon, Lumitan and Butril.
The families fled their homes because they didn’t want to get caught in the middle if fighting erupts,
Lucero said. Most are staying with relatives in Barangay Malisbong, also in Palimbang.
Personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Palimbang have already distributed
100 sacks of rice as assistance to the displaced families, Lucero said.
Palimbang Mayor Labualas Mamansual has ordered all villages to establish evacuation centers in case of
possible civilian casualties should shooting break out between the military and the Abu Sayyaf.
All village officials were also ordered to monitor their respective constituents and report to the authorities
any suspicious-looking persons in their area.
24
Two battalions from the Army’s 601st Brigade had already been deployed to pursue the rebels, who arrived
in Palimbang on June 5 on board four motorized bancas after slipping through a military cordon on Pilas
Island in Basilan.
Janjalani and company reportedly hooked up with Alu Binago, leader of the kidnap-for-ransom group Abu
Saffiah. The two groups then proceeded to Sitios Pungi, Punasage and Nunungan, all in Butril village in
Palimbang.
Lucero admitted that military forces have not established contact with Janjalani and his troops, who were
reportedly armed with an undetermined number of rocket-propelled grenades and assorted high-powered
firearms.
Despite the evacuation, Maman-sual said the local government supports the military operations in their
area. He even vowed that the Abu Sayyaf atrocities in Sulu and Basilan would end in Palimbang." (Manila
Times 15 July 2003)
"Do you know the sound of one hand clapping? The answer to this riddle may be found in Basilan at the
heels of the crackdown ordered by President Arroyo against suspected Abu Sayaff sympathizers on July
13 . While many residents of Lamitan municipality reluctantly acknowledged that the government should
have made that move against the ASG when they occupied the Jose Ma. Torres Hospital and the St.
Peter Church last February, they expressed fears that the mass arrest will only create a ripple of atrocities
against civilians.
The ASG members were able to escape with their hostages under the tight military cordon in Lamitan,
leaving behind a trail of death, destruction and a terrorized community. But the military operation to
capture those involved in the incident has only heightened the anxiety of residents. A Balay volunteer in
Basilan described the saturation drives as "house to house." He confirmed news reports that police and
soldiers accompanied by hooded "spotters" pick up civilians suspected to be ASG symphatizers. More than
30 persons have been reportedly arrested in Basilan, 100 others were said to be picked up in Zamboanga on
the first wave of the mass arrest that continued for several days. He said that the targets are the menfolk.
He said that no warrants of arrest were presented to those taken in his barangay.
Among those subjected to the surprise raids were the villages of Tabuk, Sumagdang, Calle Posporo,
Marketsite, Kaumpurnah, in Carbon, Malamawi. Other barangays in Lamitan, Lantawan, Maluso and
Isabela City were not spared.
On July 15, seven more civilians were taken to the 103rd Army headquarters in Tabiawan, Isabela City,
our source said. Their hands were reportedly tied behind their backs, though they were not hurt in front of
their neighbors. The Commission on Human Rights office in Region IX was so appalled by the conduct of
the crackdown. A newspaper quoted them as saying that the military operations were 'Gestaspo-type.'
The Balay office in Zamboanga said that NGOs are not allowed to see the detainees. The crackdown was
denounced by various human rights groups and church organizations. Many people in Basilan went into
hiding or went to their relatives in Zamboanga because of extreme anxiety. They worried that they may
be picked up also even if they are innocent, just because they are Tausugs or Yakans. Even Christians are
reportedly feeling helpless over the breakdown of the peace and order situation in their province. They are
apprehensive that, if left unchecked, the crackdown may heighten anti-Muslim sentiments and worsen
Christian-Moro misunderstanding." (Balay July 2001)
25
Military operations against NPA in Mindoro Oriental force people to flee (NovemberDecember 2002)
•
580 Mangyan families displaced by massive military operations against the New Peoples Army (NPA)
in Mindoro Oriental between November 24 and the first week of December 2002.
•
Affected families are staying in school buildings and a few are accommodated in their relatives' houses
in the lowland.
•
Intensified conflict between the military and the rebels revealed reports of arrests and detention,
harassment, summary executions and forced disappearances in some parts of the province.
More than 580 Mangyan families were displaced from four barangays during massive military operations
against the New Peoples Army (NPA) in the upland barangays of Puerto Galera, Mindoro Oriental between
November 24 and the first week of December. The incident happened following the ambush of the
province's Philippine National Police Provincial Commander on November 24 which resulted to the death
of four soldiers. The ambush was allegedly perpetrated by communist guerillas.
The barangays affected were identifies as Baclayan with 182 families, Dulangan -135 families, Villaflor 100 families and Tabinay -163 families. The Mangyan families hastily left their homes after the combined
forces of the military and police reportedly fired mortars, helicopter gunship and other high-powered
firearms while pursuing the rebels. According to one Mangyan elder who refused to be identified, the
government forces burned some of the houses and farm animals along the way and at least three persons
were beaten up and tortured to provide information about the rebels.
The affected families are staying in school buildings and a few are accommodated in their relatives' houses
in the lowland. BALAY and the Ecumenical Commission for the Displaced Families and Communities
(ECDFC) conducted relief operations from December 4 to 7 in all four barangays. BALAY and ECDFC
coordinated with the local government of Puerto Galera that provided the permit to facilitate the group's
entry to the affected barangays. The relief pack includes rice, sardines, sugar, coffee, dried fish, mongo
beans and biscuits.
The post mission assessment showed the need for a more comprehensive attention to the plight of the
Mangyan families in that area as well as in other parts of the island of Mindoro. Intensified conflict
between the military and the rebels revealed reports of arrests and detention, harassment, summary
executions and forced disappearances in some parts of the province. People interviewed during the mission
disclosed that they always fear for their lives, their livelihood activities disrupted and they are losing hope
that their children are losing their opportunities to go to school regularly because of the very unstable
situation in the area" (Balay March 2003, p. 37)
Resumption of fighting between GRP and the MILF displaces some 400,000 people
(November 2002- May 2003)
•
In November 2002, massive deployment of government troops near the Liguasan Marsh and later in
December fighting between military and MILF caused residents to flee their homes.
•
In January 2003, massive evacuation of civilians started with at least 1,100 B’laan and Maguindanaon
(indigenous peoples in Mindanao) families fleeing from seven barangays in Marang, North Cotabato.
•
In early February, some 7,000 families or 42,000 persons, more than half of Pikit’s population, fled
their homes to avoid the clash betwen the MILF and the military.
•
On February 11, a major offensive was launched by the governement against the MILF. As of
February 20, a total of 34,745 families or 199,283 individuals were affected by the government’s allout-war.
26
•
As of the end of May, armed conflict across Mindanao has displaced a total of 357,025 villagers since
January 21, but as of May 25, only 146,606 have returned home
•
Some legislators claim that the ultimate game plan for the renewed military offensives in Mindanao
might be the seizure of untapped resource-rich areas than to counter terrorism.
•
The number of houses damaged has reached 5,925 of which 5,002 were “totally” damaged.
"As early as November 2002, massive deployment of government troops has been reported near the
Liguasan Marsh. There were also reports of fighting between government troops and the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front last December 6, 2002, prompting some 300 residents of Sitio Lagao, Brgy. Langgapan,
Sultan sa Barongis to flee their homes. Accounts from residents, say that the village was having a
“kanduli” (Muslim thanksgiving festival) when around 100 soldiers came and burned at least 11 houses.
On December 7, 2003, Army soldiers picked up a Barangay council member from his house in Brgy
Muslim, Talayan Mindanao. His body was later found that afternoon in the nearby village of Balabag. In
the evening, more Army soldiers entered the village and clashed with MILF rebels. OV-10 planes also
bombed Brgy Katibpuan.
On January 4, 2003, around 300 armed persons were sighted to have entered in the remote communities
along the tri-boundary of Carmen, President Roxas and Arakan, all municipalities of North Cotabato,
particularly in the municipalities beside the Pulangi River. This prompted the people in the community to
move out from their homes and seek refuge to safer places. A few days later, the massive evacuation of
civilians started with at least 1,100 B’laan and Maguindanaon (indigenous peoples in Mindanao) families
fleeing from seven barangays in Marang, North Cotabato.
On January 25, more than 1,000 members of the 40th IB of the Philippine Army based in Carmen, North
Cotabato conducted an operation in the area to check on the reported sightings of an armed group. A
running battle ensued, which resulted to the killing and wounding of at least 17 persons.
On January 27, the Provincial Governor of North Cotabato backed up by a number of military men entered
to check on the incident. Not less than 150 families evacuated to safer grounds. The military build-up
starting February 7, 2003 prompted more families to move out from their homes. Evacuation of people was
remarkable in Pikit, North Cotabato, where at least five tanks and 10 six-by-six trucks of soldiers or 3,000
government troops from the 602nd Brigade along with several Marine and Navy battalions were deployed.
This forced the evacuation of at least 7,000 families or 42,000 persons, more than half of the town’s
population, to avoid the clash.
On February 11, 2003, an all-out-war offensive against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was
launched by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. According to the military, the assault was purportedly
launched to weed out the Pentagon Gang, a notorious kidnap-for-ransom gang, alleged to be hiding in the
said area. However, the military through no less than Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes later claimed that
the campaign, which is
one of the biggest since government and the MILF began peace negotiations, is directed at the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front and not against the Pentagon Gang. Moreover, some legislators claim that the
ultimate game plan for the renewed military offensives in Mindanao might be the seizure of untapped
resource-rich areas than to counter terrorism. Sen. Aquilino Pimentel and Rep. Gerry Salapudin said in
separate interviews that the big natural gas deposits in the marsh might be the target of the military
offensives.
It has been two weeks since the intense bombardment, but it seems that there is no respite in sight. Almost
everyday, there are reported cases of hostilities. The heavy fighting affected at least 97 barangays in 24
municipalities from the four provinces of North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and Sulu.
According to the February 20, 2003 Update Report of the government’s Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD), a total of 34,745 families or 199,283 individuals were affected by the government’s
27
all-out-war. The evacuation of families and communities continue as the MILF launched retaliatory
attacks." (ACT 4 March 2003)
"Armed conflict across Mindanao has displaced a total of 357,025 villagers since January 21, but as of May
25, only 146,606 have returned home.
Records from the office of Secretary Corazon Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD) showed that as of 11 p.m. of May 25, 41,612 families or a total of 210,419 evacuees
displaced from 262 barangays in 56 affected municipalities have yet to return home. The DSWD report
recorded 205 dead and 166 injured since January 21.
The number of houses damaged has reached 5,925 of which 5,002 were “totally” damaged. Thus far,
P63.54 million has been spent for relief assistance: P52.40 million from the DSWD, P5.7 million from the
local government units and P5.3 million from NGOs and other government agencies." (Cyberdyaryo 28
May 2003)
Other causes of displacement
Lumads flee harassment by anti-communist groups (November 2002)
•
Some 3,500 Lumads have fled harassment by a group of armed anti-communist paramilitary Lumad
group called the Alamara and have been living a life of runaways in the forests of Davao del Norte
since October 2002.
•
The Alamara warned that those who would not join them or refuse to organize anti-communist Lumad
organizations will be marked either as supporters or members of the communist-led New People's
Army (NPA)
"Some 700 Ata-Manobo families have been living a life of runaways in the forests of the hinterland areas of
Talaingod town in Davao del Norte since last month to escape alleged harassment by a group of armed anticommunist paramilitary Lumad group called the Alamara.
Datu Tomas Ito, chair of the Pasaka Lumad Regional Confederation, said two village leaders of the fleeing
Lumads who approached him for help last week reported that they left their homes, farms and other
livelihood in haste for fear of the Alamara.
He said members of the Alamara, a number of whom are also members of the Citizens Armed Forces
Geographical Unit (Cafgu), have been moving around various villages in Talaingod recruiting members
and organizing them into anti-communist organizations.
Ito claimed that the Alamara warned that those who would not join them or refuse to organize anticommunist Lumad organizations will be marked either as supporters or members of the communist-led
New People's Army (NPA).
He said those marked as NPA members or supporters could be targets of attacks by the Alamara. 'Some of
the villagers chose to flee rather than join the Alamara for fear of being caught in the crossfire. They
wanted to avoid chaos in their respective villages,' he said.
Ito said that a number of the displaced Lumads, especially the children, suffered from various diseases like
diarrhea, tuberculosis and malaria in the course of their evacuation.
28
A group of doctors and health workers from the Urban Integrated Health Services (UIHS) organized a twoday relief and medical mission at Barangay Km. 32 in Talaingod that started Monday in response to the
request of Pasaka and other indigenous people's and human rights advocates.
Ariel Casilao, secretary general of Karapatan Southern Mindanao, said the medical mission is expected to
present their findings in the area late this week.
But Casilao said the Alamara has also been forcing Lumads in the hinterland areas straddling Davao City,
Davao del Norte and Bukidnon to join anti-communist organizations like the Alsa Lumad.
But Col. Eduardo del Rosario, chief of the Army's 73rd Infantry Battalion, said the formation of anticommunist organizations were initiated mainly by the Lumads who wanted the NPA to flee from their
areas.
Del Rosario confirmed the existence of the Alamara but he said that they are merely exercising their rights
to organize and repel expansion efforts of the NPA. He also claimed that a number of the members of the
Alamara have trained as members of the Cafgu to instill discipline and respect for human rights.
But Ito said that in actual practice, Alamara members are not keen on respecting human rights. He said the
mere fact of marking anybody who refuse to join anti-communist groups as NPA supporters indicates that
they could not tolerate other positions." (Mindanews 5 November 2002)
IDPs re-displaced by elections (May 2001)
•
Hundreds of IDPs re-displaced from their evacuation centers in Marawi because they're needed for the
elections.
•
Some evacuees were accommodated in tents outside the city while others returned to their villages to
live with relatives.
"The May 14 elections again displaced hundreds of Moro families from their evacuation centers in Marawi
City, according to an independent peace and development agency. Worse, relief workers lost contact with a
number of evacuees and are having a hard time tracing the “re-displaced.”
Baicon Macaraya, chair of the Ranao Center for Peace and Development, said officials of the provincial
government had ordered some 100 evacuees who had sought refuge at the New Capitol Gymnasium to
vacate the place. The order was given shortly before the candidates filed their certificates of candidacies for
local positions in March, Macaraya said. The gymnasium was used as centralized canvassing center of
election returns from all 32 towns in Lanao del Sur.
Macaraya said 80 other families at the Fatima Gym in downtown Marawi were also ordered by the staff of
incumbent Mayor Omil Basman to vacate the place. Basman used the gym as his headquarters shortly
before the campaign period started after March 30.
Concerned government authorities prepared a tent city for the Fatima evacuees at Barangay Kilala on the
outskirts of the city, Macaraya said. But she said the area was inaccessible to public transportation.
Macaraya said aid workers could not locate the evacuees at the New Capitol. She said the Maranaos among
the New Capitol evacuees reportedly returned to their hometown in Butig, Lanao del Sur, and are now
living with their relatives.
'They have become house-based evacuees. But we could no longer find them unless we do a house-tohouse survey,' Macaraya said. 'Now how can we find them if they are already house-based?' she said.
29
She said the Maguindanaoans among the New Capitol evacuees have also reportedly gone back to their
towns in Maguindanao. 'But we have lost contact with them now,' she said.
Irene Santiago, a member of the government panel in the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation
Front, said she had asked the evacuees in New Capitol to return to their homes as it would be used for the
elections." (The Inquirer 24 May 2001)
Displacement caused by banditry (May 2001)
•
Unidentified armed men attacked holiday resort off Davao coast on May 23.
•
Clash between armed group and army force over 10,000 to flee.
•
Most IDPs returned shortly after.
"Around two dozen unidentified armed men raided the Pearl Farm Resort owned by the influential
Floreindo family in Samal Island, off the coast of Davao City on May 23. The raiders killed two security
guards and took off with the valuables of resort guests before retreating to the sea. Soldiers from the
Philippine Navy were alerted and went after the attackers whose boat was damaged when authorities
opened fired at them.
The armed men stopped over in the town of Mati in Davao del Oriental, seized a new boat, divided their
group into two, and continued their escape. They proceeded to the sea-side Malita municipality in Davao
del Sur where one group landed in the village of Kidapalong and another in Brgy. Mana where the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is reported to have a camp.
The armed group then went to the neighboring town of Don Marcelino before they once more took off to
the sea towards the direction of Saranggani Province where the military have lost them.
For four days, around 300 army soldiers, backed by a helicopter, went after the bandit’s trail that passed
through a total of 14 villages. According to reports, at least two soldiers were killed and one injured in the
running gunfight with the bandits. It was not known whether the raiders suffered any casualty.
The municipal office of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Malita confirmed that
2,044 families, covering 8,256 individuals, in 12 barangays of Malita were forced to leave their
communities and went into the town center at the height of the incident to avoid being hit in the crossfire.
Nine persons were reported to have been taken as hostage by the armed men to be used a human shield
against their pursuers. When checked by Balay personnel, the internally displaced persons (IDPs) have all
returned to their place of origin as soon as the armed men were gone on May 29. Government social
workers have provided relief goods to the affected families.
In Don Marcelino, 400 families, covering 2,000 individuals, from two villages were displaced according to
barangay officials interviewed by Balay. The IDPs, many of whom are B’laan indigenous people, have all
returned to their communities as soon as the military have cleared the area." (Balay May 2001)
Peace efforts
GRP-CPP/NPA/NDF Peace Process (September 2002)
30
•
NPA/NDF remains the most serious threat to national security with a current (September 2002)
estimated strength of around 12,000 members.
•
Through four Presidencies, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) has undertaken
various peace initiatives geared at peaceful settlement of the armed conflicts in the country, including
the Communist insurgency.
•
The Estrada term saw the collapse of the talks with the NDF. In May 1999, the NDF unilaterally
withdrew from the talks following the ratification by the Philippine Senate of the RP-US Visiting
Forces Agreement.
•
Under the Macapagal-Arroyo administration, peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDF were
resumed on April 2001 in Oslo, Norway.
•
The talks continue on “recess” status. Informal meetings in May and June 2002 have centered on a
possible mutually acceptable formulation for the final peace accord. Despite the US government’s
designation of the CPP-NPA-NDF as a foreign terrorist organization, the Peace Panels of both parties
maintain open lines of communication geared at agreement on measures to facilitate the resumption of
the talks.
"The Communist insurgency - led by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its armed group, the
New People’s Army (NPA), and its political arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF), or the CPP-NPANDF – has been the most enduring of the Philippines’ armed rebellions, and remains the most serious threat
to national security. It finds its roots in a colonial past and a system of unjust and unequal socioeconomic
and political conditions that has perpetuated an elite few while the majority of Filipinos continue to live in
poverty. From a small group of less than a hundred when it was founded in 1968, the movement’s strength
peaked to an estimated 25, 000 members nationwide in 1987. Political repression and worsening economic
conditions had fueled its rapid growth during the Martial Law regime under Ferdinand Marcos; the period
of political transition when democracy was restored under Corazon Aquino also saw a growth in the NPA’s
strength. Although it had declined to about 6,000 members in 1995, it has been steadily increasing to reach
a current (September 2002) estimated strength of around 12,000 members.
Through four Presidencies, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) has undertaken
various peace initiatives geared at peaceful settlement of the armed conflicts in the country, including the
Communist insurgency. Corazon Aquino pursued shortlived negotiations towards a peaceful negotiated
settlement with the CPP-NPA-NDF. A 60-day ceasefire was signed effective 10 December 1986, but talks
collapsed on 22 January 1987, amid accusations of ceasefire violations and disagreements over the
negotiation framework. Fidel Ramos embarked on a comprehensive peace process (The “Six Paths to
Peace”) which included, among others, the active pursuit of peace negotiations with the armed opposition
groups.
During the Ramos administration, the CPP was legalized to set the stage for the resumption of peace
negotiations. Negotiations began with the Utrecht-based NDF leadership in August 1992, resulting in the
signing of the Hague Declaration in September 1992 which provided the basic framework for formal
negotiations. A joint communiqué was signed outlining four substantive agenda for the talks: human rights
and international humanitarian law; social and economic reforms; political and constitutional reforms, and
end of hostilities and disposition of forces.
Following the Hague talks, GRP-NDF meetings were held erratically over a two and a half year period,
with efforts focused on forging agreement on terms and processes for the conduct of formal negotiations.
Three agreements were forged during this period: 1) the Breukelen Joint Statement of June 1994, which
documented areas of agreement, disagreement and issues requiring further discussion; 2) the Joint
Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) of February 1995, which provides safety and
immunity guarantees to all NDF duly accredited holders of documents of identification; and 3) the Joint
Agreement on the Ground Rules of Formal Meetings (also February 1995).
31
Between June 1995 to March 1998, a total of six rounds of formal talks and six rounds of discrete and
informal talks were conducted. The talks were invariably suspended or recessed over this period, due to
issues relating to sovereignty and JASIG implementation. These series of formal and informal talks paved
the way for the completion of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and
International Humanitarian Law (CAR-HR/IHL), which was signed by both Panels on 16 March 1998 in
The Hague.
The Estrada term saw the collapse of the talks with the NDF. Talks were stalemated when the NDF rejected
the mode of implementation of the CAR-HR/IHL stipulated by President Estrada, that it be in accordance
with the Republic’s constitutional and legal processes. In May 1999, the NDF unilaterally withdrew from
the talks following the ratification by the Philippine Senate of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement. With
the termination of the peace talks, Estrada issued Executive Order # 115 in June 1999, localizing the peace
talks with the communist insurgents.
Under the Macapagal-Arroyo administration, peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDF were
resumed on April 2001 in Oslo, Norway. Confidence-building measures were discussed, as well as the
modality of implementation of the CAR-HR/IHL implementation, and the mechanics for conducting
negotiations on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio Economic Reform (CASER). A second round of
talks in Oslo in June 2001 was suspended following a protest by the GRP on the NDF’s issuance of a
congratulatory note to the NPA’s Fortunato Camus Command after the political assassination of Cagayan
Congressman Rodolfo Aguinaldo during the conduct of the talks.
Since the recess of the talks in June 2001, back-channel talks have been conducted by GRP Panel Chair
Silvestre Bello, Speaker de Venecia, Presidential Peace Advisor Eduardo Ermita, andPresidential
Management Staff Silvestre Afable Jr with the NDF leadership. In a meeting in the Netherlands and
Norway on November 29 - December 3, 2001, both sides agreed on an accelerated negotiation process,
from an 18-24 month timeframe to 4-6 months completion period for the negotiations. However, the GRP
Panel was instructed by the President to obtain NDF agreement to its proposal for a final, comprehensive
peace accord. In line with the President’s directive, the GRP Panel proposed an enhanced process whereby
both Panels will complete a final peace agreement that will contain the remaining substantive agenda for
the talks, within end in view of bringing logical conclusion to the negotiations towards the attainment of a
just and lasting peace. On April 15 2002, the NDF sent a letter rejecting the GRP’s proposal.
The talks continue on “recess” status. Informal meetings in May and June 2002 have centered on a possible
mutually acceptable formulation for the final peace accord. Despite the US government’s designation of the
CPP-NPA-NDF as a foreign terrorist organization, the Peace Panels of both parties maintain open lines of
communication geared at agreement on measures to facilitate the resumption of the talks." (UNDP 23
September 2002, pp. 27-29)
GRP-MNLF Peace Process (September 2002)
•
Peace process between the GRP and the MNLF started in 1976. A peace agreement was signed in
1996.
•
The government’s position is that it has complied with the GRP-MNLF Peace Agreement.
•
Executive Order No. 80 of March 11th , 2002, orders the abolition and winding up of the Special Zone
of Peace and Development (SZOPAD), the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development
(SPCD) and the Consultative Assembly, transfer of the functions, responsibilities, and qualified staff
to ARMM and SPDA.
•
GRP policy has subsequently been to recognize ARMM and its governor as the sole representatives of
the Bansamoro people
32
•
The two principal MNLF factions are not in agreement with the decision to declare the formal,
interactive first phase of the peace process finalized.
•
The faction loyal to Nur Misuari has a confrontational position in relation to the government, and it
considers itself to be completely excluded from the peace process.
•
The EC-15, recognized by the GRP as the leadership of the MNLF, questions R.A. 9054 and the
August 14th plebiscite, and it also requested the postponement of the elections.
"The peace process between the GRP and the MNLF spans a quarter of a century having began in 1976. Six
years of implementation processes have now elapsed since the 1996 Peace Agreement. The GRP is now
declaring that it has complied with the terms of the peace agreement, thus finalizing “Phase One” of the
process. This position is not shared by any of the factions into which the MNLF is divided. The
Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) has yet to pronounce on the issue.
The government’s position is that it has complied with the GRP-MNLF Peace Agreement with the passage
of Republic Act 9054 “An Act to Strengthen and Expand the Organic Act for the Autonomous Regional in
Muslim Mindanano” on February 7. 2001 which lapsed into law on March 31, 2001 without the signature
of the President, in accordance with Article VI, Section 27 (1) of the Constitution.
The GRP also holds that it complied with the agreements through the holding of the plebiscite on the
“Expanded Autonomous Region” per Article II Section 1 and Section 2 of the Republic Act 9054 on
August 14th 2001. The results of the plebiscite were certified by the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) in its resolution No. 4561 of 28th August 2002. On the question of acceptance of the
amendments to Republic Act No. RA 9054 by the existing ARMM provinces, including the question of the
expansion of ARMM, the vote was overwhelmingly positive in all four provinces.
On the issue of ARMM expansion only the province of Basilan and Marawi City voted to join the expanded
ARMM, while even the provisional capital and non-ARMM enclave of Cotabato City and Isabela City, the
capital of Basilan, voted negatively. The two closest provinces in the vote, Lanao del Norte and North
Cotabato, voted 5 x1 and 10 x 1, against inclusion. All other provinces and cities voted over 10 x 1 against
inclusion with the extreme cases of rejection being with votes of over 100 x 1 negative.23
The GRP also holds that it has completed the GRP-MNLF peace process by holding elections for
Governor, Vice Governor, and the ARMM Assembly subsequent to the plebiscite on November 26th 2002.
The elections demonstrated a bipolar tendency with only two candidates for governor and vice governor
receiving an overwhelming majority of the votes. Even the third candidate has only a nominal vote for each
of the two posts:
On the basis of Article XVIII, Section 16 of R.A. No. 9054 that provides that the Special Zone of Peace and
Development (SZOPAD), the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCD) and the
Consultative Assembly are deemed to be abolished and should cease to exist as of the date of the approval
of R.A. 9054 in a plebiscite, Malacañang issued Executive Order No. 80 of March 11th , 2002. It orders the
abolition and winding up of the aforementioned entities, transfer of the functions, responsibilities, and
qualified staff to ARMM and SPDA.
GRP policy has subsequently been to recognize ARMM and its governor as the sole representatives of the
Bansamoro people (replacing in that role the MNLF per the 1996 peace agreement). It also will channel all
developmental assistance through ARMM in its jurisdiction and to SPDA outside of the ARMM area, as
well as through foundations and cooperatives.
There is no doubt about the legality of the GRP position in relation to formal compliance with the 1996
Peace Agreements. This consists of generating a new ARMM law, holding a plebiscite and a new ARMM
election, or abolishing SZOPAD, SPCPD, and the Consultative Council as a result of the new election.
33
There is also no doubt that it can channel further assistance to former Muslim insurgents from both the
MNLF and MILF through ARMM, SPDA, and a group of foundations and cooperatives to be founded for
this purpose. Legally and administratively the situation is clear.
The issue raised, however, is not legal or administrative. It is rather whether a peace process can be
successful if the other party to the accord is not in agreement with the decision to declare the formal,
interactive first phase of the peace process finalized. This question is further complicated by the fact that
the MNLF is no longer unified but clearly divided into different factions. However, none of those factions
is in agreement with the actions taken by GRP without the consent of the MNLF. The positions of the two
principal MNLF factions are now described.
The MNLF under Chairman Nur Misuari rejects Republic Act 9054, the plebiscite held under it, and the
ARMM elections. Indeed, Misuari led some of his forces into rebellion in Jolo and Zamboanga City in
November 2001 in an apparent attempt to disrupt the electoral process. He was destituted as governor,
became a fugitive, was subsequently captured, and is currently on trial as a result of this chain of events.
This faction now has a confrontational position in relation to the government, and it considers itself to be
completely excluded from the peace process.
The MNLF Executive Council of 15 named Governor Misuari ”Chairman Emeritus” after a critique of his
leadership style and assumed control of the organization The GRP recognized the EC-15 as the leadership
of the MNLF. The EC-15 has chosen Mr. Hatamil Hassan as Interim Chairperson. The EC-15 like the rest
of the MNLF questions R.A. 9054 and the August 14th plebiscite, and it also requested the postponement
of the elections. EC-15 MNLF Secretary General. Mayor Muslimin Sema of Cotabato City was the initial
favorite for the post of ARMM Governor but after the negative vote of Cotabato city for inclusion in
ARMM his candidacy was no longer viable.
Finally, MNLF Foreign Minister and EC-15 member Parouk Hussin was elected governor. However, the
MNLF has a marginal position in both the MNLF ARMM assembly with 1 out of 24 seats. Likewise, in the
Cabinet, the MNLF has three seats with the Governor assuming the post of Regional Secretary of Public
Works, while other MNLF members have the posts of Regional Secretary of Interior and Local
Government, Regional Secretary of Science and Technology and Regional Secretary Social Welfare.
Given this situation described the EC-15 faction of the MNLF feels marginalized from ARMM despite the
governorship. This sense of marginalization is due in part to Governor Parouk Hussin having wis ely (in the
view of the author) decided to form a balanced government that reflects the political realities of the ARMM
region and Assembly. He has also correctly decided to govern as the representative of all of the citizens of
ARMM and not just those of one politico-military force.
The sense of marginalization throughout the MNLF is also due in part to the fact that the MNLF has not
recreated itself opportunely. It has been apparent for several years that the MNLF must undergo a
metamorphosis and convert itself into a political party and/or civil society movement and/or cooperative
movement, and preferably all of the above. The same holds for MILF as its peace process proceeds. The
lack of organization as a political party limits the capacity of MNLF to participate in elections and
negatively conditions the results achieved. The GRP supports the process of formation of political parties,
foundations, and cooperatives by the politico-military organizations as part of the full integration of excombatants. The transition from being a politico-military organization to the other organizational forms is a
task that the MNLF has postponed too long, and for which it is paying a high political and administrative
price.
Both of the major MNLF factions opposed the abolition of the Southern Philippines Council on Peace and
Development (SPCPD). However, one of its members and former SPCPD Director, Mayor Muslimin Sema
of Cotabato City, has been named to the post of Chairman of the Board of the entity that has assumed
SPCPD functions outside of ARMM, the Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA), a statutory
entity. Both of the faction of the MNLF that opposes the government, and the faction that the government
34
supports, opposed RA 9054 as violating the “spirit and letter of the 1996 peace agreement”. Consequently
both opposed the timing of the plebiscite, and both asked for the postponement of the elections." (UNDP 23
September 2002, pp. 22-25)
See also:
"Peace and Development: The MNLF and the SPCPD Experience", November 1998
"Priority Issues and Concerns about the Implementation of the 1996 GRP-MNLF Peace Accord",
November 1998
"The Highlights of Implementation of the Final Peace Agreement", August 1998
GRP-MILF Peace Process (July 2003)
•
The"Agreement on Peace" signed by the MILF and the government in June 2001 is currently in the
process of operationalization. Two complementing documents were agreed upon since: 1) the
'Implementing guidelines on the security aspects of the Tripoli peace agreement of 2001' signed in
August 2001and 2) 'Implementing guidelines on the humanitarian, rehabilitation, and development
aspects' signed in May 2002.
•
the latest agreement on humanitarian, rehabilitation, and development issues stipulates that it will
safeguard the observance of international humanitarian law, respect for internationally recognized
human rights, and fundamental freedoms for all persons.
•
the major pending agenda items between the GRP and the MILF are the questions of ancestral domain
and the disposition of arms and forces.
•
the GRP agrees to relieve the evacuee situation and allow a return to the places occupied prior to 'All
Out War', as well as to pay reparations for properties lost and damages sustained. In sum, a reversal of
the effects on the population of the 'All Out War'.
•
The MILF accepts working with ARMM in its area and other government agencies outside of ARMM
(SPDA in effect), through MILF civil society organizations, including a foundation, the recently
founded Bangsamoro Development Agency.
•
Fighting and displacement resumed in Mindanao from November 2002 to June 2003. As of July 19,
2003, government and MILF agreed on a mutual cessation of hostilities.
•
Malaysia agreed to play a role in facilitating the ceasefire process and the US promised to facilitate
rehabilitation and development in conflict-affected areas.
"The GRP-MILF peace process began in 1997 and reached a breakthrough with the 'Agreement on Peace'
of June 22nd, 2001 signed at Tripoli, Libya. That agreement is currently in the process of
operationalization. First there was the 'Implementing Guidelines on the Security Aspect of the Tripoli Peace
Agreement of 2001' signed August 7th, 2001 at Putrajaya, Malyasia. More recently there was the agreement
'Implementing Guidelines on the Humanitarian, Rehabilitation, and Development Aspects of the GRPMILF Tripoli Agreement of Peace of 2001' signed May 7th, 2002 at Putrajaya, Malaysia.
The latest agreement on humanitarian, rehabilitation, and development issues stipulates that it will
safeguard the observance of international humanitarian law, respect for internationally recognized human
rights, and fundamental freedoms for all persons. These are the criteria and standards that that should guide
the monitoring mechanism of Article VI of the agreement to be undertaken by the joint Coordinating
Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH).
The agreement also assures full access for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 'in
accordance with ICRC’s standard operating procedures'. It stipulates that 'in conformity with international
35
humanitarian law, each party shall provide information, through the tracing mechanism of the ICRC, to
families of all persons who are unaccounted for.'
They also agree that the 'parties shall pave the say for the immediate return of evacuees to their places of
origin and provide all necessary financial/material and technical assistance to those evacuated for them to
begin a new life. The GRP shall award reparations for the properties lost or destroyed by reasons of the
conflict upon reasonable proof thereon as mutually verified and acknowledged by both parties.' (Article V,
Numeral 3).
The only political and institutional issues deal primarily with project implementation and monitoring
modalities. The MILF 'will establish a project implementing body, which will have the power and function
to receive and disburse private and GRP funds.' (Article V, Numeral 1). The MILF also recognizes
established institutions for project management, as per GRP policy:
'Consistent with GRP’s resolve to task the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as its
primary implementing agency for development, the ARMM shall enter into contractual relations within its
charter, pertaining to rehabilitation and development with the MILF project implementing body. Likewise,
with other government development agencies outside ARMM areas.' 19 (Article V, Numeral 2).
In a second agreement known as the 'Joint Communique Between the GRP and the MILF' signed May 6th
2002 at Cyberjaya, Malaysia, the two sides agreed to 'the isolation and interdiction of all criminal sindicates
and kidnap-for-ransom gangs, including so called ‘lost commands’ operating in Mindanao.'
Given these agreements, the major pending agenda items between the GRP and the MILF are the questions
of ancestral domain and the disposition of arms and forces. The question of the ancestral domains of
Muslim communities is complex and difficult, especially in light of conflicting interests and claims
between indigenous and Muslim small holders, large Muslim landowners, Christian settlers, plantation
agriculture corporations, timber and mining interests, and oil and gas exploration groups. The legal
rights of indigenous peoples contained in Republic Act 8371 'Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997' have
already been guaranteed by law and should not suffer a roll-back in the subsequent negotiation process to
guarantee other groups their rights as well. An MNLF policy statement maintains that both the MILF and
the MNLF agree that RA8731 on indigenous ancestral domain should also apply to the Bangsamoro people.
The government has yet to pronounce on this claim.
If the security, humanitarian, rehabilitation, development, and ancestral domain aspects of the GRP-MILF
Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001 are successfully concluded, the disposition of MILF arms and forces
should not present major difficulties. However, if the policy and institutional arrangements on these issues
do not prove effective, and especially if the ancestral domain issue leads to acute conflicts over land, the
demobilization of MILF combatant could prove very difficult.
In sum, both the GRP and the MILF have demonstrated political will and flexibility. This has translated
into the capacity to rapidly reach 'implementing guideline' agreements. On one side the MILF has restricted
its agenda to economic and social issues and demands feasible relief, rehabilitation, and development
projects. The institutional arrangements are those necessary to implement the projects. The MILF accepts
working with ARMM in its area and other government agencies outside of ARMM (SPDA in effect),
through MILF civil society organizations, including a foundation, the recently founded Bangsamoro
Development Agency. It has also agreed to collaborate with the government in the persecution of criminal
elements that inhabit the same inaccessible areas utilized by the MILF, especially in the Maguindanao
marsh areas.
On the other side the GRP agrees to relieve the evacuee situation and allow a return to the places occupied
prior to 'All Out War', as well as to pay reparations for properties lost and damages sustained. In sum, a
reversal of the effects on the population of the 'All Out War'. Of course, the MILF as an organization would
36
not return to the situation 'antebellum' in that there would be no resurrection of the armed camps, exclusion
of the State, and MILF territorial control.
The MILF and GRP are moving into a new relationship based on collaboration in relief, rehabilitation, and
development, as well as in the improvement of the law and order situation in Mindanao. The MILF is
demonstrating more interest in economic and social development than in political institutions.
Immediately after the signing of the May, 2002 implementing guidelines the degree of optimism in the
MILF camp was such that MILF officials who previously thought that it would take five years to fully
articulate the 2001 Tripoli agreement expressed that it might take as little as six months. There was even
more optimism on the government side. Some key government actors in early May thought that the total
package could be finalized by the end of June.
However, upon arrival in Manila the GRP and MILF negotiators returned to the reality of the multiple
actors and stakeholders, policies and institutions, whose interactions shape events and condition results in
Mindanao.
On one side, the agreements signed in Malaysia were questioned in terms of ignoring on peace process
mechanisms, including consultative channels. The Tripoli Peace Agreement of 2001 and the Implementing
Guidelines on Security Aspect concluded on August 7th 2001 at Putrajaya, Malaysia were signed by the
Chairpersons of the GRP and MILF Peace Panels and the latter additionally by the Chairpersons of the their
respective Technical Committees. However, the May 7th, 2002. Implementing Guidelines on
Humanitarian, Rehabilitation, and Development Aspects were signed by presidential advisers with the GRP
peace panels and technical committee not in the negotiation process. Government officials stated that this
had permitted a fast track agreement without acrimonious debates and had set the stage for a rapid
conclusion of the entire peace process.
The procedure followed, however, was disconcerting to the government’s own peace team as well as to
wider groups. Some felt that a systematic process was being violated, as well as consultative and
participatory mechanisms, made more acute by prior announcements that the process was now to be
Mindanao rather than Manila driven. Gains in celerity had costs in consultation and consensus. This also
applied to the relations between actors on the ground, including the military ones on both sides, through
which peace may be constructed barangay by barangay.
On the other side, some national and local officials, broad sectors of the AFP and ex-President Estrada, all
protested the return of the evacuees to their places of origin and the payment of reparations A role for an
MILF entity in rehabilitation and development was also questioned. It was argued that these measures
would make in vain the sacrifices of AFP comrades in arms who fell on the field of battle to take the MILF
camps as part of the All Out War policy. It was also seen as rewarding the MILF despite their defeat in the
All Out War. The return of evacuees and reparations were not the original product of the Implementing
Guidelines of May, 2002 but rather stemmed from the Tripoli Peace Agreement of June 2001 (Literal B
'Rehabilitation Aspect, Section 3)
There was some criticism and resistance to this measure after June 2001, but it became more acute after the
May, 2002 Implementing Guidelines were signed. This led to toplevel executive meetings and highly
assertive Congressional hearings on the subject. The increased opposition is perhaps due to the measures
being effectively operationalized for real implementation while the original statement might have been
considered a more rhetorical statement of intentions. However, the increased resistance might also be due
to a changed international and national environment, especially in the mind-sets of the victory position,
considering that the two events are pre and post September 11th, 2001.
The difficulties encountered after the signing of the 'Implementing Guidelines on Humanitarian, Relief, and
Development' indicate that the negotiations on Ancestral Domain will be even more difficult. Indeed, some
37
of the negative tendencies in the law and order situation appear to be linked to apprehensions about
potential conflicts over the land issue.
What the two sets of reactions to the May 2001 Putrajaya agreements indicate as well are the continued
interaction of competing policy positions in Filipino society" (UNDP 23 September 2002, pp. 19-22)
As of February 2003, fighting and displacement resumed in Mindanao, until the...
Government and MILF agree to exploratory talks and sign a nine-point joint statement on 28 March
2003
"A breakthrough in the efforts to put back on track the stalled peace negotiations,” was how government
peace panel chair Jesus Dureza described the results of the exploratory talks with the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on March 27 and 28, where the parties agreed to
“exercise mutual restraint to minimize, if not put and end to, violence in Mindanao.”
[…]
Dureza led a government delegation to the exploratory talks with the MILF in Kuala Lumpur where a ninepoint joint statement was signed on March 28. But the two parties agreed to release copies of the statement
today (Sunday), after handing over copies to their respective principals - President Arroyo for the
government and the Central Committee for the MILF.
[…]
The parties also reaffirmed their commitment “to implement effectively on the ground all past and existing
GRP-MILF agreements,” but left details of the implementation for further discussion by the peace panels.
Asked why there was no agreement on a ceasefire to end the present hostilities, Dureza told MindaNews
there was no need because cessation of hostilities is already part of the previous agreements and the parties
had agreed to honor past agreements.
The parties agreed to “exercise mutual restraint to minimize, if not put and end to, violence in Mindanao.”
The fourth item provides that to “normalize the situation and facilitate the early return of evacuees to their
places of origin and allow rehabilitation to proceed, a new arrangement on the ground will be forged by the
parties.”
This was immediately followed by the item which states that the Philippine government “takes note of the
activation of the Bangsamoro Development Agency.”
[…]
The BDA is the project implementing body of the MILF tasked to “determine, lead and
manage”rehabilitation and development efforts in the conflict-affected areas, “except when public funds are
involved, in which case Government procedures and rules will be observed.”
On February 20, four days after Maj. Gen. Generoso Senga told reporters during a tour of Buliok Complex,
that the war “is over.” President Arroyo announced that an oil palm plantation will soon rise in Buliok,
Complex, Liguasan Marsh.
Tasked by the President to work out a “comprehensive peace and development program” in Buliok was
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Eduardo Ermita, who signed as witness to the May 7, 2002
commu nique with the MILF, on the rehabilitation efforts through the project implementing body, the BDA.
The parties also agreed to direct their technical committees to meet within two weeks to work on the
implementing guidelines of the controversial May 6, 2002 Joint Communique “to ensure that the peace
process is not adversely affected by the presence of criminal groups in Mindanao.”
38
The parties also agreed to “improve the existing mechanism for monitoring of the cessation of hostilities
including the composition of an observer/monitoring group” as provided for in the Tripoli Agreement of
2001.
The existing mechanism is the Local Monitoring Team. An earlier plan to have a monitoring team from the
Organization of the Islamic Conference, which has been brokering the peace talks since the 1970s, has not
been implemented.
The ninth item expressed the parties’ gratitude to Malaysia for hosting and facilitating the exploratory
talks." (Mindanews 30 March 2003)
"Mutual cessation of hostilities" as of 19 July 2003
"The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have agreed on a "mutual cessation of
hostilities" starting Saturday, July 19, President Arroyo said in a statement today.
[…]
The President's announcement also came exactly six years after the signing of the July 18, 1997 general
cessation of hostilities in Cagayan de Oro, an agreement honored more in breach than in practice by both
parties.
The Office of the Press Secretary reported in its website the President's announcement of a "breakthrough."
'I call on the panels to enter in formal talks towards a final peace agreement. I anticipate the deployment of
a Malaysian ceasefire observer team soon. We are teaming up with our partners in the OIC (Organization of
the Islamic Conference) to ensure the effectiveness and durability of this effort,' the President said.
The President ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to downgrade its action "from punitive
operations to active defense" against the MILF. 'This is in line with the policy of calibrated reciprocity that
will continue to guide our actions in the peace process.'
The President also ordered the Department of the Interior and Local Government to 'lift the corresponding
rewards for the arrest or capture'of MILF officials. Safe conduct passes will also be issued, as provided for
under the GRP-MILF Agreement for Safety and Security Guarantees, for 90 days, according to the Office
of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
Third party monitoring, Ms Arroyo said, is important 'for the success of a prospective ceasefire once the
talks start. It will help build confidence and stabilize the situation on the ground, which is one of our
primary objectives aside from the return of the evacuees to their homes and ensuring the success of the
peace negotiation itself. We welcome Malaysia's role in facilitating the ceasefire process just as we
welcome the role of the US in facilitating rehabilitation and development in conflict-affected areas. We are
confident this tripartite approach will help seal the peace in Mindanao.' " (Mindanews 18 July 2003)
See also:
"The GRP-MILF agreements 2001-2003: 'To honor, respect and implement' ", Mindanews, 3 June
2003
Conflict map prepared by CFSI, July 2002
39
Full text of the "Implementing Guidelines on the Humanitarian, Rehabilitation and Development
Aspects of the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001"
Full text of the June 22, 2001 GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement
"Office of SZOPAD Concerns to replace SPCPD", Mindanews, 3 October 2001
"To Talk or not to Talk: the Ups and Downs of the GRP-MILF Peace Talks", November 1999
"On the GRP-MILF Peace Talks", November 1998
"SZOPAD Coverage Areas", NEDA-SPCPD, 1995
40
POPULATION PROFILE AND FIGURES
General
Selected Mindanao statistics (1998)
Source: ADB, March 1998, Socio-Economic Profile of Cotabato, Provincial Planning and Development
Office (PPDO), 1998; NSO, 1998" (Oxfam January 2001, pp. 4-5)
Total number of IDPs
Between 110,000 and 150,000 people still displaced as a result of the AFP-MILF war
(July 2003)
41
•
As of 23 July 2003, the remaining number of people displaced was estimated by the DSWD at around
157,043, with a third living in some 101 evacuation centers, most of them located in Maguindanao and
Lanao del Sur of the ARMM region.
•
Statistics on the number of evacuees, validated by the UN, put the total number of displaced in the
hardest hit regions of Mindanao at 111,000 as of 30 June 2003.
•
DSWD estimated that as of May 2003 there were some 354,000 people displaced, mainly as a result of
the escalation of fighting since January 2003
•
As of March 2003, some 214,000 people were displaced by the fighting.
Data on the internally displaced validated by the UN, as of June 30, 2003
42
Source: UNDP, 4 August 2003
43
"According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), there are 354,488 civilians
displaced since January due to the escalation of fighting between government troops and MILF fighters in
many areas in Mindanao. The evacuees are scattered in 167 temporary shelters in four regions, including
the ARMM. A total of 12 provinces and 68 municipalities have been affected by violence, the DSWD
said." (Balay 5 June 2003)
410,000 people displaced since January 2003
"At present, around 41,612 families, or 410,419 individuals, have been displaced to 162 evacuation centers
in 56 municipalities and three cities in Mindanao, Western Mindanao, Northern Mindanao, Central
Mindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao." (The Manila Times 29 May 2003)
357,025 displaced since January 2003, 210,000 still unable to return as of May 2003
"Armed conflict across Mindanao has displaced a total of 357,025 villagers since January 21, but as of May
25, only 146,606 have returned home.
Records from the office of Secretary Corazon Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD) showed that as of 11 p.m. of May 25, 41,612 families or a total of 210,419 evacuees
displaced from 262 barangays in 56 affected municipalities have yet to return home. The DSWD report
recorded 205 dead and 166 injured since January 21.
The number of houses damaged has reached 5,925 of which 5,002 were “totally” damaged. Thus far,
P63.54 million has been spent for relief assistance: P52.40 million from the DSWD, P5.7 million from the
local government units and P5.3 million from NGOs and other government agencies." (Cyberdyaryo 28
May 2003)
Opposition Senator says government is deflating figures
"Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. (PDP-Laban) today reproached Malacañang for deflating the figures on the
number of persons displaced by the Mindanao war which he said was meant to hide its blunder for ordering
the bombing of so-called terrorist cells supposedly embedded in civilian communities.
Pimentel debunked the claim of Presidential Chief-of-Staff Rigoberto Tiglao that only 3,500 civilians have
been displaced by the latest military offensive.
Tiglao belied Pimentel’s claim that about 318,000 persons have been affected. Pimentel said this figure was
supplied to him by non-government organizations (NGOs) in Mindanao that have been monitoring the
movement of evacuees in Zamboanga del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Maguindanao and North
Cotabato since the military offensive in Buliok complex, Liguasan Marsh last February.
He said an updated report indicated that the number of evacuees has soared to 350,000 by today (May 26).
'Unofficial latest estimate showed that 350,000 not 318,000 civilians have been displaced since the first
military offensive of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration,' Pimentel said.
The senator from Mindanao said Tiglao committed a mistake by insisting that only a few thousand were
forced to flee their homes as a consequence of the bombings unleashed by the AFP starting last week.
'Somebody is using dagdag-bawas tactic on the evacuees’ figures, not me. But what is certain is that
thousands have been displaced by the Mindanao war,' Pimentel said.
44
He said even Social Welfare and Development Corazon Soliman has confirmed that 318,000 civilians have
been displaced." (Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel 26 May 2003)
Government claims only 3,500 displaced...
"The number of civilians displaced by the government’s punitive actions against 'embedded terror cells' in
Mindanao stands at only one-tenth of the figure touted by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Malacañang said
Sunday.
In a press briefing, Rigoberto Tiglao, presidential chief of staff, said Pimentel is 'completely misinformed'
on the number of displaced civilians in the South as a result of the military operations in Central Mindanao
and Zamboanga del Norte.
Tiglao said the displaced civilians number about 3,500 only.
'It is very sad. Senator Pimentel is totally misinformed. It is not 350,000 people affected by punitive actions
but only 3,500. There has been a mistake somewhere,' Tiglao said." (Manila Times 26 May 2003)
DSWD report 214,000 displaced as of March 2003
"Nearly a quarter million people were displaced by fighting between government troops and Muslim
separatists in the southern Philippines last month and remain fearful of returning home, officials said on
Tuesday.
Government officials plan to declare the area of the Liguasan Marsh on Mindanao island a de facto
demilitarized zone to entice the displaced residents to return members of President Gloria Arroyo's cabinet
told a joint major offensive in the area in mid-February to pursue kidnappers and terror bombing suspects
allegedly being sheltered by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country's largest Muslim
separatist guerrilla force. The fighting left nearly 200 people dead.
'The total number of families affected is 40.153 and the total number of individuals is 214.000.' Social
Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman told the press briefing.
Twelve of the 101 government-run shelters put up by the government for the displaced had sincebeen
closed dpwn, but the centers remain packed and 12 people had died due to various diseases, she added."
(AFP 6 March 2003)
At least 45,000 people displaced in Mindanao at the end of 2002
•
At least 45,000 people still displaced at the end of 2002.
•
Some 95,000 persons were displaced by armed conflict between January and November 2002.
•
As of January 2002, the government estimated that 67,000 persons were displaced, most of them
outside evacuation centers.
As of the end of September, the DSWD of the ARMM region stated that there were still some 45,539
IDPs living in evacuation centers. With persistent fighting and renewed displacement occurring up to
the end of the year throughout Mindanao, it is very difficult to provide a realistic estimate of the total
number of people displaced (inside and outside evacuation centers), and the figure of 45,000 should be
considered as a conservative estimate.
45
Source:DSWD-ARMM, 8 November 2002
Number of people displaced during 2002
According to the Philippine NGO Ecumenical Commission for Displaced Families and Communities
(ECDFC), some 85,000 people were displaced by armed conflict between January and August 2002. Since
then additional fighting has displaced at least 10,000 persons in the provinces of Lanao del Sur and
Maguindanao (Mindanews 28 October 2002), putting the total number around 95,000. Out of these 95,000
persons the majority has been able to return once the fighting subsided, but an unknown number, mainly in
Sulu and Basilan ( where figures are difficult to obtain), are probably still displaced.
46
For details on the displacement incidents see:
-Review of conflict-related displacement incidents during 2002 (August 2002)
IDPs in evacuation centers (as of June 2002)
"The numb er of IDPs who remained at the evacuation centers that had a count of 1,033 families (5,165
persons) as of 31 March 2002 further decreased to 567 families (2,764 persons) as of 30 June 2002. From
fourteen (14) evacuation centers that unofficially continued to shelter IDP families at the beginning of the
reporting period, only ten (10) evacuation centers remained with IDPs by the end of the period. Many IDPs
in the evacuation centers in Carmen and Pagalungan were finally able to go home as the security situation
in their communities of origin significantly improved. The availability of shelter and livelihood assistance
at the communities of origin further encouraged their return. However, no movements were recorded
among the IDP families that continued to remain in the evacuation centers in Pagagawan municipality."
(CSFI July 2002, p. 2)
Source: CFSI June 2002
Number and location of displaced people as of January 2002
47
Over 135,000 persons still displaced in Mindanao at the end of 2001
The total number of persons displaced in Mindanao as of November 27, 2001 is estimated to be
between 135,000 and 150,000.
The total number of persons still displaced by the fighting that started in Mindanao in March 2000
between the AFP (government security forces) and the MILF is estimated to be between 80,000 and
100,000. These figures are to be taken with caution as government figures include those "affected" by
the Mindanao conflict and who have sought assistance from the government and exclude those
displaced who didn't seek government's assistance. (USCR June 2001)
In addition, a total of 28,717 families have been displaced by conflict-related incidents between
January and November 2001 (ECDFC 23 November 2001; Balay 27 November 2001). Most of the 2001displaced have returned since but there are still an estimated 9,573 families (or 52,651 persons)
displaced in November 2001 who have yet not been able to return. The 25,000 persons displaced by
the fighting between the AFP and a kidnapper group on November 17 are staying in warehouses or
gymnastic houses in Pikit (North Cotabato province) while the 15,790 persons displaced by the
fighting between the AFP and the MNLF on November 18 are housed in 10 evacuation centers in
Jolo (ECDFC 23 November 2001). The most recent displacement took place on November 27, 2001
following renewed fighting between the MNLF and the government forces around Zamboanga City
forcing an estimated 2,000 families (or 11,000 persons) to flee their homes. (Balay 27 November 2001)
48
Number of IDPs in or outside evacuation centers in
Mindanao as of 27 November 2001
To
tal
No
rth
Co
tab
M
ag ato
uin
La dan
a
na
od o
el
Su
r
Ba
sil
an
Za
m
Su
bo
lu
an
g
aC
Su
ity
lta
Za n K
ud
m
bo
ar
a
an
ga t
No
rte
M
Za
a
m
ra
wi
bo
an
Ci
ty
ga
de
lS
ur
160000
140000
120000
100000
80000
60000
40000
20000
0
Provinces
Philippine Government figures
According to figures provided by the Departement of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
there are still an estimated 83,038 IDPs in Mindanao as of 5 November 2001, most of them (73,093)
accommodated outside evacuation centers .
33% of are in Maguidanao province (ARMM region)
19% are in Lanao del Sur province (ARMM region)
19% are in Basilan province (region IX)
18% are in North Cotabato province (region XII)
6% are in Zamboanga Norte province (region IX)
5% are in Sulu province (ARMM region)
PROVINCES
Maguindanao
Lanao del Sur
Basilan
North Cotabato
Sultan Kudarat
Zamboanga Norte
Sulu
Marawi City
Zamboanga del Sur
Zamboanga City
TOTAL
Number of IDPs
34,545 (6,154)*
20,460 (804)*
19,896 (0)*
18,612 (2,678)*
6,029 (1,023)*
4,901 (0)*
522 (0)*
309 (309)*
257 (0)*
17 (0)*
83,038 (9,945)*
*The figures between brackets show the number of IDPs still sheltered in evacuation centers
Source: DSWD/DROMIC, 5 November 2001
49
Fighting between AFP and MILF displaced nearly 1 million person during 2000
•
As of November 2001, 90% of the displaced had returned or relocated.
•
Nearly 1 million people displaced uring the 2000 war between MILF and AFP, 6,000 houses
destroyed, more civilians than combattants killed.
•
The type of displacement produced was qualitatively different from those seen in recent years, with a
tendency toward longer-term displacements.
"The most significant displacement was recorded in Maguindanao, Sulu, Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato
and Marawi City. In November 2001, the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) reported
that 71 percent of the displaced were in these areas of Region 12 and the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao (ARMM). At that time 90 percent or 849,000 of the estimated 932,000 people dis placed by the
conflict have already either returned to their homes or moved to other places of relocation." (WB 3 March
2003)
"Increased militarization has led to more civilian than military fatalities. In the period of maximum combat
in the year 2000 (January-August), there were 218 soldiers and militiamen killed and 354 civilian fatalities,
as well as 457 MILF killed. The government also reports that more civilians died in the evacuee centers
than in combat. That figure of over 700 civilian deaths in combat or in evacuee centers is greater than the
combined soldier, militia, and MILF losses of 677 in the same period.
Increased militarization has also led to the destruction of over 6000 homes and the internal displacement of
nearly one million persons, 300,000 of whom were in that status in October 2000.
The National Peace Forum identified two cases that they consider to constitute intentional destruction of
housing by the Army (Nalapoan Pikit, North Cotabato and Matanog, Maguindanao). The same
representatives point out that this should not be considered a pattern in that other cases have not been
identified. However, the tactics employed did objectively lead to a large number of houses destroyed and a
massive displacement of civilian population. The type of displacement produced is also qualitatively
different from those seen in recent years. There now exists a tendency toward longer-term displacements
for the first time since the 1970’s. Only 10% of the persons whose homes have been destroyed desire to
return to their place of origin as of October, 2000. In some cases relocation is being undertaken. The
displaced persons do not wish to return to the locations of their previous homes due to the presence of the
military, not because they fear the soldiers, but rather because stationary or in transit military draw MILF
attacks that frequently place civilians in cross-fire situations. The net result is that human security in the
areas affected has deteriorated as a result of militarization." UNDP 13 November 2000, p. 4)
Number of IDPs over the last 3 years
•
200,000 still displaced at the end of 1999.
•
122,820 still displaced at the end of 1998.
•
189,000 displaced in 1997.
"Data gathered by the Ecumenical Commission for Displaced Families and Communities (ECDFC) showed
an alarming increase in the number of families displaced in 1999. The Research, Documentation and
Publication Program (RDPP) of the ECDFC confirmed 34 incidents of displacement in 1999 that resulted
50
in the evacuation of some 53,464 families or 320,784 individuals. Majority of these cases happened in
Mindanao." (ECDFC, February 2000)
"In 1999 [in Mindanao] alone, there have been 26 incidents of displacement or evacuation due to fighting,
affecting some 148 towns, barangays and municipalities, dislocating 50,971 families from their homes and
their livelihoods. (…) while 235 families from the Visayas region were displaced by clashes between
government troops and communist rebels." (PAHRA, April 2000)
"At the end of the year [1999], as many as 200,000 persons were estimated to be internally displaced in the
Philippines, primarily as a result of armed conflict between the Philippine government and insurgent forces.
Other causes included clan or tribal wars." (USCR, 2000)
"At the end of the year [1998], approximately 20,740 families (estimated to be 122,820 persons) were
internally displaced in the Philippines." (USCR, 1999)
"Between January and December 1997, there were 550 recorded incidents of displacement, not counting
those caused by natural disasters: 31,564 families or 189,000 people throughout the country were displaced
by counterinsurgency operations or by the demolition of urban shanties for the construction of government
development projects." (Medina-Salgado, 1998, pp. 134-137)
Years
1999
1998
1997
Total number of IDPs
200,000 persons
122,820 persons
189,000 persons
Geographical distribution and disaggregated figures
Over 30,000 displaced in Lanao province (July 2003)
•
As of early July 2003, there are some 32,000 people in Lanao, still displaced by the fighting between
the military and the MILF.
•
Contrary the DSWD' claim that there were no IDPs left in Lanao del Norte's coastal towns, the Civil
Society Forum for Peace (CSOFP) found that IDPs had not returned homeand that the remaining IDPs
are now house-based, since the evacuation centers have closed down.
•
Of the total number of displaced persons, children comprise 66.9 percent while women and men
comprise 21 and 12.1 percent, respectively
"There are now 6,557 families, or a total of 32,419 persons, who were displaced because of the fighting
between the military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Regina Antequisa, a peace advocate supervising relief operations in Lanao, reported that evacuees come
from Maigo, Munai, Kolambugan, Bacolod, Poona Piagapo, and Pantao Ragat of Lanao del Norte and in
the towns of Piagapo, Madalum, and Madamba in Lanao del Sur.
51
She noted that while the Department of Social Welfare and Development has declared that there were no
evacuees in Lanao del Norte’s coastal towns, but the Civil Society Forum for Peace (CSOFP) found out
that internally displaced persons (IDPs) have not returned completely to their places of origin for fear of
their lives.
Antequisa said that majority of the IDPs are now house-based after the local government units and social
welfare officers closed the evacuation centers.
She related that many, however, dare to visit their farms at daytime to gather food and return at their
evacuation place at nighttime.
The offensive military action that started last April 24 has not let up yet inasmuch as there has been no
directive from the national government to declare cessation of hostilities.
Only the heavy rains in Lanao these days have barred the soldiers from continually operating every day.
Antequisa said that of the total number of displaced persons, children comprise 66.9 percent while women
and men comprise 21 and 12.1 percent, respectively." (Mindanews 7 July 2003)
At least 30,000 IDPs in Pikit, North Cotabato (June 2003)
•
As of 30 June 2003, there are still some 30,000 IDPs in Pikit, staying in some 21 evacuation centers.
•
13 barangays were affected by the fighting.
•
There is also a larger number (about 60% of the total number of IDPs) of “outside-evacuation center”
or house-based evacuees that were identified by the Disaster Response Team composed of government
line agencies, NGOs, and church-based organizations based in Pikit.
According to figures provided by UNDP and based on the DSWD statistics, as of 30 June 2003, some
30,844 persons remained displaced in 21 evacuation centers in Pikit.
See " More than 150,000 people still displaced at the end of July 2003"
"The current situation of the IDPs in various evacuation sites in Pikit, North Cotabato is in very alarming
proportions due to the massive influx of IDPs from other areas who were eventually affected by the ongoing and expanding military operations. The number of evacuation sites is also increasing and the
capacities of each are diminishing at rapid rates that may lead to problems in health and sanitation. From
the 3,133 families or 17, 529 IDPs recorded on 10 February 2003, the IDPs ballooned to about 5,288
families or 32,158 persons in just three days. The number of evacuation sites also rose from 5 to 13 within
the same period. There are currently 13 barangays (still increasing) in Pikit who were recently affected.
The evacuation sites include, the Buisan Warehouse, NFA Warehouse, Mahad Fort Pikit, Parish Gym, NFE
Building, Apollo Theatre, Hill side Centre, Bulong Elementary School, Fort Pikit Primary School,
Ginatilan Elementary School, Pikit National High School, and Takupan. Except for the Buisan Warehouse,
most of the evacuation sites are equipped with water sources and toilets. The Buisan warehouse, which is
housing double its capacity (about 668 families) and is housing the most number of evacuees, has water
sources and toilets that are still under construction. As of the moment, the evacuees are staying inside the
poorly ventilated warehouse along with their animals (chicken and ducks). Just right outside are poorly
built tents (some of the tent canvasses were provided by the local government) while some have utilized
blankets or plastic mats as tents. Rains, however, could further make living conditions in this warehouse
more difficult.
52
Meanwhile, other evacuees camped in open lots and fields along the highway that are still located near the
identified evacuation sites. There is also a larger number (about 60% of the total number of IDPs) of
“outside-evacuation center” or house-based evacuees that were identified by the Disaster Response Team
composed of government line agencies, NGOs, and church-based organizations based in Pikit." (ECDFC
13 February 2003)
The majority of the displaced are Muslim (March 2003)
•
Oxfam estimates that 85 percent of those affected by conflict were Muslims, 17 percent were
Christians and 7 percent were from non-Muslim indigenous populations.
•
Most of the fighting between the military and the MILF were in camps that were located in towns that
had predominantly Muslim populations.
•
The ethnic composition of the displaced population is more or less reflective of the overall ethnic
composition of the areas directly affected by the armed conflict.
•
60-70 % of the population in affected barangays is Muslim and they tend to stay longer.
"Majority of people who were displaced as a result of the conflict in Mindanao that erupted in 2000 were
Muslims. Oxfam estimates that 85 percent of those affected by conflict were Muslims, 17 percent were
Christians and 7 percent were from non-Muslim indigenous populations. The reason for this pattern is that
much of the fighting between the Philippine troops and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were in
camps that were located in towns that had predominantly Muslim populations. The displacement by
Philippine military personnel of communities has also created a new kind of tension and is one reason why
Muslims find it hard to return to their homes. There are also Christians that stayed in government
evacuation centers, but they were able to return to their homes more easily. This is partly because the
evacuation centers had to be located further away from Muslim communities and were logically nearer the
Christian settlements." (WB 3 March 2003, pp. 12-13)
"Of Mindanao’s 17 million population, 64 % are Christians, 23 % Muslims and 18 % Lumads. Ethnic
preponderance varies in former Moro provinces where Christians have migrated. In Maguindanao,
Muslims (60%) predominate over Christians. In Cotabato, Christians (71%) predominate over Muslims
(18%) and Lumads. Armed skirmishes, aerial bombing and artillery fires usually occur in interior villages
where Muslims and Lumads predominate. The ethnic composition of the displaced population is more or
less reflective of the overall ethnic composition of the areas directly affected by the armed conflict.
However, more Muslim evacuees tend to go into and stay longer in evacuation centers than Christians. A
social worker from the Pikit MSWDO observes that Muslims preponderate among the evacuees, reflecting
the fact that 60-70 % of the population in affected barangays is Muslim and they tend to stay longer. Most
Christian evacuees, on the other hand, do not stay very long in the evacuation centers because they usually
come from barangays closer to the locations where the hostilities are not so drawn-out. […]
Lumads are also severely affected by the displacement resulting from the armed conflict. This is
exemplified by the case of the evacuees in the Macatactac evacuation center (barangay Liliongan, Carmen
municipality) – comprising of around 300 families all belonging to the Aromanon Manobo tribe. These
evacuees have been in the said evacuation center for one year already." (Oxfam January 2001, pp. 19-20)
The following figures and graphs are taken from a Oxfam G-B survey among displaced families in
Central Mindanao in November 2000. The target population was IDPs residing in evacuation centers in
Oxfam program area: Maguindanao, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudrat provinces.
53
When did the displaced migrate into the Evacuation Centers ?
Time Displaced Moved to Evacutation Centers
(in % Households)
7
17
76
> 5 Months ago
3 - 5 Months ago
</= 2 Months ago
Religion of the Displaced
Religion of the Displaced Families (in % Households)
5
10
85
Muslim
Christian
Others (Lumads)
Household size
54
Household Size (In % Households)
Household Size
> 15 Members
4
11
11 - 15 Members
51
6 - 10 Members
34
</= 5 Members
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
Per cent Households
Demographic composition
Demographic Composition (In % Population)
Age Group
Female </= 5 years
14
15
Male </= 5 years
35
Female > 5 years
36
Male > 5 years
0
10
20
30
40
Per cent Population
(Oxfam November 2000, p. 9)
55
PATTERNS OF DISPLACEMENT
General
Military campaigns are usually followed by massive displacement of communities
(March 2003)
•
During 2003, people have generally fled the fighting between the government troops and the MILF.
•
Military campaigns are usually followed by massive displacement of communities. Villagers are
sometimes ordered by the military to leave their villages to allow elbow room for troop maneuvers, or
villagers are driven out by the fear of being caught in the crossfire, or the terror of being accused as
sympathizers in whichever side of the current conflict.
"More people were displaced as skirmishes between government troopers and Moro rebels erupted anew in
four interior villages here even as representatives from the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation
Front were reported to have signed a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to the peace process.
Fierce fighting in North Cotabato, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat provinces stretched until yesterday
morning (March 30) in barangays Nas, Ranaban, Tumbras and Baliki, all in Midsayap. Armed men
believed to be MILF rebels staged a dawn assault in said barangays.
Reports said the ensuing clashes forced at least 2,000 civilians to flee their homes bringing to 221,000 the
total number of refugees in Mindanao’s war-torn areas.
The new group of evacuees sought temporary refuge in a nearby demonstration farm" (Mindanews 31
March 2003)
"Some 4,000 families or 20,000 residents, most of them Muslims, have fled 11 villages in Pikit, North
Cotabato since Saturday afternoon, fearing a crossfire between government forces and the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF).
As of 5 p.m. today (Sunday), 22 truckloads of Marine troopers have arrived in Pikit, Fr. Roberto Layson,
OMI, Pikit parish priest, said. Armored personnel carriers rolled into Pikit Friday night, he said.
[…]
Fr. Layson the evacuees from Barangay Rajamuda and 10 other villages along or near the Pulangui River,
are now in the poblacion of Pikit or neighboring towns of SK Pendatun and Pagalungan in Maguindanao.
The deployment of “25 battalions” according to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Maguindanao, and
the arrival of armored personnel carriers in Pikit Friday night, have evoked a war scenario here last seen in
June 2000.
But Major Julieto Ando, spokesperson of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the evacuees fled their
villages after seeing “some 2,000 MILF” (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) forces massing up in Barangays
Buliok and Cabasalan." (Mindanews 9 february 2003)
56
"Many regions in the Philippines are today highly militarized, and with increased military presence, the
number of reported human rights violations has risen.
[…]
Military campaigns are usually followed by massive displacement of communities. Villagers are sometimes
ordered by the military to leave their villages to allow elbow room for troop maneuvers, or villagers are
driven out by the fear of being caught in the crossfire, or the terror of being accused as sympathizers in
whichever side of the current conflict." (TFDP July 2002)
Tendency towards longer-term displacement (November 2000)
•
The type of displacement produced is qualitatively different from those seen in recent years. There now
exists a tendency toward longer-term displacements for the first time since the 1970’s.
•
The displaced persons do not wish to return to the locations of their previous homes due to the
presence of the military, not because they fear the soldiers, but rather because stationary or in transit
military draw MILF attacks that frequently place civilians in cross-fire situations.
"Increased militarization has also led to the destruction of over 6000 homes and the internal displacement
of nearly one million persons, 300,000 of whom were in that status in October 2000. The National Peace
Forum identified two cases that they consider to constitute intentional destruction of housing by the Army
(Nalapoan Pikit, North Cotabato and Matanog, Maguindanao). The same representatives point out that this
should not be considered a pattern in that other cases have not been identified. However, the tactics
employed did objectively lead to a large number of houses destroyed and a massive displacement of
civilian population. The type of displacement produced is also qualitatively different from those seen in
recent years. There now exists a tendency toward longer-term displacements for the first time since the
1970’s. Only 10% of the persons whose homes have been destroyed desire to return to their place of origin
as of October, 2000. In some cases relocation is being undertaken. The displaced persons do not wish to
return to the locations of their previous homes due to the presence of the military, not because they fear the
soldiers, but rather because stationary or in transit military draw MILF attacks that frequently place
civilians in cross-fire situations. The net result is that human security in the areas affected has deteriorated
as a result of militarization." (UNDP 13 November 2000, p. 4)
57
PHYSICAL SECURITY & FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT
Physical security
Displaced persons in Pikit ask to be able to bear arms before returning (March 2003)
•
IDPs in Pikit are asking to be armed before returning to their homes, in the "zones of peace".
•
Dinky Soliman, Social Welfare Secretary, said that the government would "think about it"
"Thousands of evacuees in the town of Pikit, North Cotabato, are asking to be allowed to arm themselves
when they return to rebuild their lives in the so-called "zone of peace" in the province.
This was one of the concerns raised by 28 barangay leaders from the strife-torn town in a recent dialogue
with social workers, said Social Welfare Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman.
'They feel they can be safer there if they have arms,' she said, recalling the March 10 dialogue which
tackled the "zone of peace" concept and how to go about returning the Pikit evacuees to their homes.
The village chiefs believe they have a greater chance of being "left alone" by those forces harassing them,
mainly the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front, if the latter knew that the residents themselves were
armed and capable of defending their families, Soliman said.
She said the idea of arming ordinary civilians, who are supposed to return to what the government has
declared a "zone of peace," was problematic for her.
But she noted that "for some of them, this (bearing arms) is the balance of power which can sustain relative
peace."
'To me, let's journey with them and find out what works for them. The zone of peace must be defined by the
people themselves,' she said.
As the barangay chiefs have been clear that 'it's an element necessary for them,' the government would have
to think about the proposal, she said ." (The Inquirer 19 March 2003)
Fact-finding mission reveals several human rights violations during army offensive in
Pikit (March 2003)
•
From Feb. 28 to March 4, a fact-finding mission was conducted by several NGOs in Pikit to investigate
report of human rights violations.
•
Aside from forced evacuations due to indiscriminate bombings and strafing, other cases of human
rights violations include illegal arrests; summary executions; burning of houses in North Cotabato and
Sharif Aguak, Maguindanao; and the desecration of religious structures and practices in all affected
towns and barangays.
•
Among the cases of human rights violations documented by the FFM were forced evacuations (53
cases), bombings (four cases), summary executions (10 cases) and looting of properties (44 cases).
58
•
Military authorities have reportedly declared several barangays "no man's land" where people are
barred from going back to their communities and farms.
•
New trends of militarization in the past months including the deployment of several military and paramilitary units, the massive recruitment of Citizens Armed Force Geographical Units (Cafgus) and
civilian volunteers, the forcible recruitment of national minorities for counter-insurgency, the
organizing of Tadtad (literally, “chop” or “behead”)and other vigilantes and the forced evacuations of
residents and ordinary folks.
"Members of the fact finding mission (FFM) who went to Pikit, North Cotabato from Feb. 28 to March 4 to
investigate reports of alleged human rights violations committed during recent government offensives
against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said over the weekend they will launch a national and
international campaign to bring back over 100,000 evacuees to their communities and rebuild their lives.
The fact finding mission, composed of delegates from Bayan Muna (People First), Karapatan (Alliance for
the Advancement of Human Rights) and Moro-Christian People's Alliance (MCPA) also asked President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Defense secretary Angelo Reyes to call off military offensives in North
Cotabato and the rest of the Central Mindanao provinces against MILF following reports indicating fresh
waves of massive evacuation as a result of escalating military operations.
An initial report of the FFM showed that aside from forced evacuations due to indiscriminate bombings and
strafing, other cases of human rights violations include the illegal arrest of six persons in Barangay (village)
Kidama; the summary execution of five civilians, two of them children in Datu Piang in Maguindanao; the
burning of 84 houses in North Cotabato and 77 houses in Sharif Aguak, Maguindanao; and the desecration
of religious structures and practices in all affected towns and barangays.
The number of civilians reportedly summarily executed could be higher given that the killing of the five
persons took place in just one incident. The death toll does not include those who have died due to
displacement, now totaling 12.
Among the cases of human rights violations documented by the FFM were forced evacuations (53 cases),
bombings (four cases), summary executions (10 cases) and looting of properties (44 cases). The factfinding mission will reveal the results of the three-day fact probe in a public forum on March 14 at the
Conference Hall of UP Asian Center, Diliman, Quezon City.
[...]
Enriquez said that while the military announced they would allow evacuees to go home, the people were
hesitant because of the intimidating presence of heavily-armed soldiers. There were also reports that the
military authorities have declared several barangays "no man's land" where people are barred from going
back to their communities and farms.
"From what we gathered from interviews, our conclusion was there is a deliberate move by the military to
flush out the civilians and prevent them from going back to their communities," Enriquez said.
Data obtained by the fact finding team composed of non-government organizations, church-led human
rights groups, medical associations and concerned individuals revealed at least 38,808 individuals or
roughly 60 percent of Pikit's population, were displaced during the military offensives last Feb. 11 alone.
Bishop's lament
[…]
"The government has declared victory (in the fight against MILF) but the misery of thousands of evacueefamilies is ignored in the news," Bishop Valles said. "The truth is, helpless evacuees are still there... silently
and bitterly suffering their lot of hunger, thirst, diseases, biting cold nights, uncertainties and deaths."
[…]
It said the martial-law type militarization has undermined the peace process and the peace negotiations
between government forces and rebel groups in the island. The bishop also said the Diocese of Kidapawan
59
was disturbed by new trends of militarization in the past months including the deployment of several
military and para-military units, the massive recruitment of Citizens Armed Force Geographical Units
(Cafgus) and civilian volunteers, the forcible recruitment of national minorities for counter-insurgency, the
organizing of Tadtad (literally, “chop” or “behead”)and other vigilantes and the forced evacuations of
residents and ordinary folks.
Since February, 12 persons, 10 of them children, have died at the height of military operations or while
staying in evacuation centers along highways and main roads leading to Pikit town proper.
Karapatan's Enriquez lambasted Macapagal-Arroyo's justification of collateral damage in pursuit of Moro
guerrillas and armed criminal groups in North Cotabato and adjacent provinces surrounding the Liguasan
Marsh.
[…]
On March 1, some evacuees went back to Sitio Galingayen, Barangay Makabual, and Pikit. Two days later,
soldiers from the 40TH IB burned their homes totaling to 27 houses, community residents said. Previous
reports said 77 homes were burned in Sharif Aguak, Maguindanao and 84 houses in North Cotabato.
"We will push for a full-blown congressional inquiry and show the public the necessity of pulling out
government troops and allowing the civilians to return to their homes and fix their lives in the name of just
and lasting peace and true justice," Enriquez said." (Bulatlat 15 March 2003)
IDPs caught in the cross-fire and at risk of "disappearance" (August 2002)
•
In March 2002 four IDPs evacuating their places in Basilan were singled out by the military and taken
away and were found dead the next day.
•
Two IDPs were killed and ten others wounded when army soldiers fired mortar rounds, supposed to be
directed against an MNLF lair, hitting the evacuation center in April 2002 in Parang, Jolo
"At around 11:00 a.m. on March 19, 2002 the residents of Sitio Bukana, Barangay Makiri, Lantawan heard
gunfire from nearby Barangay Balatanay, forcing them to evacuate their places. They met seven soldiers
along the way who instructed them to cease from leaving their place because they might be hit with mortar
bullets. After several hours, three military men approached them and forcibly took from their group four
men, namely: Sahak Abdul, 30s; Sattar Macrohon, 11; Naski Issing, 22; and Ben Buisan, 36.
At 6 in the afternoon, Makiri residents were shocked to see on television the lifeless bodies of these four
men whom the military passed off as ASG members they killed in what was reported as an encounter in
Sitio Bukana. ISM delegates interviewed two of the four widows of the victims. The Balikatan Watch
report on the case was validated and some details and additional information was added including:
a.) Contextualization: In September 2001 the Barangay Captain and seven councilors were dismissed by the
Governor, being accused as ASG members. A number of families fled from the area to Kumularang and
other areas. In March some families wanted to return to their home. At this time the massacre occurred.
b.) The families reported the disappearance and killing of their relatives to the military unit, but they got no
response.
c.) After the massacre the economic situation of the families deteriorated significantly. In one case a
woman with 9 children denounced that one of her children died because she had no money to buy
medicine.
d.) On the question why they are accused as ASG, they answered that when the military do not find any
ASG memb ers, they just accuse ordinary citizens." (ISM August 2002, p. 25)
60
"Many regions in the Philippines are today highly militarized, and with increased military presence, the
number of reported human rights violations has risen.
[…]
Military campaigns are usually followed by massive displacement of communities. Villagers are sometimes
ordered by the military to leave their villages to allow elbow room for troop maneuvers, or villagers are
driven out by the fear of being caught in the crossfire, or the terror of being accused as sympathizers in
whichever side of the current conflict. People are not safe even in evacuation centers—two brothers were
killed and 10 ranging in age from 10-57 were hurt when army soldiers fired mortar rounds, supposed to be
directed against an MNLF lair, hitting the evacuation center in April 2002 in Parang, Jolo." (TFDP July
2002)
"Seven persons were wounded, two of them critically, when five howitzer shells exploded at a school being
used as an evacuation center in Patikul town Wednesday night. Evacuees at the Darayan Kantatang
Elementary School said the shells started falling at around 8 p.m.
At least two shells landed on a school building and two others landed near a flagpole. The school is
providing temporary shelter to civilians fleeing clashes between soldiers and members of the Abu Sayyaf,
an extremist rebel group, which is still holding two hostages.
Col. Hilario Atendido, spokesperson for the military's Southern Command, said marines fighting a group of
Abu Sayyaf gunmen in Patikul called for fire support, but some of the shells landed by mistake at the
school, according to the Associated Press.
Atendido said the Southern Command has ordered an investigation. Seriously wounded were Intan Anud,
26, and Norin Daali, 20." (PDI 3 November 2000)
AI warns of human rights abuses in Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago (April 2002)
•
It is estimated that some 300,000 persons in Sulu have been affected by recent military operations
against the Abu Sayyaf Group.
•
The municipalities of Patikul, Talipao, Indanan, Maimbung, Luuk, Panamao, Parang, Panglima
Estino, Pangutaran and Hadji Panglima Tahil have been bombed by the military, while entire villages
have been scorched to the ground. Looting of private properties of civilians who were forcibly
evacuated was also done by unidentified military men.
•
The bombing of a school building in November 2001 wounded one evacuee while the children
developed skin diseases soon after the bombing.
•
In the municipality of Talipao, 50 out of 52 barangays are virtual “no man’s land” where evacuated
villagers attempting to sneak out harvests from their farms are reportedly shot in sight by the military.
•
AI claims military operations against Muslim secessionist groups and kidnap gangs in Mindanao have
been accompanied by persistent reports of human rights violations, including indiscriminate
bombardment of civilian areas leading to mass displacements, and the killing and "disappearance" of
suspected Abu Sayyaf members and their alleged sympathisers.
"Ten out of 15 municipalities with a combined population of more than 300,000 people have been affected
by recent intense military operations in Sulu, which date back to when former President Estrada launched a
military assault in Jolo ostensibly to get the Abu Sayyaf. That was in September 2000 after the April
Sipadan hostage-taking incident where the Abu Sayyaf took 10 Western tourists and 11 Asian resort
workers in Malaysia and brought them to Jolo.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo barely warmed her seat in Malacañang when she declared a state of
lawlessness in Mindanao in reaction to the Abu Sayyaf’s open defiance of her government. Her declaration
61
only gave further excuse to her militarist generals (the same military leaders responsible for the genocidal
all-out war of Estrada in Mindanao) to continue with their reign of terror.
Arroyo further overreacted when she aped US President Bush’s war on terror and unleashed the military’s
most destructive campaign in many parts of Mindanao, including notably in Basilan and Sulu.
Severely hit by the military operations in Sulu were the municipalities of Patikul, Talipao, Indanan,
Maimbung, Luuk, Panamao, Parang, Panglima Estino, Pangutaran and Hadji Panglima Tahil. In most cases,
these municipalities have been bombed by the military, while entire villages have been scorched to the
ground. Looting of private properties of civilians who were forcibly evacuated was also done by
unidentified military men who were believed to belong to the 104th Brigade under the command of Col.
Tolentino.
In Bgy. Kabbontakas, Patikul, a school building where civilians had evacuated for the last 18 months was
bombed on November 22, 2001. The bombing wounded one evacuee while the children developed skin
diseases soon after the bombing. The bomb’s powdery content, according to evacuees, irritated the skin
especially of infants. As there is a dearth of medical attention and supplies for the evacuees, one adult and
two children have already died among the evacuees.
Bgy. Darayan of the same municipality is the site of another bombing incident where the residents fled last
February only to find when they got back that their whole barrio had been burned down by the military.
In the municipality of Talipao, 50 out of 52 barangays are virtual “no man’s land” where evacuated
villagers attempting to sneak out harvests from their farms are reportedly shot in sight by the military.
These villages too have been bombed and razed to the ground." (IBON 15 May 2002)
"With military operations against Abu Sayyaf units responsible for hostage-taking set to intensify in the
southern Philippines, Amnesty International today drew attention to reports of hidden abuses and called on
the Philippine authorities to ensure strict respect for international human rights and humanitarian law.
'The need for watchfulness has intensified' Amnesty International said, 'Safeguards critical to upholding
human rights protection - proved weak elsewhere in the Philippines - have come under particular pressure
in Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago.'
Despite legal safeguards in place since the ouster of former President Marcos in 1986, Philippine military
operations against Muslim secessionist groups and kidnap gangs in Mindanao have been accompanied by
persistent reports of human rights violations. These include both indiscriminate bombardment of civilian
areas leading to mass displacements, and the killing and "disappearance" of suspected Abu Sayyaf
members and their alleged sympathisers. Arbitrary arrests have been accompanied by recent reports of
torture, as military and paramilitary personnel have sought to extract information about Abu Sayyaf and the
location of their hostages.
As part of a recently initiated six-month joint military training exercise, Philippine troops undertaking
combat operations against Abu Sayyaf units are to receive logistical support and intelligence assistance
from over 650 US soldiers, including some 160 Special Forces personnel. Amnesty International urges that
as US forces supply arms, training and other support, all possible steps are taken to reinforce and uphold
human rights safeguards.
'Though largely hidden in a context of armed conflict, communal tension, violent crime and kidnapping,
reports of torture and other human rights violations persist. The US should ensure that its training, supplies
and support are not used to further violate human rights.'
62
'Amnesty International once again condemns the abuses committed by Abu Sayyaf and calls for the
immediate release of all hostages, but reiterates its belief that peace and security can only be restored and
sustained in Mindanao if human rights are respected by all.' " (AI 2 April 2002)
MILF and NDF accused of recruiting children (January 2001)
"The war between rebel groups and the Philippine government over control of Mindanao, the southern
region of this country, is dragging more and more children into the line of fire.
[…]
According to Reuben C. Carranza an Assistant Secretary of National Defense (DND) lawyer, the NPA of
the Communist Party of the Philippines and the MILF are major recruiters of children. In the war with the
MILF, which lost thousands of combatants, the military has discovered so many young soldiers. The NPA,
which is having difficulty in recruiting from far-flung communities, are taking in young girls and boys to
fight its dirty war, Carranza said.
In a report provided by Agence-France Presse (AFP), vice chief of staff General Victor Mayo claims 13
percent or 1,170 of the NPA's fighting force of 9,000 are children aged 12 to 16 years while a huge number
of children are believed to be among MILF's ranks. MILF is believed to have a fighting force estimated at
15,000.
But, MILF chairman Hashim Salamat, through his military spokesman Al Haji Murad, denied the AFP
report saying "no one younger than 18 could join an MILF combat unit."
However, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) gave credence to the report when it
confirmed that indeed, the MILF, like the NPA have been and are still recruiting children to fight men's
wars.
ICRC Director Jean Luc-Blondel stated in a report called "Children and Armed Conflict" that the two
groups intensified their recruitment of children since 1998. He said the children are aged 13 to 17 years old.
The MILF recruited and trained as many as 35 pupils in every Muslim school in Maguindanao. Even MILF
commanders interviewed by ICRC did admit that most of their combatants are very young. However, they
maintain that the child soldiers are confined within the camps as reserve forces and undergo schooling."
(Earth Times News Service 4 January 2001)
63
SUBSISTENCE NEEDS (HEALTH NUTRITION AND SHELTER)
General
IDPs in Pikit lack water, medicine and food (February 2003)
•
As of February 2003, the situation of the evacuees in Pikit was deemed alarming as the capacity of the
evacuation centers was diminishing with foreseeable health and sanitation problems linked to
overcrowded camps.
•
There is also a larger number (about 60% of the total number of IDPs) of “outside-evacuation center”
or house-based evacuees.
•
IDPs do not have proper sleeping implements like sleeping mats.
•
There were reported cases of respiratory infections, diarrhea, fever and other diseases that are primarily
aggravated by their present living conditions.
•
Food provisions include sacks of rice and cartons of sardines but may not last very long.
"The current situation of the IDPs in various evacuation sites in Pikit, North Cotabato is in very alarming
proportions due to the massive influx of IDPs from other areas who were eventually affected by the ongoing and expanding military operations. The number of evacuation sites is also increasing and the
capacities of each are diminishing at rapid rates that may lead to problems in health and sanitation.
[…]
The evacuation sites include, the Buisan Warehouse, NFA Warehouse, Mahad Fort Pikit, Parish Gym, NFE
Building, Apollo Theatre, Hill side Centre, Bulong Elementary School, Fort Pikit Primary School,
Ginatilan Elementary School, Pikit National High School, and Takupan. Except for the Buisan Warehouse,
most of the evacuation sites are equipped with water sources and toilets. The Buisan warehouse, which is
housing double its capacity (about 668 families) and is housing the most number of evacuees, has water
sources and toilets that are still under construction. As of the moment, the evacuees are staying inside the
poorly ventilated warehouse along with their animals (chicken and ducks). Just right outside are poorly
built tents (some of the tent canvasses were provided by the local government) while some have utilized
blankets or plastic mats as tents. Rains, however, could further make living conditions in this warehouse
more difficult.
Meanwhile, other evacuees camped in open lots and fields along the highway that are still located near the
identified evacuation sites. There is also a larger number (about 60% of the total number of IDPs) of
“outside-evacuation center” or house-based evacuees that were identified by the Disaster Response Team
composed of government line agencies, NGOs, and church-based organizations based in Pikit.
True among these evacuation sites is the fact that the IDPs do not have proper sleeping implements like
sleeping mats. The IDPs have already communicated their request for used cardboard boxes that could be
made as makeshift sleeping mats
There were also reported cases of respiratory infections, diarrhea, fever and other diseases that are
primarily aggravated by their present living conditions. Incidents of chicken pox and measles infection
were als o reported by a partner organization (ie Balik Kalipay) but was recently controlled by mass
vaccinations by the government. Unfortunately however, two children (undetermined ages) died on 12
February 2003 due to pneumonia and chicken pox complications. Other medicines were sourced out by
Balik Kalipay and were distributed already. However, current needs as communicated to us include
antibiotics like cotrimoxazole, ammoxicillin, and cefalexin as well as other medicines for [...]
64
Should the water supply, however, be available, the families, however would require water containers.
This is true among all the families since quite a large number were not even able to bring some.
Food needs of the evacuees are currently being augmented by the assistance being given by the local and
provincial governments as well as that by the national DSWD. However, with the latest developments, it is
still not sure how long the supplies can last. Food provisions include sacks of rice and cartons of sardines."
(ECDFC 13 February 2003)
118 IDPs have died in evacuation centers in North Cotabato since January (June 2003)
•
Between January and June 2003, some 118 IDPs, most of them children, have died. Half of them in
evacuation centers, the other half were house-based.
"A total of 117 evacuees have died in North Cotabato since the first wave of evacuations four months ago.
Central Mindanao Social Welfare director Tanggol Taja said 117 evacuees have died in North Cotabato, up
from 68 last month.
But Nurhaidin, an eight-month old boy who had just returned home in Bulol today, died of asthma.
Of 117, Taja said more than half or 63, died in Pikit’s evacuation centers while the rest were house-based
evacuees.
'Health workers in the region are doing their best to prevent the spread of deadly diseases among them
(refugees) by implementing their feeding program and (conducting) medical check up daily,' Taja said.
At the height of the war, 44,000 villagers were displaced in Pikit, more than half of its 69,000 population.
As of end of May, there were still about 30,000 evacuees in Pikit but evacuees were reportedly brought
home today." (Mindanews 9 June 2003)
Insufficient family income identified as the main problem of IDPs (July 2002)
•
A comprehensive Minimum Basic Needs (MBN) survey was conducted in the month of June 2002
covering forty-five (45) sitios and involving 3,753 families estimated to represent 18,765 family
members.
•
The survey covered both those who had fled but have since returned from the evacuation centers and
those who did not stay in the evacuation centers or never left their communities of origin
•
At the top of the list of the most common basic needs that are still unmet is the need for “Family
income above subsistence threshold level” identified by 66.11%of the respondents. The other four (4)
most common unmet needs in rank order are 2) “Housing durable for 5 years”; 3) “Family access to
sanitary toilet”; 4) “Family access to potable water”; and 5) “Couples practicing family planning.”
"Effective community organizing paved the way for a comprehensive Minimum Basic Needs (MBN)
survey which was conducted in the month of June 2002. In close coordination with formal, informal, and
traditional leaders, the MBN survey was introduced, explained, and expounded. As a result, it gained
acceptance and support from the communities and its leaders. Liaison efforts with the Department of Social
Welfare and Development (DSWD) in ARMM and Region 12 as well as with other local government units
65
(LGUs) were intensified to coordinate the effort and enlist their support. Some of the LGUs, in fact,
provided material and financial support to help underwrite the effort.
The MBN survey covered forty-five (45) sitios and involved 3,753 families estimated to represent 18,765
family members. The number and location of participating families is shown in Appendix B.
The survey covered both those who had fled but have since returned from the evacuation centers and those
who did not stay in the evacuation centers or never left their communities of origin during the armed
conflict between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the MILF in 2000.
While priority minimum basic needs differed among respondent families in the 45 sitios, five of the most
common basic needs that are still unmet have been identified by the former IDPs. At the top of the list is
the need for “Family income above subsistence threshold level” identified by 66.11%of the respondents.
The other four (4) most common unmet needs in rank order are 2) “Housing durable for 5 years”; 3)
“Family access to sanitary toilet”; 4) “Family access to potable water”; and 5) “Couples practicing family
planning.” A summary is shown in Appendix C while a complete report has been prepared separately. The
results were also presented to LGU officials and participating IDP communities for their information and
feedback.
The results of the MBN survey served as the baseline for the Sitio Development Plan (SDP) that in turn
identified various sectoral needs. The Sitio Development Plans will then serve as a basis for the
comprehensive Barangay Development Plans (BDP), or at the very least, the Barangay Development Plans
for Conflict- Affected Communities (BDP-CAC)." (CFSI July 2002, p. 4)
Appendix C
66
High number of children die in evacuation centers because of inadequate conditions
(February 2001)
•
At least 242 persons, most of them children, died due to poor health conditions resulting from the
military operations. Most died in 1 of the 436 evacuation centers.
" In October the AFP reported that in armed conflict with the MILF from May through July in central
Mindanao, there were 477 deaths of noncombatants and a total of 922 casualties. Some of these persons
were killed in crossfire between the forces or died fleeing the fighting. At least 242 persons, most of them
children, died due to poor health conditions resulting from the military operations. Most died in 1 of the
436 evacuation centers, which were able to accommodate only slightly more than half the noncombatant
refugees. Poor sanitation led to disease, and lack of food led to malnutrition. Water was insufficient and
unsafe to drink. Many children developed diarrhea, dysentery, and respiratory ailments. Most of the
children who died in the evacuation camps were under 2 years of age." (US DOS February 2001, 1.g.)
67
Health
Diarrhea is the main cause of death of children in evacuation centers (May 2003)
•
Majority of the casulaties in evacuation centers originated from Pikit, North Cotabato. 80 percent are
children aged two to six.
•
Usual cause of death are bronchopneumonia, ulcers, diarrhea and measles.
•
A doctor from Balik Kalipay says that diarrhea is the number one cause the deaths of the children in
the evacuation centers.
"A total of 80 people, most of them children, have already died in evacuation centers in Mindanao since
the outbreak of war between the military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last February.
In a telephone conference with defense reporters Wednesday, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman
said 58 of the 80 dead came from evacuation centers in Pikit, North Cotabato, the scene of one of the most
devastating military operations against the MILF in recent years.
Soliman said the 80 dead came from 162 evacuation centers in four regions covering 11 provinces in
Mindanao.
[…]
Soliman said that around 80 percent of the dead are children aged two to six.
The usual causes of deaths, she added, were bronchopneumonia, ulcers, diarrhea and measles.
The welfare chief added that measures are being taken to prevent the outbreak of more diseases at the
evacuation centers. These include conducting health classes and basic health training for the evacuees."
(The Manila Times 29 May 2003)
"In Pikit, at least 30,000 persons are still in 16 different evacuation camps, and 61 have already died, most
of them from complications arising from diarrhea.
Fr. Robert Layson, parish priest of this predominantly Muslim town, said although the number of evacuees
has dropped to 30,000 from 40,000, the food and medical supplies are still in short supply. Layson, also the
coordinator of the Interfaith Dialogue of the Archdiocese of Cotabato, said inadequate food and medicine
supplies are forcing them to cut back the frequency of distribution of relief goods in order for all of the
evacuees under their coverage to be able to receive food supplies.
Balik Kalipay’s Dr. Ernest Ryan Guevarra, one of the attending physicians here, said they also need
medicines to prevent the spread of the different diseases in the evacuation centers. Guevarra cited diarrhea
as the number one cause the deaths of the children in the evacuation centers.
'Of the 61 evacuees who have died here, 80 percent were children and 60 percent of the cause was diarrhea,'
he said adding that other causes of death were upper respiratory infection and measles.
For now, the 25-year-old doctor said that they have enough IV Fluids for diarrhea and they need more
Contrimoxazole-a broad range medicine. 'This (Contrimoxazole) is a very useful medicine and this is what
we need. We are using this for upper respiratory infection and bacterial infections.'
Guevarra also added that the spread of diarrhea in the evacuation camps was not due to contaminated water
sources, but rather to unsanitary conditions in the camps.
68
'It is due to the unhealthy environment or atmosphere. Because if it was due to the water source, all of the
refugees at a certain camp could have suffered it but it was not. Diarrhea hit only selected families,' he
explained." (Cyberdyaryo 28 May 2003)
Lack of potable water, medicines and insufficient food ration particularly affect health
of young children (May 2003)
•
In April, Tabang Mindanaw conducted a medical mission in response to reports on the deteriorating
health of thousands of displaced civilians.
•
Only few children were severely malnourished, but many of them were found moderately
malnourished.
•
They noted some "sectoral gaps" in the evacuation centers, including: non-availability of regular
provisions of potable water, which increased the threat of waterborne diseases, rationed food which is
limited and not nutritionally sufficient, limited medical services, and congestion in the evacuation
centers.
"A big disaster is expected to erupt here. The very easy targets are the children. Authorities expressed
apprehension that various evacuation centers here will become virtual killing fields if this disaster comes
and is not prevented.
In April, two months after the war between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front guerrillas
broke out here, a group of health workers, through the non-government organization Tabang Mindanaw,
conducted a medical mission in response to reports on the deteriorating health of thousands of displaced
civilians here.
At that time, more than 40 evacuees, most of them children, had died because of various diseases. One of
the health workers, a Manila-based doctor who responded to the call of Tabang Mindanaw, said they saw
something scary.
'The assessment showed that there could be more deaths among the evacuees if not prevented now.'
During the medical mission, he said, they saw that only few children were severely malnourished. 'There
were only few, actually almost none, severely malnourished kids. Kids aged 0-5 are the most vulnerable
group,' the doctor, who requested anonymity, said.
Clinical analysis
While there were only a few cases of severely malnourished kids, many of them were found moderately
malnourished following a "clinical analysis."
'Severe malnutrition is not the cause . . . it is another factor aside from the disease because the resistance to
diseases is reduced if you are malnourished. During the mission, we thought, if the children are moderately
malnourished, they could be death candidates after their condition drops to severe malnutrition,' he said.
In that medical mission, he said, they noted some "sectoral gaps" in the evacuation centers.
These include the non-availability of regular provisions of potable water, which increased the threat of
waterborne diseases, rationed food which is limited and not nutritionally sufficient, limited medical
services, and congestion in the evacuation centers.
'The number of (evacuees) is staggering, and the casualties, particularly infants and children, continue to
die in the evacuation centers because of illness and malnutrition. Potable water is scarce, food ration is
69
insufficient, and medicines and medical care are scarce,' said Merli B. Mendoza, Tabang Mindanaw
executive coordinator." (The Inquirer 25 May 2003)
1/4 of the displaced children affected by upper respiratory tract infections (February
2003)
•
1,491 children have been diagnosed with upper respiratory tract infections among the total 2,759
evacuees who have complained of various illnesses.
•
Also. the evacuees, "particularly the children," have to deal with the psychological effects of the
violence around them.
"Of the reported 39,518 civilians displaced by the ongoing clashes between government troops and the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels, 6,000 are children.
[…]
Cruzado said 1,491 children have been diagnosed with upper respiratory tract infections among the total
2,759 evacuees who have complained of various illnesses.
He said the biggest number of complaints has been of headaches, followed by skin diseases, diarrhea,
dizziness, infected wounds, toothaches, sore eyes, body malaise, abdominal pains, burns, mumps and boils.
Extreme weather conditions and lack of medicines have aggravated the situation, Cruzado added.
On top of these, said parish priest Fr. Roberto Layson, the evacuees, "particularly the children," have to
deal with the psychological effects of the violence around them.
Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman yesterday delivered toys, crayons and reading materials to help
the children "ventilate their trauma."
Joel Maglunob, acting social welfare director for Central Mindanao said the agency needs from 2,500 to
3,000 sacks of rice every 10 days." (The Inquirer 16 February 2003)
Food
Food supplies dwindling in evacuation centers (March 2003)
•
As of March 2003, the UN warned that food supplies in Pikit were down to 10 days.
"The death toll in the evacuation centers in Pikit, North Cotabato has risen to 23 as of Thursday and
medicine and food supplies are fast dwindling.
[…]
Even food supply is fast dwindling. According to a report today from the Philippine Information Agency
(PIA) in Southern Mindanao, Ronillo Dusaban, manager of the United Nations Multi-Donor Programme’s
Relief and Rehabilitation Component, appealed in a press conference in Kidapawan City for humanitarian
assistance as the supply is 'seen to last only 10 days.' (Mindanews 20 March 2003)
70
Displacement has not had significant negative impact on the nutritional status of the
displaced population (November 2000)
•
Dis placement has not had significant negative impact on the nutritional status of the displaced
population as this population has the same prevalence as that of general population.
"Oxfam Nutrition Survey observed the Global Acute Malnutrition (by WASTING) by weight/height <-2 ZScore criteria at 11.20 per cent in the sample population and the malnutrition ranging between 9 and 14 per
cent for the displaced in general at 95 per cent Confidence Interval. And the Severe Acute Malnutrition by
weight/height <-3 Z-Score criteria was noticed at 3.00 per cent in the sample population and the same
ranging between 2 and 5 per cent for the general population at 95 per cent Confidence Interval.
The GoP commissioned Fifth National Nutrition Survey 1998 observed ‘WASTING’ among 9.9 per cent of
the children in North Cotabato and 9.2 per cent of the children in Maguindanao provinces of Central
Mindanao.
Although the Oxfam observed malnutrition level is slightly higher than that established by the National
Survey, both prevalence levels lie on a range of 9 to 14 per cent that is the Confidence Interval established
for Oxfam sample population at 95 per cent. That means the findings of this and National survey support
the interpretation that there is no significant difference in WASTING between the displaced population and
the general population in Mindanao. And the displacement has not had significant negative impact on the
nutritional status of the displaced population as this population has the same prevalence as that of general
population.
But when you compare the Oxfam established prevalence against UNHCR/WFP Decision Framework for
feeding programs (Annexure - 1), the population is observed to be living in the ALERT level meaning the
initiation of Targeted Supplementary Feeding and Therapeutic Feeding Programs for the displaced. While
UNHCR/WFP framework dictates the feeding programs, the Oxfam survey believes in the following
ground-level details about the displaced population in Oxfam Program area and decides not to pursue the
implementation of Feeding Programs.
First, given that the displaced still have some levels of household reserves which they could spend on
buying foods, it is highly unlikely that we will see a marked deterioration in the nutritional status of the
displaced in the near future. And given the emergency nature of feeding program, they would not address
the irreversible coping options (depletion in productive assets) which is where Oxfam believes to focus on
with livelihood interventions.
Second, since there is no marked difference in WASTING between the displaced and general population,
the short-term feeding programs would fail to produce visibly significant levels of impact in the target
population. And that the displaced have spread over a larger geographical area in Central Mindanao, these
interventions would not prove to be cost-effective.
Third, Government agencies like DSWD and OCD and, Church groups have been offering food assistance
of and on. And ICRC is planning a general food distribution in about a month/ two and are currently
engaged in identifying/registering the target families. This is believed to take care of the emergency food
needs of the displaced while Oxfam prepares for livelihood interventions.
With these details in the background, Oxfam highlights the importance of addressing the underlying
household food and livelihood insecurities of the displaced rather than banking on the feeding programs.
While the prevalence of malnutrition remains with in the acceptable range, the shifts in their food and
livelihood pattern due to displacement, have demonstrated a significant negative impact on their present
and future food securities. These, if left unaddressed, could lead to complete erosion of household assets
71
and push these families into the state of DISTRESS where extreme hardships could be foreseen.(…)"
(Oxfam November 2000, pp. 1-2)
"Department of Health officials and NGOs involved in health care report an overall improvement in health
status amongst evacuees since June/July , though a recent nutritional survey of under-fives carried out by
Accion Contra la Hambre (ACH) and the Philippine National Red Cross found rates of severe and moderate
malnutrition of 1.5-3.9% and 10 – 15% respectively.
OXFAM and ACH are planning to mo unt a
supplementary feeding program and the Red Cross and Tabang Mindanao are between them planning to
supply food rations to all evacuation centers. Immunization programs are continuing, though health
officials in ARMM have reported a lack of vaccines. " (Office of the Resident Coordinator, 5 October
2000)
Nutritional status in Central Mindanao below national average (November 2000)
•
In North Cotabato and Marawi city in Central Mindanao, stunting was four times higher than the
national average, underweight was 14 per cent and, wasting 9.9 per cent.
"The GoP committed a donor-supported five-year Plan of Action for Nutrition for period 1993-8 by
designing interventions for micro-nutrient supplementation & food fortification, home and community food
production, nutrition education and food assistance to reduce hunger and malnutrition. This plan has so far
achieved only some of its targets owing to poor implementation and lack of capacities in the ARMM
region.
The Fifth National Nutrition Survey 1998 has established an acute malnutrition of 7.2 per cent,
underweight 9.2 per cent and stunting 5.4 per cent using Filipino standards as compared to 5.8 per cent, 8.8
per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively, during a similar survey in 1996. If NCHS standards are applied to
this survey, prevalence of underweight would push to 31 per cent and stunting to 32 per cent. The survey
noted further that majority of the wasted children were < 1 year old. In North Cotabato and Marawi city in
Central Mindanao, stunting was four times higher than the national average, underweight was 14 per cent
and, wasting 9.9 per cent. In Maguindanao province, underweight and wasting prevailed at 10.5 per cent
and 9.2 per cent respectively. The prevalence of Anemia among 6M to 5 year old was 50.60 per cent in
ARMM, while the same among lactating women in Central Mindanao was noted at 72 per cent, the highest
in the country as per 1998 survey.
Most mothers breast-feed their babies and mix bottle feeding with water + sugar during breast-feeding
period. Prolonged breast-feeding, with out complementing with additional foods, was observed in older
children. While feeding animal milk is not a practice for Filipino children as cows are not for milking, milk
formulae have been seen in many tents and parents prioritize in sourcing money to buy them.
Women have expressed difficulties in preparing suitable recipes for feeding young children due to lack of
suitable ingredients, cooking utensils, space, firewood and unfamiliar environment. With these constraints,
plain rice/rice porridge has been the main food for children and, oils and vegetables have not been
accessible by these families. Knowledge and practices related to feeding children and caring them including
breast-feeding, complementary feeding, hygiene and diarrhea management at home have been observed
poor.
On the other hand, DOH and DSWD do a routine growth-monitoring activity but is not serving its
objectives of preventing and early detecting of malnutrition for lack of practical training, proper analysis
and decision-making capacities to initiate timely and appropriate responses." (Oxfam November 2000,
p.17)
72
ACCESS TO EDUCATION
General
Around one in three children who enter primary school do not complete it (1997)
•
Only 4 per cent of the girls who enroll in primary school end up graduating.
•
Primary education is financed by a disguised system of taxation on poor people diminishing access to
schools for their children and reinforcing their poverty.
"In theory, the Philippines achieved universal primary education at the same time as Korea. In practice,
around one in three children who enter primary school do not complete it. Research carried out for Oxfam
by a Philippines non-government organization, the Freedom from Debt Coalition, graphically illustrates the
discrepancy. In the urban municipality of Bocaue, around 85 per cent of all children enroll in primary
school. However, of the girl children who enroll, only 4 per cent graduate. Illness and cost were cited as the
main reasons. Once again, under-funding is part of the problem. Despite having a higher per capita income
than Indonesia, the Philippines spends less per capita on education. What it does spend is heavily skewed
towards higher level facilities.
In the tertiary sector, where most students can afford to pay, private spending by households has declined
from 26 per cent to 22 per cent of public spending since 1986. In the primary sector, the share of
households in overall financing has almost tripled, from 12 per cent to 31 per cent. In effect, primary
education is being financed by an increasingly regressive and heavily disguised system of taxation on poor
people, diminishing access to schools for their children and reinforcing their poverty." (OXFAM, 1997)
Obstacles to education
Severe poverty in Central Mindanao makes access to education uncertain for IDPs
(February 2003)
•
Provinces of Central Mindanao, due to severe poverty, were reported to be among the most educationdeprived areas in the country, creating a situation of uncertain access to education for many internally
displaced children.
"As in most countries affected by displacement, women and children make up the great majority of the
displaced population in the Philippines and experience additional vulnerabilities. The provinces of Central
Mindanao, due to severe poverty, were reported to be among the most education-deprived areas in the
country, creating a situation of uncertain access to education for many internally displaced children. In
areas of return, internally displaced persons reported that classrooms were in poor condition and the
number of teachers were inadequate. Moreover, displaced children often experienced difficulty in attending
the public school system due to lack of financial means for transport and other necessities." (CHR 3
February 2003, p. 13)
73
Schools destroyed by fighting or used as evacuation centers (January 2001)
•
A number of schools in the conflict zone had been temporarily closed as a result of the armed
hostilities.
•
Classes in Carmen, Pikit and West Midsayap were intermittently suspended during the 2000 schoolyear due to armed hostilities.
•
Primary school grounds at Macatactac (Liliongan, Carmen) are being used as an evacuation center.
"A number of schools in the conflict zone had been temporarily closed as a result of the armed hostilities.
In some cases, teachers from temporarily closed schools were transferred to nearby schools to augment the
teaching force and accommodate additional needs especially of children from dislocated families.
According to the Office of Civil Defense, the armed skirmishes from January to August 2000 had also
caused PhP 89.36 million worth of damages to homes, schools, places of worship and infrastructure. The
actual figures may have been higher if all angles are taken into account. A single attack on the village like
Dalengaoen, like the 11 November MILF attack, would already create no less than PhP 1 million worth of
damages for a poor farming village.
According to a partial report from the Cotabato Divis ion of the Department of Education, Culture and
Sports (DECS), all classes in Carmen, Pikit and West Midsayap were intermittently suspended (one week
at a time) during the 2000 school-year due to armed hostilities. Apart from the sporadic clashes,
suspension of classes was also affected by physical damage to schools. In Carmen around 2,236 children
were affected by the complete damage of 41 classrooms in School Year 2000 with damage estimated at
PhP 6.04 million (DECS Cotabato, 2000). In Kabacan, 27 classrooms were completely destroyed this year
affecting 1,838 children and with an estimated damage worth PhP 3.67 million (DECS Cotabato, 2000).
Damages are caused either by direct hits during clashes or by unintended use. In Carmen, 73 % of
damaged classrooms are due to increased usage as evacuation centers. Around 10 % of damages are caused
by direct hits or because they are used by government soldiers as patrol base or camps. In Kabacan, of the
27 damaged classrooms, 10 were burned and the rest were used as evacuation centers.
Partial data from the DECS (Cotabato Division) also reveal that 39 classrooms in the municipalities of
Matalam, Mlang, Pikit and Aleosan were partially damaged affecting 1,838 children. Damage is estimated
at PhP 3.47 million. In M’lang (4 classrooms), partial damage was directly caused by armed clashes. In
Aleosan, 15 classrooms were affected by the transfer of school sites to safer grounds. In Matalam and
Pikit, the affected classrooms are being used as evacuation centers.
In Dalengaoen, the primary school has been closed since June 2000. Teachers assigned here have been
transferred to the neighboring elementary school of Takepan (next barangay). However, only a few of the
Dalengaoen pupils have been able to enroll at the Takepan school.
The primary school grounds at Macatactac (Liliongan, Carmen) are being used as an evacuation center.
Classes are still being held there. However, the classes have to contend with the distractions caused by the
presence of evacuees. The school building is also evidently dilapidated and lacks chairs.
In Manarapan (Carmen), five water pumps used by the residents for their water needs have been stolen by
unidentified parties during the MILF-AFP skirmishes in the area. To date, these have not been replaced
yet, although this is being worked out with the assistance of Oxfam GB. The barangay hall was badly
damaged in the latest round of MILF-AFP hostilities in the area. The local mosque was likewise damaged,
although Army engineers have repaired the damage." (Oxfam January 2001, pp. 27-28)
74
"As millions of Filipino children return to school, thousands of children of war in the affected villages and
towns in ARMM are denied their education because a number of schools are being used as military
barracks or have been damaged by war. Before the war, the town of Parang had 14,000 elementary and
high school students. But as the school season opened, at least 17,000 individuals are occupying 11
schools as temporary shelters, the DSWD-ARMM disclosed." (Balay 8 December 2000)
75
ISSUES OF SELF-RELIANCE AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
Self-reliance
Chronic uncertainty reduces livelihood opportunities for the displaced (March 2003)
•
Sporadic and protracted nature of the conflict means that IDPs are returning to situations of ongoing
uncertainty and insecurity and are hesitant to make investments with long gestation periods .
•
Intermittent return are important because communities need to re-establish claims over their homes
and farms that can be taken over by other people.
•
Joblessness feeds continuing violence, social dislocation, family breakdown, and insecurity.
•
Poverty among IDPs has various dimensions: their skills are limited, public services are unavailable,
limited education and isolation from important urban labor markets, inputs markets are monopolized
by a few traders who also happen to be the main source of credit, farm implements are rudimentary and
within communities indebtedness is very high.
•
Weakening of mutual support systems as communities are dispersed.
•
Both the manner and amounts of loans from outsiders given for farm production purposes have been
reduced.
•
Before the war, 67,7 percent of the families in the Muslim-dominated areas had availed of credit. After
the conflict, this figure dramatically went down to 49,3 percent.
•
Loss of livestock continued to happen even when the displaced families were already staying in
evacuation centers.
•
After the conflict, there was an obvious decline in farm equipment access for the IDPs.
•
Support coming from government agencies is generally very limited and families sought other ways of
coping –distant relatives provided living space, women and children sought odd jobs.
•
The civilian population also used up resources to arm itself.
•
There was an increase in the number of IDPs who earned incomes from farming after the conflict, but
the average household income has decreased.
"In general, the difficult return to normalcy will be indicated by the hesitation of populations to make
investments with long gestation periods. Hence, it may happen that poverty can rise significantly where the
decision to return remains tentative for extended periods. Public interventions in these areas will probably
have to be a mix of continuing relief, confidence building and development initiatives. Intermittent return
will, however, be important because communities need to re-establish claims over their homes and farms as
soon as possible. It has happened in the past, that local governments officials, military men or other ethnic
groups have squatted, and subsequently, established a claim on land that was not theirs.
The sporadic and protracted nature of the conflict in Mindanao means that refugees and displaced people
are returning to situations of ongoing uncertainty and insecurity, the longer it will take for private
investment to resume. Joblessness, especially in Mindanao, where light weapons proliferate, feeds
continuing violence, social dislocation, family breakdown, and insecurity.
Some of the young people in the Buluan cluster interviewed for the Social Assessment think that the
construction of permanent structures of houses will change the attitude of people. The prospect of losing an
investment could strengthen the waivering commitment of some elders to peaceful solutions to conflict.
[...]
76
The Social Assessment results show various dimensions of the poverty among the displaced communities.
The population’s employable skill set is limited; public services are unavailable; limited education and
isolation from important urban labor markets virtually remove temporary migration from the set of risk
mitigation mechanisms that people affected by an income shock can normally tap; inputs markets are
monopolized by a few traders who also happen to be the main source of credit for rice and corn production;
farm implements are rudimentary; and non-farm income comes mainly in the form of raising ducks, swine
(in Lumad areas), chicken, goats and carabaos in the yard to augment farm incomes. Within communities
indebtedness is als o very high with farms and home lost being mortgaged to creditors.
Displacement overloaded informal systems of mutual support
There is a weakening of mutual support systems as communities are dispersed. Significant numbers of
individuals report being separated from their families for months. […]
The immediate economic trauma of the war is felt as an income shock, in terms of incomes lost when
unharvested crops were abandoned and when planting seasons passed by with workers unable to work their
farms. One direct consequence of this war-induced crop failure is that loans advanced by traders could not
be paid. The extent to which this might cause the flow of credit to be disrupted is not clear. What is clear is
that both the manner and amounts of loans from outsiders given for farm production purposes have been
reduced.
Even where communities are intact, the mutual support systems will have been exhausted at some point,
because the need for support arose nearly concurrently for all families that had to give up their livelihoods
all at the same time. In peaceful times, misfortunes like sickness or loss of income seldom happens to
everyone at the same time. Neighbours or families belonging to the same clan have occasion for borrowing
funds from each other to buy food or medicine. The impact of the war on systems of mutual support within
communities is seen in the fact that of 1,526 people surveyed, the number of people who borrow funds for
food went down from 733 before the conflict to only 538 after the conflict (table 5).
Before the war, 67,7 percent of the families in the Muslim-dominated areas had availed of credit. After the
conflict, this figure dramatically went down to 49,3 percent. Average amounts borrowed by IDPs clustered
around Baranguays Pedtad, Molao, Natutungan, Ilian and North Cotabato and Maguindanao before the
conflict was P2,394. This figure went down significantly to P1,571 after the conflict.
Productive assets were destroyed because of the war
[…]
77
A Nutrition and Household Economy Survey among IDPs in Central Mindanao conducted by the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in June 2001, reveals that the loss of livestock continued
to happen even when the displaced families were already staying in evacuation centers. In the ICRC’s
survey, the number of households owning carabaos was 20.7 percent right after the conflict in October
2000. However, this number fell to 12.1 percent by June 2001.
The extent of the loss of farm implements is seen by comparing Figure 2a and 2b, Before the conflict, there
was basic parity between IDPs and non-IDPs; after the conflict, there was an obvious decline in farm
equipment access for the IDPs. The information above is the result of a survey of 400 IDPs and 400 nonIDP households in Maguindanao and North Cotabato.
Key informants revealed that the support coming from government agencies is generally very limited and
families sought other ways of coping –distant relatives provided living space, women and children sought
odd jobs. In many instances, assets that were not destroyed by the war also had to be sold. There is some
evidence that depletion of productive assets also took place because men-folk decided to exchange their
assets for weapons “to protect their women and their property”. Thus, in conflict areas and in areas of
potential conflict, the civilian population also used up resources to arm itself. The cost of one firearm is an
amount equivalent to several months of a poor family’s income.
For populations that will return to the war–affected areas, the loss of productive assets makes it unlikely
that they will hit the ground running in a manner that allows them to resume the pace of their lives and
livelihoods before the eruption of conflict. Second-round economic effects will also be felt in terms of the
disruption of the flow of informal credit for production due both to conflict-related loan defaults and
possible perceptions by creditors, that some households may need to divert such loans intended for the
purchase of production inputs in favor of more immediate needs, like attending to the needs of the sick,
paying-off other loans or repairing houses. The creditors themselves will probably be in distress, with their
funds loaned out to families who may be too deep under the surface to be able to offer any prospect of
helping improve the creditors’ cash position.
Communities played host to people unwilling to return home
Displaced persons unable to return home were forced to call on resources of inter-community systems of
support. The Social Assessment revealed the presence of safety nets among groups connected through kin
or ethnic affinity. Many communities played host to displaced persons who are unable or unwilling to
return to their places of origin. The surveys managed to reveal mostly the immediate economic effects of
the crisis. But much less is known about the adequacy of the safety net provided by host communities,
about the effects of the new entrants on the well-being of the receiving communities, and about the nature
of the reciprocal obligations that the resettled populations will have to bear in acknowledgment of the
generosity of their hosts.
The datu-landowners as a class in Maguindanao provided employment to the IDPs as farm workers in a
very substantial scale. The datus and IDPs informants observe that people who stayed for prolonged periods
in evacuation centers have suffered relatively greater economic displacement because of a complete loss of
their livelihood.
The household survey data shows that there was an increase in the number of people who earned incomes
from farming after the conflict, but the average household income has decreased. This is consistent with
accounts about datu-landlords who hired IDPs who resettled in their lands. At the same time, it is also
consistent with the intuition that when households are in desperate straits, their members must take
whatever work is available to them and even mobilize secondary income earners, including women who
used to be fully occupied with care-giving tasks and children who used to be in school. Some landowners
78
say that they expect assistance from the government in order to continue absorbing farm labor workers for
the IDPs." (WB 3 March 2003, pp. 15-19)
Food and livelihood strategies severely damaged during/after displacement
(November 2000)
•
Food and livelihood strategies of IDPs severly damaged during/after displacement.
•
No significant difference in WASTING between the displaced population and the general population in
Mindanao.
•
Displacement has not had significant negative impact on the nutritional status of the displaced
population as this population has the same prevalence as that of general population.
•
Health indicators of IDPs are exhibiting adverse signals due to over-crowdedness and poor hygiene/
sanitation practices in some evacuation centers.
•
82 per cent of the families who depended on their own land to meet their food requirements before
displacement now don’t have access to their lands.
•
59 per cent families that used their cash crops (coconut, banana etc) to meet their food needs before
displacement now don’t have access to these crops for the same reason.
•
Livestock (buffaloes, cattle, goats, ducks and poultry) have been lost to 49 per cent of the families.
•
Displaced families have already crossed their FOOD INSECURITY stage and are now living in
CRISIS stage
"The survey highlights that the food and livelihood strategies that underlay the displaced families before
displacement have been severely damaged/threatened during/after their displacement. Although the Oxfam
observed malnutrition level is slightly higher than that established by the National Survey, both prevalence
levels lie on a range of 9 to 14 percent that is the Confidence Interval established for Oxfam sample
population at 95 per cent. That means the findings of this and National survey support the interpretation
that there is no significant difference in WASTING between the displaced population and the general
population in Mindanao. And the displacement has not had significant negative impact on the nutritional
status of the displaced population as this population has the same prevalence as that of general population.
While the displaced population is currently living in an acceptable range of malnutrition (not much
variation was noticed between this survey and National Survey 1998 by WASTING index), their health
indicators are exhibiting adverse signals due to over-crowdedness and poor hygiene/ sanitation practices in
some evacuation centers. While ARI has been exacerbated by the over-crowdedness in some of the
evacuation centers, Scabies has been the consequence of hygiene and sanitation deficiencies.
As regards the severity in damage caused to household food and livelihood securities of the displaced, 82
per cent of the families who depended on their own land to meet their food requirements before
displacement now don’t have access to their lands. Although 16 per cent occasionally gather left-over
produce from their lands, they do this because they have nothing to eat but to take all the all risk to their
lives in the middle of frequently fighting in the places of origin between government troops and MILF.
59 per cent families that used their cash crops (coconut, banana etc) to meet their food needs before
displacement now don’t have access to these crops for the same reason. Livestock (buffaloes, cattle, goats,
ducks and poultry) have been lost to 49 per cent of the families. And 31 per cent families who depended on
fishing for their foods now don’t have fishing tools and access to rivers and ponds. These assets have been
lost either during displacement/fighting.
The loss of these livelihood sources have prompted these families to resort to a basket of coping options
that are threatening their present/future livelihood securities. As the survey notes:
79
Reversible/food insecurity coping mechanisms
44 per cent families have sold off their non-productive assets -vehicles, jewelry etc. Migration to nearby
towns and villages has set in for 46 per cent families. 97 per cent families have reduced on the size and
frequency of meals/food intake. Another 98 per cent families have changed their dietary pattern by now
buying cheaper and bulky (less-nutritious) foods
Irreversible/crisis management mechanisms
58 per cent families have withdrawn their children from schools as they could not continue education due
to displacement and financial constraints. 50 per cent families have sold their productive assets –
agricultural tools, animals etc. 22 per cent families were found having taken loans/credit on interest to buy
foods. Another 21 per cent families have sold their farmland, house and land rights to meet their foods
In all practicality, the displaced families have already crossed their FOOD INSECURITY stage and are
now living in CRISIS stage (Refer Framework – Stages in Food Insecurity and Coping Mechanisms in
Annexure - 2). The valid indicator to this finding is the series of ‘reversible and irreversible’ coping
strategies being adopted by displaced families and some of these implying a threat to their future food
security. If the prevailing situation is allowed to continue, it is nearly certain that the evacuees would
exhaust all their left-over household resources and enter the ‘DISTRESS’ stage where extreme hardships
and consequences could be fores een. This worsening situation will continue with ever increasing negative
impact on people’s food and livelihood securities in the evacuation centers especially stretching their
coping strategies to complete exhaustion." (Oxfam November 2000, pp. 18-19)
Public participation
WB household survey shows 93 percent of IDP household do not belong to any
organization (March 2003)
•
Of 1,526 respondents from conflict-effected communities in Davao del Norte, South Cotabato,
Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat, 84 percent do not belong to any organized group.
•
93 percent of IDP households and 75 percent of non-IDP households are not involved in any
organization.
•
The purpose of establishing organizations is generally to receive assistance.
"Despite or because of the disruption in their lives, people in conflict-affected areas have remained
unorganized. Of 1,526 respondents from conflict-effected communities in Davao del Norte, South
Cotabato, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat, 84 percent do not belong to any organized group. Of the
remaining 16 percent, around one-third claim affiliation with the MNLF, while the other two-thirds belong
to different Islamic, religious, political and youth organizations. Less than one percent belong to
cooperatives.
The household survey results in Muslim communities affected by conflict reveal that 93 percent of IDP
households and 75 percent of non-IDP households are not involved in any organization. In contrast, almost
all of the indigenous people (IP) households surveyed are involved in some group or organization with the
majority affiliated nominally to the Manobo Lumadnong Panaghi-usa (MALUPA). In general, those who
belong to organizations do not seem to know the objectives and activities of their organizations. Not one
person can recall the last organizational meeting they attended. But leaders of the organizations were more
responsive to the general purpose why the organizations were formed –typically it is to receive assistance."
(WB 3 March 2003, p. 28)
80
PROPERTY ISSUES
General
Close to 7,000 houses damaged during the fighting in Mindanao (January-July 2003)
•
DSWD statistics show some 6,900 houses have been damaged by the fighting between January and
July 2003.
•
During the 2000 fighting, some 6,300 houses were destroyed in Mindanao
•
Damages to houses or looting of evacuees' property usually happended after they left their homes.
According to the statistics of the DSWD, the conflict between the military and the MILF in Mindanao
has, since January 2003, damaged some 6,908 houses. Of these, 5,666 have been totally destroyed
(DSWD 22 July 2003)
"The armed skirmishes in 2000 displaced an estimated half a million persons, destroyed 6,229 houses and
damages another 2,115 (DSWD)." (Oxfam January 2001, p. 2)
"Burning of houses and divestment of belongings (clothing, furnitures, kitchen ustensils, farm animals, etc.)
usually happened after the evacuees left their homes.
Some cases were brought to the Commission on Human Rights by the evacuees with the help of some nongovernmental organizations. But only few cases were resolved and most victims remained unindemnified
and rehabilitated. (ECDFC, June 2000)
IDPs complain soldiers stole their horses (October 2002)
•
IDPs complained that soldiers destroyed their houses, looted their stores and stole nine horses.
•
Military denied the accusations, admitted they took the horses because they were abadonned and
promised to return them provided the owners presented documents of ownership of these animals.
"Residents of Pualas town in Lanao del Sur are complaining that soldiers who attacked a camp allegedly of
the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the boundary areas of Sultan Gumander and Pualas towns,
destroyed their houses, carted away goods from four stores, and seized nine horses owned by farmers.
Lacs Dalidig, chair of Muslim Multi-sectoral Movement for Peace and Development (MMMPD), told
MindaNews Saturday that civilians reported these incidents and sought the movement's help for the
recovery of their stolen property.
Dalidig said they will meet with the victims to document their complaints and to itemize the damages and
stolen personal property.
'We will help them recover their horses which are now in the custody of soldiers,' he said.
Col. Ernesto Boac, commanding officer of Marawi-based 401st Infantry Brigade denied his soldiers were
behind the destruction of houses and the stealing of goods in Pualas.
81
Boac said there are other armed groups in the area who take advantage of the situation. He said the Tunda
Force in Pualas and another armed group there were responsible for the theft of goods and destruction of
houses.
But Boac admitted his soldiers are taking custody of the nine horses owned by farmers.
'These horses were abandoned in Pualas at the height of our assault,' he said.
He said the horses are kept in the 29th Infantry Batallion camp.'We did not steal those horses and we do not
plan to eat them,' he said.
Farmers living in the remote barangays of Pualas, use these horses for cargo and transport.
'We will release those horses to claimant-owners, provided they will present documents of ownership of
these animals to ascertain that they are, indeed, the owners,' Boac said.
There are now at least 3,000 evacuees seeking refuge in houses of relatives in Pualas, Malabang, and
Calanogas towns. There are also evacuees in the town Sultan Naga Dimaporo in Lanao del Norte.
No bombing or aerial strike was heard Saturday but civilians reported that soldiers were still in the area for
continued operations." (Mindanews 27 October 2002)
GRP will award reparations for the properties lost or destroyed by reasons of the
conflict (September 2002)
•
The latest agreement on humanitarian, rehabilitation, and development issues stipulates that the GRP
shall award reparations for the properties lost or destroyed by reasons of the conflict upon reasonable
proof thereon as mutually verified and acknowledged by both parties.
"The latest agreement on humanitarian, rehabilitation, and development issues stipulates that it will
safeguard the observance of international humanitarian law, respect for internationally recognized human
rights, and fundamental freedoms for all persons. These are the criteria and standards that that should guide
the monitoring mechanism of Article VI of the agreement to be undertaken by the joint Coordinating
Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH).
The agreement also assures full access for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 'in
accordance with ICRC’s standard operating procedures'. It stipulates that 'in conformity with international
humanitarian law, each party shall provide information, through the tracing mechanism of the ICRC, to
families of all persons who are unaccounted for.'
They also agree that the 'parties shall pave the say for the immediate return of evacuees to their places of
origin and provide all necessary financial/material and technical assistance to those evacuated for them to
begin a new life. The GRP shall award reparations for the properties lost or destroyed by reasons of the
conflict upon reasonable proof thereon as mutually verified and acknowledged by both parties.' (Article V,
Numeral 3)." (UNDP 23 September 2002, p. 19)
82
PATTERNS OF RETURN AND RESETTLEMENT
General
Three post-conflict community types in Mindanao (March 2003)
•
In communities situated near the "front line", continued presence of the military and high probability of
resumption of war is hindering the return of the displaced.
•
In mixed communities, social infrastructure, especially in mixed communities of Muslims, Lumads and
Christians will also have to be repaired and mutual distrust will be the starting point of any
development effort.
•
In communities that receive IDPs, site development will be an important component in order for the
IDPs to secure some manner of tenurial security, if not outright land ownership, essential to creating
the incentives for investing in the productivity of the land.
"There are at least three types post-conflict community types in Mindanao and each type may require a
unique approach to ensure development effectiveness.
Communities found within or close to the tensile points of the conflict between the MILF and the
Philippine military.
These would be communities in or around what used to be MILF camps. The Philippine troops continue to
be posted in thes e former MILF camps after these were overrun. The military leadership is logically
concerned that the MILF troops, which were merely dispersed, might retake these positions. On the other
hand, the presence of government soldiers is one reason internally displaced populations would rather
resettle elsewhere, either temporarily or permanently.
It is important to realize that the return to these places will be hindered by the perceived high probability of
a resumption of armed conflict in these areas. It may be important to support the phased return of IDPs
towards these places via half-way temporary evacuation centers, to allow IDPs to visit their farms, to avoid
new local conflict arising from occupation of their properties and to allow them to assess the peace and
security situation. A similar program was supported in 2000 by then DSWD Secretary and Vice-President
Gloaria Macapagal-Arroyo. The intention, however, was merely to establish these halfway centers, while
the houses of the displaced persons were being rebuilt.
Mixed communities
As may be gleaned from the stories in Boxes 1 ad 2, the end of armed hostilities between the major
protagonists in Mindanao will require more than just the reconstruction of physical infrastructure that was
destroyed by the conflict. The social infrastructure, especially in mixed communities of Muslims, Lumads
and Christians will also have to be repaired. In mixed ethno-religious communities where the conflict has
manifested itself in terms of the physical self-segregation of neighbors, mutual distrust will be the starting
point of any development effort. It may not always be sensible to expect these communities to undertake
joint projects, at least not major ones and not immediately. It is also possible that former neighbors would
desire to remain separate for an indefinite time. Baranguay and other local government officials may not
always be perceived to be good mediators in post-conflict settings in mixed communities because their
relatives or they themselves may have been involved as protagonists during the recent conflict.
Communities that receive displaced populations
83
Site development will be an important component in these communities because the new settlers will
probably find themselves in the marginal lands. Negotiations with clan leaders, and community elders will
probably have to be formalized, to secure some manner of tenurial security, if not outright land ownership.
This is essential to creating the incentives for investing in the productivity of the land.
It is undeniable that the newly relocated families should receive assistance to help them resume their
normal lives, more so if they are located in marginal lands of existing communities or if their entry makes
them indebted to the host community and places them in subordinate positions within the logic of the rural
economy. Even in instances where the arrival of these victims of war may have positive economic
consequences for the host communities in the long-term (e.g. if they help solve problems of labor shortage
in crop sectors where timing of labor availability is extremely important), members of the host community
may hold the belief that they too should be given projects." (WB 3 March 2003, pp.23-24)
Government declares "zones of peace" to ensure safe re turn of evacuees, but military
presence to remain (June 2003)
•
Government and some NGOs have set up "sanctuaries for peace" in war-torn areas in Mindanao.
•
Rebels have agreed to abide by the agreement and respect the following three salient points in these
zones: avoid armed confrontations, local communities will design plans for peace and development,
and local leaders shall define security measures.
•
The creation of the zones of peace is reportedly a step to encourage the return of the evacuees.
Continued military presence at the "periphery" is justified to protect the returning evacuees.
•
According to the NGO BALAY, the peace zone initiative and government's rehabilitation agenda
appear to be a counter-insurgency move.
•
Furthermore, the government's development agenda is ignoring one of the agreements it signed with
the MILF which created the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) as the body tasked by both
parties to lead and manage rehabilitation in conflict-affected areas.
"The government, together with several non-government organizations, has set up “sanctuaries for peace”
that will sustain peace building and development, unhampered by armed combat in war-torn areas in
Mindanao.
At a joint meeting of the Cabinet and National Economic and Development Authority in Davao City,
secretary of the National Antipoverty Commission, Teresita Quintos-Deles, told President Arroyo that the
rebels have agreed to stay out of declared sanctuaries.
She said Muhammad Nubdin, chief of staff of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in a letter dated May 31,
2003, promised to abide by the agreement.
Deles said an Inug-og declaration of sanctuaries for peace provided three salient points:
• Armed confrontation shall be avoided at all times and peaceful approaches shall be used in resolving
problems or conflicts;
• Local communities shall design plans for peace and development; and
• Local leaders shall clearly define and determine security measures.
Deles said families who sought refuge in evacuation centers in Pikit, Cotabato, could return safely to their
homes and farms in the Pikit-Pagalungan-Pagagawan cluster under the protection of the sanctuaries.
Earlier the Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security had issued a policy on “zones of peace”
calling for the redeployment of military units to let evacuees return to their places of origin, the activation
of the zones through rules set by the locals, setting up of local monitoring teams and the immediate
completion of rehabilitation projects.
84
Under the program, the NGO Tabang Mindanaw is committed to providing core shelters, health services,
technical aid in sustainable agriculture and continuing peace education to the returning evacuees.
The sanctuaries for peace shall be created village by village.
The first targets are three barangays in Pagalungan-Inug-og, Kudal and Bago-inged." (The Manila Times 12
June 2003)
"Defense officials today assured the safety of displaced families in Pikit and the Buliok Complex in North
Cotabato when they return to their former homes now that the former conflict areas are being declared by
the government as a "zone of peace."
In a press briefing in Malacañang, Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes said that the declaration of a "zone of
peace" is a step that the government has taken to facilitate and encourage the evacuees to return to their
former homes and live normal lives.
'Of course, we will secure them and we will try, as much as possible, to let them live their normal lives,'
Reyes said.
Reyes, however, said that there is no airtight guarantee that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as
well as other lawless elements would not harass them.
But Reyes said that the military and the police will go after these lawless elements if they will harass or
harm the residents.
In the same briefing, Gen. Dionisio Santiago, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),
said that when an area is declared a zone of peace, the military would move out from the population centers
and will be just in the periphery.
Santiago said the police and the military will make sure that criminal elements would not enter the zone to
ensure the security of the returning evacuees." (Office of the Press Secretary, 4 March 2003)
Balay Rehabilitation Center on the "zones of peace" intitiative...
"President Arroyo’s effort to declare the 15 conflict-affected barangays in Pikit as a "peace zone" is a
master stroke in irony. For one, the peace initiative does not come from the affected civilians. Neither were
they consulted on the matter. The military does not intend to totally pull out from the so-called peace zones.
They will only reposition their troops to allow the civilians to return to their villages. But the troops will
remain in the periphery creating a virtual "hamlet," under the shadow of the military presence. The MILF
has not left the so-called Buliok-complex. They remain mobile around their former base areas and launch
harassment against army positions from time to time. Hence, the forced return of civilians would only put
them in grave danger. (As of this writing, the 105 Howitzer cannons of the military are ablaze again in Fort
Pikit. They are shelling once more the villages in the so-called Buliok complex not long after they have
declared that the rebels have already retreated).
The peace zone initiative and government's rehabilitation agenda appear to be a counter-insurgency move.
Again, it has ignored one of the agreements it signed with the MILF which created the Bangsamoro
Development Agency (BDA) as the body tasked by both parties to lead and manage rehabilitation in
conflict-affected areas. Moreover, it is simply foolish to talk about rehabilitation when a shooting war is
still going on. What is needed is for the guns to be silenced and for the peace negotiations to resume. Only
then, perhaps, the civilians can start to rebuild their lives again." (Balay 10 March 2003)
85
See also:
"Returning evacuees to their homes: a probability", Mindanews, 28 May 2003
"Gov't declares Pikit, Buliok Complex as 'zones of peace' ", Office of the Press Secretary, 4 March 2003
Some 50,000 evacuees ask government to ensure safe return to their homes (June
2003)
•
Some 50,000 evacuees have planned to demonstrate by "seizing" the national highway in North
Cotabato by setting up tents along the road. Their main revendication is for their return to their homes
and they are asking the government tro declare a ceasefire.
•
Government had so far refused to follow any of the two MILF unilateral ceasefires.
"In what could be the biggest show of force by Muslims displaced by the recent clashes between the
military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an estimated 50,000 evacuees plan to leave their
evacuation centers and “seize” the national highway in North Cotabato for two days next week.
In a statement dated June 19, the Coalition of Peoples for Peace and Development, a nongovernment
organization that has been assisting the displaced residents, said the evacuees will set up tents along the
highway that links North Cotabato and Davao City.
According to Abusama Taguntong, acting coordinator of the coalition, the evacuees’ move is meant to
dramatize their demand for a safe and permanent return to their communities.
The evacuees are calling on the government to declare a cease-fire to end the war in Mindanao.
Last week the MILF declared a 10-day unilateral cease-fire, its second in a month. President Arroyo,
however, had refused calls for the government to follow suit as she urged the MILF to go back to the
negotiating table.
Taguntong said the evacuees would occupy half of the highway on June 24 and 25.
'It’s time to return home. It is time for the children to return to school. We want the fighting to stop. We are
tired of this life of dependence in the evacuation centers,' Taguntong said.
At least 200,000 people, some of them still holed up in evacuation centers in North Cotabato and
Maguindanao provinces, have been displaced after government troops attacked a stronghold of the MILF in
Buliok Complex in Liguasan Marsh" (The Manila Times 22 June 2003)
WB survey shows many will not return home after leaving the evacuation centers
(March 2003)
•
Significant number of IDPs will not return to their places of origin after leaving the evacuation centers
but will instead seek accomodation in other communities.
•
Others intend to return but will wait until the chances to regain a livelihood increase.
•
Further depletion of their livelihoods will have to be avoided by hard work and inclusion of women,
children, and even the elderly in the labor markets.
•
Unfinished character of the conflict means that the uncertainty of life in areas in and around former
MILF camps will continue to shape people’s decisions even after the displaced families have returned
to their homes and farms.
86
•
Planning horizons of people in these communities will tend to be short and long-term investments in
farms and communal facilities will be limited.
"An important feature of the major GRP-MILF confrontation is that it was in the nature of an attempt by
the Philippine military to displace the MILF from its camps and strongholds. But these camps also
happened to be nested in Muslim communities. The displacement of armed MILF combatants, thus, also
led to the displacement of civilian populations. At the end of 2001, close to one million people were
displaced by the GRP-MILF war. It is now necessary, however, to help the civilian population return to
these places of former conflict and rebuild their communities and livelihoods.
Findings from surveys in Central Mindanao reveal that a significant numb er of IDPs will not return to their
places of origin. After leaving evacuation centers, these people will seek to be accommodated in other
communities. Others will return only once they see that the chances of restoring their livelihoods have
increased. The first welcome step that the Government has done in this respect is to rebuild homes that
have been destroyed. Bridges, road madrasahs, public schools, health centers, potable water systems and
farm implements, however, were also destroyed. Carabaos and harvests have been lost or else sold or
depleted during the interim when people had to flee their homes. Until normalcy returns to rural economies,
people will need to work very hard just to prevent the further depletion of their livelihoods in a setting
where rural credit flows have been disrupted by failures in harvests, and as a result of the knowledge of
creditors that many have sunk too far below the surface to make the repayment of past and new loans a
priority. The Social Assessment reveal that women, children, and even the elderly have had to join the labor
markets in response to the disaster brought about by the disruption of their livelihoods and communities.
A second important aspect of the recent conflict is its largely unfinished character. Many displaced people
worry about their security and about the possibility of a repeat of the armed conflict in their communities of
origin. This must be particularly so for those whose communities are within marching distance of the
dispersed MILF bands or of troops of the Philippine military stationed in the former rebel camps.
Communities in and around former MILF camps remain precarious because, being strategic locations, these
will continue to invite contest between the warring parties. Meanwhile, the uncertainty of life in these areas
will continue to shape people’s decisions even after the displaced families have returned to their homes and
farms. Planning horizons of people in these communities will tend to be short and long-term investments in
farms and communal facilities that would otherwise be worthwhile may be forgone. Yet, it is also probably
true that communities that have been assisted in investing in their livelihoods and communities will be
more hesitant than others to engage in activities that would increase the risks of another disruption –e.g.,
participating in aggressive pre-emptive moves against groups and forces that are perceived to be hostile.
This is and idea that comes from young people encountered by the Social Assessment teams." (WB 3
March 2003, pp. 33-34)
MILF and GRP agree to ensure safe return and rehabilitation of IDPs (June 2001)
•
Government and MILF agree to implement the 1997 ceasefire agreement to ensure a safe return of the
displaced persons.
•
Financial and technical assistance will also be provided to rehabilitate the displaced, as well as
reparations for lost or destroyed properties.
•
MILF will lead and manage rehabilitation and development projects in the conflict-affected areas
except when public funds are involved.
•
Members of the OIC are invited to observe and monitor the implementation of the agreements.
"Good news for evacuees who were displaced by the war in Central Mindanao last year.
87
The government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panels agreed at the end of the first
round of formal peace talks in Tripoli, Libya last Friday, to implement the 1997 ceasefire agreement in the
conflict-affected areas, 'safely return evacuees to their places of origin,' provide 'all the necessary
financial/material and technical assistance to start a new life' and implement development projects there.
The two panels also agreed that the evacuees be 'awarded reparations for their properties lost or destroyed
by reason of the conflict.'
(…)
Under the 1997 ceasefire agreement, the two panels agreed to 'commit the armed forces of the GRP and the
MILF to a General Cessation of Hostilities.'
In Libya last Friday, the agreements on the 'rehabilitation' and 'security' aspects were contained in a fivepage 'agreement on peace' signed by government panel chair Jesus Dureza and MILF peace panel chair Al
Haj Murad and witnessed by Saif Al Islam Gaddafi, chairman of the Gaddafi International Foundation for
Charitable Associations.
The two panels also agreed that the MILF 'shall determine, lead and manage rehabilitation and development
projects in conflict-affected areas, except when public funds are involved, in which case government
procedures and rules will be observed.'
On the 'security aspect,' the panels agreed that 'normalization' in conflict-affected areas can be achieved if
the parties adhere to 'certain principles and guidelines' such as the implementation of all past agreements in
accordance with the framework agreed upon in Kuala Lumpur on March 24.
It was agreed in KL that the government and MILF would 'honor, respect and implement all past
agreements and other supplementary agreements signed by them' but 'details of the implementation shall be
discussed by the panels.'
The panels agreed in Libya that negotiations and the peaceful resolution of the conflict "must involve
consultations with the Bangsamoro people free of any imposition in order to provide chances of success
and open new formulas that permanently respond to the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people for
freedom."
They also agreed to invite representatives of the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to
'observe and monitor the implementation of all GRP-MILF Agreements.'
The OIC earlier brokered the peace talks between government and the Moro National Liberation Front
(MNLF), which led to the signing of the Tripoli Agreement of 1976 and the 'Final Peace Agreement' in
1996.
The panels also agreed to 'strengthen' the July 1997 ceasefire agreement signed in Cagayan de Oro on July
18, 1997.
A monitoring team 'with representatives' from the OIC was expected to be constituted immediately upon
signing of the 'agreement on peace' last Friday.
The two panels agreed to discuss ancestral domain in the next round of talks." (Mindanews 23 June 2001)
Return
88
Return of the displaced before President's visit raises questions of forced return
(June 2003)
•
Some 18,475 evacuees have left Pikit's evacuation centers since April, but many have returned to the
camps due to continued fighting.
•
Military is constructing "community-based convertibekl structures" for the remaining 22,000 evacuees.
•
Government has denied forcing the evacuees to return as was claimed by a group of evacuees that said
that many evacuees were told to leave ahead of President's visit to Mindanao.
Governement denies forcing people to return
" 'There is no truth to the issue that thousands of evacuees in Pikit, North Cotabato were told to pack
up...and were forced to return to their villages with no assurance of security because President MacapagalArroyo was going to be in the area,' Soliman said in a letter to the Inquirer.
A total of 18,475 evacuees have left the refugee camp and returned to their communities since April, she
said. Some of them, however, had gone back to evacuation centers due to sporadic fighting between
military and Muslim rebels, she added.
There are still 26,730 people in evacuation centers and the military is currently building "community-based
convertible structures" for them, according to Soliman.
Each of the structures will have an area of 154 sq.m., enough to augment the number of school buildings
currently housing the evacuees, she said.
'If our intention was to force them to return to their own communities, then why are we building these
CBCS which are semi-permanent in nature?' she asked in the letter.
Displaced residents had accused the government of forcing them back to their war-torn communities to
"sanitize" Pikit in time for the presidential visit." (The Inquirer 12 June 2003)
Displaced persons accuse government of forcing them to return ahead of President's visit
"Ahead of the President's visit, however, thousands of evacuees in Pikit town in North Cotabato province -site of recent fighting between government forces and the MILF -- were told to pack up their belongings
Monday and return to their villages.
Not all of them are going home.
An evacuee, Soraida, said talk was rife they were being forced out of the evacuation centers in an attempt
by the government to "sanitize" Pikit.
She said this was being done because President Macapagal and members of the Organization of the Islamic
Conference, which groups Muslim-governed countries -- were coming this week.
A nongovernmental organization worker said the evacuees were being forced to return to their homes even
if they were not psychologically ready.
'Are they prepared? Psychologically, they're not,' said the worker, who requested anonymity. 'We would be
happy if they could finally go home. But what's happening is different. I think the process is wrong.'
He said some of the evacuees who were forced to load their belongings on government trucks were crying
"because they were really afraid."
89
The transfer of the evacuees from Pikit to neighboring Pagalungan town will create a humanitarian cris is
because the Pagalungan evacuation camps are not being supplied with regular relief assistance, the NGO
worker said.
There are at least 14 evacuation centers in Pagalungan currently sheltering 19,104 individuals, he said. The
problem of food will be aggravated with the addition of the evacuees from Pikit, he added.
The Buisan warehouse in Pikit, the biggest evacuation camp in the area, which housed 3,000 refugees, was
cleared of evacuees Monday.
An evacuee said they had to leave the warehouse or 'suffer the consequences.'
"We were told that if our houses were still up tomorrow, these would be bulldozed," she said.
She said the local government gave the evacuees until Tuesday to pack up their things and leave the
warehouse. Another evacuee at the Pikit parish gymnasium said they were told they were being given two
options by the local government: Leave or get hurt.
'Many of us are already old. We don't want to be hurt. We also don't want to hurt anybody,' he said.
Many of the evacuees did not return to their villages. At least 200 families transferred to other evacuation
camps in Pagalungan.
Soraida, a resident of Bulol town, said it was hard to believe the government when it said it was safe for
them to go home.
The presence of military troops in their villages is a clear indication that they will be in great danger once
they return to their homes, she said." (The Inquirer 9 June 2003)
See also:
"Pikit's 'bakwit' return home", Mindanews, 9 June 2003
Over 90% of the displaced have reportedly returned or resettled (November 2001)
According to the figures provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), a
total number of 849,013 persons have returned to their places of origin or to a new place "of their
choice" as of November 5, 2001. Prior to their return, 500,276 IDPs were sheltered in evacuation
centers, while 348,737 were staying with friends and family.
With a total of 83,032 persons still displaced throughout Mindanao, one could estimate that over 90% of
those displaced by conflict have so far returned either to their place of origin or to a place "of their
choice".
90
Source: DSWD/DROMIC, 5 November 2001
Policy
Tripoli Peace Agreement of June 2001 provides for the return of evacuees and their
rehabilitation (September 2002)
•
GRP and MILF have agreed that the 'parties shall pave the say for the immediate return of evacuees to
their places of origin and provide all necessary financial/material and technical assistance to those
evacuated for them to begin a new life. The GRP shall award reparations for the properties lost or
destroyed by reasons of the conflict upon reasonable proof thereon as mutually verified and
acknowledged by both parties.
•
Return of evacuees and reparations were not the original product of the Implementing Guidelines of
May, 2002 but rather stemmed from the Tripoli Peace Agreement of June 2001
"The latest agreement on humanitarian, rehabilitation, and development issues stipulates that it will
safeguard the observance of international humanitarian law, respect for internationally recognized human
rights, and fundamental freedoms for all persons. These are the criteria and standards that that should guide
the monitoring mechanism of Article VI of the agreement to be undertaken by the joint Coordinating
Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH).
The agreement also assures full access for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 'in
accordance with ICRC’s standard operating procedures'. It stipulates that 'in conformity with international
humanitarian law, each party shall provide information, through the tracing mechanism of the ICRC, to
families of all persons who are unaccounted for.'
91
They also agree that the 'parties shall pave the say for the immediate return of evacuees to their places of
origin and provide all necessary financial/material and technical assistance to those evacuated for them to
begin a new life. The GRP shall award reparations for the properties lost or destroyed by reasons of the
conflict upon reasonable proof thereon as mutually verified and acknowledged by both parties.' (Article V,
Numeral 3).
[...]
On the other side the GRP agrees to relieve the evacuee situation and allow a return to the places occupied
prior to 'All Out War', as well as to pay reparations for properties lost and damages sustained. In sum, a
reversal of the effects on the population of the 'All Out War'. Of course, the MILF as an organization would
not return to the situation 'antebellum' in that there would be no resurrection of the armed camps, exclusion
of the State, and MILF territorial control.
[...]
On the other side, some national and local officials, broad sectors of the AFP and ex-President Estrada, all
protested the return of the evacuees to their places of origin and the payment of reparations A role for an
MILF entity in rehabilitation and development was also questioned. It was argued that these measures
would make in vain the sacrifices of AFP comrades in arms who fell on the field of battle to take the MILF
camps as part of the All Out War policy. It was also seen as rewarding the MILF despite their defeat in the
All Out War. The return of evacuees and reparations were not the original product of the Implementing
Guidelines of May, 2002 but rather stemmed from the Tripoli Peace Agreement of June 2001 (Literal B
'Rehabilitation Aspect, Section 3)" (UNDP 23 September 2002, p. 20)
See also:
Full text of the "Implementing Guidelines on the Humanitarian, Rehabilitation and Development
Aspects of the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001"
Obstacles to return
WB's social assessment shows absence of peace and security is the main reason for
not returning (March 2003)
•
In November and December 200, more than 60 percent of the IDPs coming from North Cotabato were
in resettlement sites while the rest were in evacuation centers and rehabilitation sites.
•
Fifty-seven percent of these IDPs said they did not have plans to return to their places of origin,
mainly because of the absence of peace and security
"Government data does not provide a sense of the number of affected populations that have not returned to
their places of origin. Results of the Social Assessment provide some indication (see table 4).
92
In November and December 2001 internally displaced persons (IDPs) coming predominantly from the
North Cotabato towns of Kabacan, Carmen and Pikit were clustered around the Muslim-dominated
baranguays of Pedtad, Moloa, Natutungan and Ilian. More than 60 percent were in resettlement sites while
the rest were in evacuation centers and rehabilitation sites. Fifty-seven percent of these IDPs said they did
not have plans to return to their places of origin, while the remaining forty-three percent said that they still
had plans of going back. Those who had no plans of going back to their places of original were those
clustered around the baranguays of Natutungan and Ilian in North Cotabato.
Majority of survey respondents with no plans of going back said that the absence of peace and security led
them to their decision of 20.5 percent. The comfort experienced living in their current residence relative to
their places of origin and the loss of livelihood and property in the area of origin convinced the others to
avoid going back.
93
Among those who still had plans of returning to their original homes, around three-fourths said they wanted
to go back because it was “their place of birth and they have a farm there”.
Twenty percent of the respondents said that nothing would convince them to return to their original
communities. Ten percent of the respondents said that going back would depend on whether there is a good
source of livelihood in their place of origin." (WB 3 March 2003, pp. 13-14)
Returning IDPs will face loss of relief aid and ethnic resentment (March 2003)
•
The unfinished and protracted character of the war makes returning home a risky venture.
•
Return home will even cause hardships before it leads to a return to normalcy.
•
Leaving the evacuation will mean the loss of direct support from government and aid agencies.
•
Distances and physical isolation are constraints to delivering services to the original communities of
the IDPs.
•
Communities that may have been originally caught between the armed combat between government
troops and the MILF have armed themselves and there might be a great deal of mistrust between
Muslims and Christians.
•
Return home will bring to the fore the reality of debts, military outposts, unfriendly neighbors, lost
carabaos and ruined villages that will have to be repaired before life can go on.
"The unfinished and protracted character of the war makes returning home a risky venture. Certainly, the
support provided by the government and aid agencies in evacuation centers did much to arrest hunger, to
provide a place to sleep and to shield families from the further trauma of being caught amidst gunfire and
being separated from each other.
The informants interviewed for the Social Assessment say that the food aid from government agencies was
not enough. The support also could not have been expected to come anywhere close to restoring the
displaced families and communities to their homes and in resuming their normal lives and livelihoods. One
may assume that a decision to return home will even cause hardships before it leads to a return to normalcy.
The reasons are stark:
First, leaving the evacuation will mean the loss of direct support from government and aid agencies. Even if
agencies like the DSWD will try their best to extend support to families returning to their communities, it
will always be easier to administer support right at the evacuation centers, where all the displaced families
are gathered.
Second, there are also new constraints to delivering services to the original communities of the IDPs.
Distances and physical isolation are only the most obvious problems. The home villages of the IDPs are
also located very near forward positions of armed combattants on both sides, very near or within areas used
to be camps of the MILF. Inter-ethnic tensions released by the war, for example in the mixed communities
of Maguindanao, may yet be heightened as neighbors encounter each other again for the first time since the
war. In a Christian-Muslim community Christian communities attacked by the MILF blame their Muslim
neighbors “for not having warned them” of what was about to happen. It is also well-known that
communities that may have been originally caught between the armed combat between government troops
and the MILF have also armed themselves or, in the case of Christian communities, solicited the support of
government para-military groups to help them defend themselves.
These problems have in the past contributed to the difficulty of delivering services to these areas. The
journey back home will bring the returning communities closer to their sources of livelihoods –their land.
94
But home will bring to the fore the reality of debts, military outposts, unfriendly neighbors, lost carabaos
and ruined villages that will have to be repaired before life can go on." (WB 3 March 2003, p. 19)
Slow and limited reconstruction hampers return (August 2002)
•
As of August 2002, some IDPs are still living in evacuation centers where they took shelter two years
ago.
•
The main obstacles for returning are the slow reconstruction of their houses and the length of the
validation process to identify the beneficiaries of the assistance.
•
Damaged homes and communal infrastructure hamper return of IDPs.
•
CFSI actions included raising awareness on the rehabilitation/reconstruction needs of the IDPs.
•
Failure to address these needs will probably result in IDPs remaining in evacuation centers throughout
2002.
"While most of North Cotabato’s war refugees have returned to new homes built in their rehabilitated
villages, there are families in the province who have not been as fortunate. They remain where they have
been for the past two years--the evacuation camp.
These evacuees say the slow process of construction of their new houses has prevented them from returning
to their home village. They add that their lives have become more difficult due to their long stay in the
evacuation camps.
In Liliongan village here, 50 of 114 refugee families from three different sitios returned to sitio Spring after
a 2-year stay in the refugee camp --27 families on May 18 and 23 in late June. The 50 houses were built
under the rehabilitation program of the province’s Department of Social Welfare and Development
(DSWD).
However, 64 families remain, waiting for bureaucratic wheels to turn, so that their homes can be rebuilt.
[…]
North Cotabato provincial DSWD chief Zaida Rinsulat told CyberDyaryo that one of the causes of the
delay is the validation process, saying that it took them three months to validate the actual number of
evacuees in the three sitios.
Rinsulat said that because the refugees in the market site lived in different villages, 'it was difficult for us to
identify the beneficiaries of the assistance.'
Besides there were irregularities during the earlier stage of validation because the village chief submitted a
list of fake refugees, composed not of displaced villagers but local residents of Liliongan proper.
Rinsulat said her office had to revalidate the displaced villagers and request the DSWD regional office to
nullify the previous list of evacuees after the bona fide evacuees called her attention to the fake list.
Rinsulat also cited the delay in the bidding process as another cause of the delay in the construction of
houses. 'Our process here in the rehabilitation is too bureaucratic, and that caused the delay.'
At times, the scheduled bidding had to be canceled because the governor was out of town.
Another cause of delay was the Commission on Audit’s insistence that only one contractor be tapped for
the rehabilitation in Carmen.
95
Rinsulat explained that some displaced villagers in Liliongan were not prioritized because their homes were
not burned or destroyed by the bombings but by climatic changes and lack of maintenance.
'We prioritized those houses that were burned during the war,' she said, adding, "besides, the budget from
our head office also arrived late, sometime in October 2001." (Cyberdyaryo 5 August 2002)
"Many of the homes as well as much of the communal infrastructure damaged or destroyed during the war
have not been repaired or replaced making it difficult, if not impossible, for the IDPs to return to their place
of origin.
CFSI responses included: assisting the IDPs to present their views on these matters to the appropriate
officials and the larger public; documenting the situation during "Go and See Visits"; raising awareness of
the situation at all levels; advocating for the construction of core shelters and/or the provision of supplies so
that those most directly affected can begin rebuilding their homes, schools, and places of worship; seeking
funding from other parties to allow immediate action by the most directly affected communities; and
entering into a Memorandum of Agreement with the DWSD and the Provincial Governement of North
Cotabato to help "fast track" appropriate rehabilitation and reconstruction responses.
CFSI recommends: prioritizing the reconstruction of homes and/or the provision of core shelters in the
places of origin through "work for food" initiatives or other community counterparts arrangments;
providing LGUs, NGOs and People Organizations (POs) with funds specifically allocated for the
reconstruction/construction of homes on an urgent basis with the 1,771 still damaged or destroyed homes in
Maguidanao as the highest priority; recognizing that the failure to address this basic need will probably
result in IDPs remaining in evacuation centers through much of 2002; and revisiting or establishing
national policy on reparation in situations of armed conflict." (CFSI October 2001)
Memories of war prevent IDPs from returning home (May 2002)
•
Some IDPs in central Mindanao are afraid to go home.
•
The core shelter projects of the government, according to the DSWD, are 55 percent complete.
•
Many IDPs who are staying with relatives have signaled that they were interested in returning home or
avail of the government’s housing program.
"Social Welfare Secretary Corazon ‘Dinky’ Soliman admitted on Wednesday (June 5) that some evacuees
in Central Mindanao are not interested in returning to their places of origin, apparently to avoid recalling
the ugly vestiges of the war there two years ago.
Soliman urged the internally displaced persons seeking refuge in two evacuation centers in Sultan Kudarat
and Parang, Maguindanao to vacate the refugee camps and relocate to the core shelter projects built by the
government or to their places of origin.
'We are convincing the evacuees to return to their places of origin. Some of them do not want, however, to
go home,' said Soliman, who held dialogues with local officials in Maguindanao and North Cotabato
provinces.
Soliman said that those who do not want to return home can avail of the government’s core shelter projects
in various towns of the two provinces to start a new life there.
Fifty-five percent complete
96
The core shelter projects of the government, according to her, are 55 percent complete, with the department
and local government officials expecting to finish them by the end of this month.
Tens of thousands of families fled their homes at the height of the armed conflict between the government
and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2000.
Soliman said there are two kinds of evacuees: those who lived in evacuation centers and those who sought
refuge with their relatives in areas not reached by the all-out war ordered by then- President Joseph Estrada
in 2000.
She added that many of the latter kind of evacuees have signified their intention, through their respective
local governments, to return to their places of origin or avail of the government’s housing
program."(Cyberdyaryo 10 May 2002)
Landmines impede return of displaced (August 2001)
•
Landmines mainly found in Matanog and Barira towns (Maguindanao province).
•
Military refuse return of 3,000 displaced families because of danger of landmines
•
AFP’s summary of landmine incidents from January to December 2000 reported 64 casualties,
including 19 civilians.
"Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao are the most war-affected provinces. According to the Department of
Agriculture, landmines are found mainly in the towns of Matanog and Barira, particularly in farm areas
near Camp Abubakar, the main base of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Landmines and shrapnel are
slowing down government efforts to reopen farmland to agricultural production. Dennis Araullo, head of
the Department of Agriculture’s technical committee overseeing agricultural relief and rehabilitation efforts
in Mindanao, said that due to the presence of landmines and shrapnel, the military refused to allow some
3,000 families displaced from these towns to return home and resume farming. He said the farms are still
'very risky,' even after fighting stopped.
The Explosive Ordnance Division of the AFP conducted mine clearance operations after the military
overran MILF camps. When landmine incidents or landmine sightings are reported, the EOD is tapped to
recover and destroy the mines. Most of the mines they encounter are homemade. EOD always opts for
'destruct on site' when they encounter homemade mines that are considered very delicate and dangerous.
There are no comprehensive statistics on landmine victims. The AFP’s summary of landmine incidents
from January to December 2000 reported 64 casualties, including 19 civilians. Of the 64 casualties, 11 died
and 53 were wounded. There are no new developments in survivor assistance programs to report.
Despite its current budget deficit, the Department of Foreign Affairs is giving serious consideration to
making a contribution to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action." (ICBL
August 2001)
Presence of MILF and army in evacuated areas hampers return (July 2001)
•
MILF and governement urged to re-position their forces to facilitate return of IDPs.
•
70,000 families scattered in various evacuation centers still waiting to return.
•
Moro displaced fear the government forces
•
Non-Moro displaced fear the MILF.
•
Bishops suggest to create "peace zones" to facilitate return of IDPs.
97
"The bishops of Cotabato and Kidapawan called on the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
to reposition their forces and declare as "peace zones" Moro villages now being occupied by both the
military and the rebels in Central Mindanao.
Cotabato City Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, who is also president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of
the Philippines, said that the declaration of military-occupied villages in former MILF bases as peace zones
is crucial in facilitating the return of some 70,000 families still scattered in various evacuation centers in the
region.
He said a number of evacuees are from villages inside the 10,000-hectare area covered by the MILF's Camp
Abubakar in Matanog town, Maguindanao.
But Quevedo said soldiers are now occupying the abandoned homes to prevent possible moves by the
MILF rebels to retake their positions in Camp Abubakar. The military captured the camp a year ago after
months of fighting following former President Joseph Estrada's declaration of an all-out-war against the
MILF.
Quevedo said some of the non-Moro evacuees are also afraid to go back to areas reported to be still
occupied by MILF rebels. "Even though there is assurance that there are no MILF rebels in these areas, the
evacuees could not be convinced so easily."
"The same is true with the Moro. They are also afraid to go back to areas where there are soldiers (because)
they do not trust the military," Quevedo said.
Kidapawan Bishop Romulo Valles said the signing of the "Agreement of Peace" between the government
and the MILF in Tripoli, Libya last June 22 has not moved the evacuees to return home. He said the
evacuees fear being caught in the crossfire should fighting erupt again.
Some 5,000 families who evacuated to Pagalungan town in North Cotabato, for instance, refuse to return
home because they fear the possible outbreak of violence in their villages, Valles said.
"It takes time for their fear to subside," he said, noting the evacuees' grim experiences during the war.
While the resumption of peace talks and the Tripoli agreement have helped, he thinks that the repositioning
of troops away from civilian villages would help ease the tension and facilitate the evacuees' return home.
Quevedo acknowledged that it may not be acceptable for the military to pull out outright from areas they
are currently occupying. As a compromise, the bishops are proposing that all of the villages occupied by
the military be considered and respected as "peace zones" so the evacuees could finally return home.
(Mindanews 13 July 2001)
Little return due to fear of fighting (January 2001)
•
Returns to places of residence do not correspond to the lowering of the intensity of conflict due to
uncertainty and the fear of recurrence.
" Dislocations and population movements are influenced by the intensity of conflict. Data indicates that the
intensity of displacements correspond to the intensity of the conflict. Unfortunately, returns to places of
residence do not correspond to the lowering of the intensity of conflict. Due to uncertainty and the fear of
recurrence, evacuees do not return to their homes even during the lull of fighting.
98
Fr. Roberto Layson, the Roman Catholic parish priest of Pikit, estimated a total of 41,000 evacuees hosted
by Pikit alone at the height of the recent escalation of hostilities between the government and the MILF.
This number includes evacuees from the neighbouring municipalities of Carmen and Aleosan of Cotabato
province, as well as from Matanog (Maguindanao province). The exodus from the rural communities
began as early as 28 April, a few days before the outbreak of fighting along the Cotabato-Davao national
highway on 2 May.
It was only about two months later that people began returning to their communities – particularly after
government troops had overrun Camp Rajahmuda in Pikit, the second biggest MILF camp after Camp
Abubakar. Other evacuees returned only after four months in the evacuation centres. Still there are about a
thousand families (roughly 5,000 individuals) remaining in the evacuation centres as of the first week of
December 2000." (Oxfam January 2001, p. 22)
99
HUMANITARIAN ACCESS
General
Security problems cause restriction of access (April 2003)
•
During the second quarter of 2002, threats of kidnapping by lawless groups caused the restriction of
access to interior barangays inhabited by displaced populations.
"For the most part of 2002, the projects carried out their activities without many problems. However, early
during the second quarter of the year, threats of kidnapping by lawless groups caused the restriction of
access to interior barangays inhabited by displaced populations. Security measures were taken, which
required the temporary evacuation of several expatriate NGO personnel working in Mindanao to Manila.
These kidnapping activities, coupled with intermittent localised encounters between military and rebel
groups, increased security concerns in the project areas during the year." (Delegation of the European
Commission" (Delegation of the European Commission April 2003, p. 39)
Volatile security conditions hamper project operations : CFSI response and
recommendations (October 2001)
•
Uncertain security conditions in Central Mindanao hamper project operations.
Sporadic fire-fights, ethnic/family clashes, murders, bombings, kidnapping, and other acts of violence
required extraordinary attention to staff security and hampered project operations.
CFSI responses included: deveoping contacts with all concerned parties-including the affected
communities-thereby maximizing opportunities to access security-related information; analyzing the causes
as well as levels of conflict and "unpeace"; regularly seeking the input of security experts in Central
Mindanao; putting into place tested internal security policies, procedure, and practices; investing in
communication systems and procedures desugned to maximize the provision of "real-time" information to
project personnel; preparing project vehicles for security challenges as well as emergencies; designating a
Focal Point for Security within the Cotabato Operations Team; conducting drills as well as making detailed
contingency plans; and -when absolutely necessary-withdrawing from the field to the Cotabato Operations
center until security conditions had improved enough to allow for the resumption of services.
CFSI recommends: continued efforts to analyze -at the community level - the causes of conflict and
"unpeace"; continued efforts to build and sustain peace in Mindanao; greater attention to peace education;
continued respect -by the combattants -of the right as well as responsability of humanitarian assistance
organizations to provide aid to needy civilians; and an end to acts of violence in Mindanao." (CFSI October
2001)
Movements of government, UN and NGO staff continue to be constrained by security
conditions (November 2000)
•
Volatile security situation restricts travel in following provinces: North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Lanao
del Sur, Sulu, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte.
100
"Due to the uncertainty of the situation, inward travel is restricted for the following areas:
In North Cotabato: the municipality of Carmen, Nalapaan in the municipality of Pikit, Pagangan in the
municipality of Aleosan, Tumbras and Gayunga in the municipality of Sambulawan; Malanduagi and
Simoni in the municipality of Kabakan
In Maguindanao: the municipalities of Matanog, Buldon, Barira, Talayan, Kabuntalan, Talitay, Datu Piang
and Malangit in the municipality of Buluan;
In Lanao Sur: the municipalities of Butig, Kapatagan, Bumbaran, Maguing, Masio, Malabang and Balabang
Entire Sulu except for Jolo and Indanan
Sultan Kudarat: the municipalities of Bagumbayan, Palembang, Columbio and Simsiman in the
municipality of Lutayan. The Palembang Maitum route is unsafe
Lanao del Norte: the municipalities of Tangkal and Inudaran in the municipality of Kauswagan" (Office of
the Resident Coordinator, 24 November 2000)
"Security of Agency Staff: Movements of government, UN and NGO staff (particularly international staff)
continue to be constrained by security conditions which reduces their effectiveness and limits access to
affected populations. This situation is particularly acute in Sulu Province where it has not been possible
thus far to carry out a needs assessment.
(…)
Due to the uncertainty of the situation, inward travel is restricted for Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi,
Maguindanao, Zamboanga Norte, Zamboanga Sur, Zamboanga City, the municipality of Palembang in
Sultan Kudarat, the mu nicipalities of Carmen, Aleosan, Pikit and Kabakan in North Cotabato and the
municipality of Maitum in Sarrangani." (Office of the Resident Coordinator, 5 October 2000)
Food for the trapped civilians blocked by the military by fear of it being used by the
MILF (May 2000)
•
Civilians from the rebel-controlled areas are sometimes not assisted by the Government.
•
DSWD workers bringing relief to trapped civilians were stopped and harassed by soldiers.
•
Sacks of rice and sugar were not allowed to pass through the soldier's check points.
Internally displaced at times, are treated with discrimination. Civilians who flee from rebel-contraolled
labeled areas are not given assistance by the government for fear that they provide food aid to rebel troops."
(ECDFC, June 2000)
"On May 7, 2000, there was a concerted relief mission by the different government agencies and nongovernment organizations for the town of Barira. The objective was to provide relief goods and to get the
remaining civilians out of Buldon and Barira while the unilateral ceasefire declared by the MILF was in
effect.
One of the objectives of some government agencies, such as the DSWD is to bring sacks of rice to the
remaining civilians in Buldon and Barira area. However, they were stopped by the Marines from bringing
in food and were harassed by soldiers of the Philippine Marines. Sacks of rice were thoroughly checked,
allegedly for possible contents of guns and ammunitions. DSWD employees were even accused of feeding
the MILF forces when they insisted to bring the sacks of rice in the area. They were held for hours before
being told to proceed but accompanied by the Marines.
(…)
101
On May 8, 2000, Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, health officer of Pagalungan, Maguindanao, reported to a local
radio station DXMS their experience with the Philippine Marines while conducting relief missions and
bringing sacks of rice and sugar to the trapped residents of Pikit, North Cotabato.
According to Dr. Sinolinding, the sacks of rice and sugar were not allowed by the Philippine Marines to
pass through and they even threw the contents of the sacks to the ground.” (Human Rights Now, 9 May
2000)
102
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL RESPONSES
National response
National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) to assist IDPs in Mindanao
(March 2003)
•
NCCP is proposing to assist 8,000 families by providing food aid, medical and agricultural assistance
as well as shelter repairing.
•
Rehabilitation assistance will be provided to at least two hundred families whose source of livelihood
is totally destroyed, either their fields and crops are destroyed or their houses damaged.
"ACT member, the National Council of Churches in Philippines (NCCP) is proposing to assist 8,000
families who have been caught up in the latest skirmish. The families will receive
• Food aid
• Bedding implements
• Medical assistance
• Agriculture assistance
• Shelter repairing
[…]
The NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES IN THE PHILIPPINES (NCCP) was formed in 1963,
composed of 11 member Churches and 10 Christian service organizations who believe in Jesus Christ as
the foundation of their being. The NCCP’s primary task is to foster unity among all Christians, which is
God’s will, seeking to honor Him more worthily, and desiring to witness for Him more effectively.
Relief and Rehabilitation is a special program of the Program Unit on Faith, Witness and Service. It is
involved in disaster management work with survivors of both natural and human-made emergency
situations. This includes relief services, education and training on disaster preparedness and rehabilitation
assistance. Its network in the regions is comprised of church leaders, clergy and lay persons from the NCCP
member churches, church-related organizations and peoples' organizations. Other networks include those
organized through the Regional Ecumenical Councils (RECs) given training in disaster management who
eventually became the implementing local partners or local volunteers.
The Relief and Rehabilitation is staffed by a licensed social worker (a requirement by the government to
head a relief and rehabilitation agency/program), a driver -warehouseman. The personnel of the Faith,
Witness and Service who are also development workers provide staff support.
[…]
Project goal
To channel emergency responses to families and communities where capacities for survival are hardly met.
Objectives required to reach stated goal:
a. to provide relief assistance to 8,000 families displaced by the on-going war between the government
troops and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
103
b. to provide rehabilitation assistance to 250 families through the provision of agriculture assistance and
shelter repair assistance
c. to provide counseling and trauma-therapy sessions to evacuees especially children, women and the
elderly
d. to mobilize church constituency to respond in whatever way as a manifestation of Christian witnessing
and service
[…]
Type of beneficiaries
The affected population is composed of Christians, Muslims and Lumads (indigenous peoples).
Their main source of livelihood is agriculture.
Criteria used in selecting beneficiaries
Based on the monitoring report of the member churches, beneficiaries will be selected based on
the following criteria:
a. minimal assistance provided by the government agencies or other organizations providing relief
assistance
b. evacuees who have the least capacity of providing for themselves basic food provisions
c. women, children and elderly who needs further assistance
Number of Beneficiaries according to assistance provided
Relief assistance 8,000 families
Rehabilitation 200 families
[…]
Emergency Assistance
Crisis Phase
a) Food and Nutritional Assistance
Bags containing food stuffs will be provided to the evacuees. Each bag contains the following:
§ 7 kilos of rice
§ 3 cans of canned goods
§ ½ kilo of sugar
§ ¼ kilo of salt
§ ½ kilo of dried fish
§ 1 pint of cooking oil
b) Non-Food
At least 500 families will receive a pair of sleeping mats and light blankets in addition to the food bag
which will be distributed. Priority will be given to those families who lack sleeping provisions as well as
those who have small children, elderly or sick family members.
c) Medical Assistance
A medical team will also be formed to provide medical assistance to evacuees. Medical and paramedical
volunteers from the member churches will be mobilized. Medicines will be provided to patients while those
requiring further medical attention will be referred to hospitals.
Counseling and trauma-therapy sessions will also be provided especially to women and children
who exhibit signs of trauma as a result of their experiences being caught in the crossfire.
Post-Crisis Phase
104
The main source of livelihood of the affected population is agriculture who are engaged in farming,
backyard livestock and poultry production. Other families depend on daily wage earnings on various odd
jobs.
Rehabilitation assistance will be provided to at least two hundred families whose source of livelihood is
totally destroyed, either their fields and crops are destroyed or their houses damaged.
The 200 families will be selected based on their inability to recover on their own. Priority will also be given
to those families who cannot avail of the assistance of other agencies or organizations." (ACT 4 March
2003)
In Basilan and Sulu, people rely mainly upon community leaders and NGOs to deliver
services (March 2003)
•
In Basilan, NGOs and community leaders are relied upon to deliver services to the people.
•
In Sulu, community leaders, rather than NGOs and government, are the predominant service delivery
agents because they have a more widespread presence at the grassroots level.
"In Basilan, survey findings reveal that NGOs and community leaders are relied upon to deliver services to
the people, government ranks a close third. The Sulu survey tells a slightly different story. Community
leaders, rather than NGOs and government, are the predominant agents through which people gain access
to services.
NGO services appear to be more widespread in Basilan compared to Sulu. The survey of households for
Sulu covering different municipalities tended to show that it is the informal community leaders, rather than
either the NGOs and the government, that have more consistently been able to provide support in the
different communities during emergencies. This response included those municipalities outside of the main
island of Jolo. NGOs are located mainly in the major island of Jolo and cater to very specific sectors rather
than to geographical communities.
Between Basilan and Sulu, it would appear that it is in Sulu where the informal community leaders play a
prominent role in responding to the needs of people. The reason for this is that community leaders (ulama,
elders, royalty and local bosses) have a more widespread presence at the grassroots level, owing to the
traditional role that Islam and the Sultanate assigned to them.
NGO in Basilan also appear to have a palpable presence in many communities owing to the organizing
influence and support of the Catholic Church in thirty three Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) and to the
impetus that agrarian reform has given to the formation of cooperatives such as those being supported by
Kasanyangan Foundation in the rubber plantations. These organizations are able to coordinate actions
across barangays." (WB 3 March 2003, p. 29)
Local governments, NGOs and the DSWD assist the displaced in Pikit (February 2003)
•
Food supplies to IDPs in Pikit are being provided by the local and provincial governments as well as
that by the national DSWD.
•
NGOs include the Ecumenical Commission for Displaced Families and Communities (ECDFC), Balik
Kalipay, Balay Inc, CFSI, among others and they have provided emergency relief assistance like food,
medicines, and shelter.
•
ICRC are giving about three hundred tents to the evacuees in the areas while OXFAM is sponsoring
construction of water pumps and toilets.
105
•
Authorities from the ARMM have acknowledged their primary responsibility to address the problem of
internal displacement.
•
Despite the limited resources available to assist the IDPs, DSWD has played a key role by extending
services in the relief and rehabilitation efforts which included shelter, food, housing, sanitation,
construction of water systems, livelihood assistance, solar driers and care services.
•
The mission identified a need to establish appropriate institutional structures and mechanisms of
response within the Government at all levels (central, regional and local) and for coordination among
them in facilitating the shift from emergency response to implementing durable solutions for the
dis placed
"Food needs of the evacuees [in Pikit] are currently being augmented by the assistance being given by the
local and provincial governments as well as that by the national DSWD. However, with the latest
developments, it is still not sure how long the supplies can last. Food provisions include sacks of rice and
cartons of sardines.
NGOs are presently co-ordinating with the Disaster Response Team formed by the local government.
NGOs include the Ecumenical Commission for Displaced Families and Communities (ECDFC), Balik
Kalipay, Balay Inc, CFSI, among others. These NGOs have tapped resources to provide emergency relief
assistance like food, medicines, and shelter. The ECDFC has so far given non-food assistance like jerry
cans and is planning to release all its nonfood supply (plastic sheetings, jerry cans, plastic mats, and
blankets, and soaps previously donated by MSF-Belgium) as well, BUT to a very limited number of
evacuees (about 500 families only). Other agencies like the ICRC are giving about three hundred tents to
the evacuees in the areas while OXFAM is sponsoring construction of water pumps and toilets). It should
be underscored at this point that ECDFC is among the very few NGOs who cover relief missions in these
areas especially in Maguindanao." (ECDFC 13 February 2003)
"In Mindanao, authorities from the ARMM and several affected municipalities expressed their commitment
to effectively address the problem of internal displacement and continue the search for solutions to the
problems experienced by the remaining displaced communities. They acknowledged that they had primary
responsibility to assist and protect their internally displaced populations and establish the necessary
conditions to allow people to return or resettle in safety and in dignity. Particularly noteworthy was the key
role played by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the affected areas, despite
the limited resources available to assist them. Other partners were therefore needed to cooperate in
addressing the needs of the displaced, in particular those affected by the conflict in 2000. DSWD in
coordination with other governmental agencies and local and international NGOs extended services in the
relief and rehabilitation efforts which included shelter, food, housing, sanitation, construction of water
systems, livelihood assistance, solar driers and care services. However, the mission revealed the need to
establish appropriate institutional structures and mechanisms of response within the Government at all
levels (central, regional and local) and for coordination among them in facilitating the shift from emergency
response to implementing durable solutions for the displaced." (CHR 3 February 2003, p. 13)
Municipal Disaster Response Center responds to the needs of the evacuees (February
2003)
•
Municipal Disaster Response Center has nine committees: warehousing; transportation;
communication; finance and logistics; relief distribution; Packing; documentation; monitoring; and
medical.
•
The government's Operation Center has eight committees: transportation: documentation; receiving
and releasing of relief goods; communication; food; medical; agriculture which takes charge of
documenting damaged agricultural crops; and nutrition, which runs the supplemental feedings
106
"At the town plaza here, around 90 persons donning red vests, most of them women aged between 30 and
50, work until late evening to attend to the needs of the evacuees.
They are part of the staff of 150 municipal government employees who have been mobilized by town
Mayor Farida Malingco to help run the Municipal Disaster Response Center.
[...]
The DRT has nine committees: warehousing; transportation; communication; finance and logistics; relief
distribution; Packing; documentation; monitoring; and medical.
'We meet in the morning, meet in the afternoon and stay late in the evening to figure out the things to be
done the following day,' she says.
Learning lessons from the past three wars that sent tens of thousands of civilians to the evacuation centers,
the government, like private organizations here, has also organized its disaster response well.
[…]
Bondoc said the Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council here, whose membership includes
representatives of the church and other NGOs, is more organized now than the previous relief and disaster
operations in the 1997 and 2000 wars.
'All department heads of the municipal government have been instructed to work here,' she said referring to
the operations center they established at the town plaza.
The department heads have been named to head the committees they organized in responding to what she
described as "an emergency and abnormal situation. If the DRT has nine committees to run, the
government's Operation Center has eight: transportation: documentation; receiving and releasing of relief
goods; communication; food; medical; agriculture which takes charge of documenting damaged
agricultural crops; and nutrition, which runs the supplemental feedings." (Mindanaw 25 February 2003)
Minimum standard rates of assistance to displaced persons provided by the DSWD
(October 2001)
•
The DSWD has issued an order to make a uniform rates in providing assistance to victims of disasters,
distressed and displaced individuals and families in crisis situation.
"In consonance with its mandate to formulate standards in the implementation of social welfare and
development (SWD) programs and services by its intermediaries, the DSWD is issuing this Order to make
a uniform rates in providing assistance to victims of disasters, distressed and displaced individuals and
families in crisis situation. This will serve as guide of the DSWD Field Offices, local government units,
nongovernment organizations, people’s organization and civil society in general.
The rate of assistance stated herein shall be the minimum standards which will be subjected to periodic
review and assessment to make it responsive to the current or prevailing situations in the localities or areas
concerned.
These standards shall be construed in the context of the existing guidelines on the implementation of
emergency assistance programs and services issued by the Department.
A. RELIEF ASSISTANCE - pertains to immediate provision of essential services to meet basic needs
which have become unavailable to the people because of calamities and other distressful situations.
107
1. FOOD ASSISTANCE - refers to the provision of timely and appropriate food commodities to victims
of natural or man-made disasters/calamities to help prevent starvation and/or nutritional decline. The
meeting of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of a person as stated hereunder shall be required in
the provision of food assistance. The use of fortified basic commodities and food products with “sangkap
pinoy” seal shall be preferred.
Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
- 2,100 k/cal/adult/day
- 1,740 k/cal/child/day
Micronutrient
Vitamin A
- 12 years old and above = 200,000 I.U.
- Below 12 years old = 100,000 I.U.
1.1. Hot Meal – refers to the provision of a hot-dish to victims during emergency/crisis situations in
evacuation centers or in any needy community. This may be in the form of one or a combination of hot
soup, "champorado",“lugaw/arrozcaldo", noodles, milk, coffee, etc.
The rate of assistance shall be at least P20.00/person/meal.
1.2 Food Ration – refers to the provision of food supplies or cooked food to individuals and families
staying in evacuation centers or in needy communities . Food supplies may come in the form of rice, dried
or fresh fish, mongo, noodles, canned viand, bread, etc.
The rate of assistance shall meet the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of a person which is 2,100
kilocalories/person/day composed of cereals (carbohydrates), pulses – legumes, fish, meat, etc. (protein),
oil (fat) and sugar.
1.3. Supplemental Feeding – refers to the provision of daily meal feeding to moderately and severely (nonmedical) underweight preschool children in evacuation centers or resettlement areas. Carbohydrates and
protein riched food are provided to meet the 1/3 of RDA of a child (580 k/cal) and to improve the child's
nutritional status and help prevent permanent physical and mental retardation. This may be in the form of
"lugaw", vegetables, root crops, milk, mongo, and other locally available food.
The rate of assistance shall be at least P20.00/child/day. This can be continued up to rehabilitation phase on
the basis of need in accordance with Item 4 of Part B of this Order.
2. Non-food Assistance - refers to the provision of limited commodities other than food to respond to the
needs for clothing and domestic requirements of individuals and families affected by fire, landslide, floods,
and other emergency situations who were not able to salvage or carry with them such items during their
evacuation. This may come in the form of clothing, blankets, sleeping mats, tarpaulin, cooking
utensils, etc.
The rate of assistance shall be based on need as assessed by the Social Worker.
3. Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation – refers to the provision of needed interventions to enable
distressed individuals/families cope with crisis which maybe brought about by death, disability, serious
illness, separation, loss of income and other similar occurences. Assistance may be in the form of stress
debriefing, counseling, transportation assistance, medical or hospitalization support/assistance, burial
assistance to bereaved families, subsistence and other financial support.
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The rate of assistance shall be based on the actual cost of transportation using the cheapest means while
burial, subsistence/food and medical assistance shall be based on the assessment of the Social Worker.
B. RESTORATION AND REHABILITATION ASSISTANCE - refers to action taken in the weeks or
months following a disaster to restore basic services to enable the population to return to pre-disaster
condition. Rehabilitation activities are also aiming to provide for rapid restoration of morale of affected
individuals or families.
1. Food-for-Work (FFW)/Cash-for-Work (CFW) – refers to the provision of food or cash to meet the
subsistence requirement of distressed/displaced individuals participating or undertaking preparedness,
mitigation and rehabilitation activities/projects in their communities or in evacuation centers. Activities
which maybe supported with FFW/CFW may include but are not limited to clearing of debris, construction
of core shelter units, repair of damaged shelter units, food production, setting-up or repair of community
facilities such as day care/feeding centers and classrooms, dredging of canals or similar activities.
The rate of assistance shall be a minimum of P100.00/person/day or its equivalent in terms of food.
2. Shelter Assistance
2.1. Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) – refers to the provision of limited financial or material
assistance to augment resources of families in constructing/ repairing damaged houses which were partially
or totally destroyed as a result of natural or man-made disasters.
The rate of assistance shall be based on the assessment of the Social Worker which shall be at a minimum
of P6,000.00/family with totally damaged shelter but are not qualified for core shelter assistance and
P3,000.00/family for those with partially damaged houses.
2.2. Core Shelter Assistance – refers to the provision of an environment friendly, structurally strong shelter
units that can withstand various forces of hazards such as typhoons, earthquakes and flooding using locally
purchased construction materials.
The local government units shall provide a counterpart such as but not limited to land and project site
development, salaries of the foremen, construction equipment/tools, food-for-work among others. The
project also encourages contribution of NGOs, POs, and other groups in the project implementation.
Compliance to the special features of a structurally strong core shelter is required.
The rate of assistance shall be a minimum of P25,000.00/family." (DSWD 26 October 2001)
Socio Economic Programs for Mindanao Armed Conflict Victims
109
Source: Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and
Infornation Center, March 1, 2001
110
International response
European Commission provides €500,000 of humanitarian aid and finances 4 projects
for IDPs in Mindanao (June 2003)
•
EC has allocated €500,000 to help victims of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Mindanao.
•
Funds will provide plastic roofing, mattresses, jerrycans for water and help install/restore latrines and
water pumps for about 31,000 people in the province of Maguindanao.
•
ECHO has provided more than €2.2 million to support people displaced by this armed conflict since
2000.
•
4 projects for IDPs are currently being implemented through the close collaboration of European and
local NGOs in Central Mindanao.
•
The projects serve as a bridge from emergency relief activities undertaken by ECHO for rehabilitation
and development programmes.
"European Commission provides aid for displaced civilians in Mindanao The European Commission (EC)
has recently allocated €500,000 (approximately PhP 3 million) to help victims of the ongoing humanitarian
crisis in Mindanao following renewed fighting between the government and rebel forces seeking
independence there. The armed conflict has resulted in a fresh wave of refugees since February this year.
This humanitarian aid plan will help meet the basic needs of people internally displaced by civil conflict.
The funds will provide plastic roofing, mattresses, jerrycans for water and help install/restore latrines and
water pumps for about 31,000 people in the province of Maguindanao. The assistance is provided by the
Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) and channeled through an NGO. ECHO has provided more than €2.2
million to support people displaced by this armed conflict since 2000. From 1978 – 2002, the EC has
provided over €22.5 million as emergency and humanitarian aid for the Philippines. These funds were
directed to victims of natural disasters, mainly typhoons, floods and earthquakes. Apart from ECHO, the
Philippines has also received assistance through an “Uprooted People” budget line. Since 2001, this budget
has provided €6.7 million (PhP 402 million) to support displaced people in Central Mindanao." (EC 6 June
2003)
"As a result of renewed armed conflict in Mindanao in March 2000, two projects in support of internally
displaced people (IDPs) were committed during the same year. These projects commenced in 2001.
Implementation was ongoing in 2002. Although there were no more widespread emergency needs during
2002, many families did not return home or chose to remain in temporary shelters, because their homes
were destroyed. As a result, two projects that were committed in 2001 amounting to €2.0 million began
implementation in 2002. All four ongoing projects are currently being implemented through the close
collaboration of European and local NGOs in Central Mindanao.
In addition, two other new IDP projects were committed in 2002 amounting to €1.56 million.
Implementation will begin in 2003 (see Annex C for more details). These projects are designed to facilitate
the rehabilitation and reintegration of IDPs into the socio-economic fabric and help them resettle. These
projects serve as a bridge from emergency relief activities undertaken by ECHO for rehabilitation and
development programmes. It is necessary to extend assistance to rebuild the lives of the IDPs in order to
ensure that the stable conditions continue. The interventions planned under these projects include, among
others, agricultural rehabilitation, livelihood assistance, house and school reconstruction, water and
sanitation, health and community pharmacy, psycho-social recovery, co-financing of productive microprojects, and improvement of household food security.
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Activities: Important preparatory activities, such as thorough needs analysis and assessment in close coordination with the local communities, have been undertaken under these projects. Social preparation for
the identified programme beneficiaries in each of the barangays and villages was also undertaken. All of
these preparatory activities, including a good understanding of community dynamics and structures and full
community consultation, are vital for gaining acceptance of the local population and designing projects that
are truly owned and acceptable to the community. " (Delegation of the European Commission to the
Philippines, April 2003, pp. 37-39)
112
UN extends its assistance to IDPs (March 2003)
•
The UN Multi-Donor Programme started out with the aim of assisting in the realization of the Peace
Agreement signed by the GRP and the MNLF in 1996.
•
The programme seeks to strengthen peace and development in Mindanao trough partnership and
institution-building, peace advocacy, and developing the community’s capacity for self-governance
thereby empowering communities to access basic social services, sustain economic enterprise, and
implement livelihood projects.
•
The Reproductive Health component in partnership with the Relief and Rehabilitatio component is
currently assisting the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Cotabato by responding to the health and
medical needs of the evacuees.
•
MDP3 has extended most of its assistance to the IDPs now in different evacuation centers in Pikit and
to the nine municipalities in the Province of Maguindanao.
"THE PROGRAMME
The Multi-Donor Programme Phase 3 or MDP3 is the United Nation’s (UN) commitment towards the
peace process in Southern Philippines. It started out with the aim of assisting in the realization of the Peace
Agreement signed by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro National
Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1996.
113
A champion of world peace, the UN was the first to respond to the provisions of the Peace Agreement
aiming to put a halt to the decades old internal war in Southern Philippines. MDP3 approaches
“Strenghtening of the Foundations of Lasting Peace and Development in Southern Philippines” through
partnership and institution-building, peace advocacy, and developing the community’s capacity for selfgovernance thereby empowering communities to access basic social services, sustain economic enterprise,
and implement livelihood projects (both agriculture-based and off-farm). All these are done while still
swiftly delivering relief and rehabilitation projects to areas where sporadic violent conflicts erupt.
THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH (RH) COMPONENT
This Programme component aims to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life in the Peace and
Development Communities (PDCs) through better Reproductive Health. It has the following objectives: 1)
To increase utilization of adequate, integrated and quality Reproductive Health services by women, men
and adolescents in the PDCs; and 2) To bring about behavioral changes regarding healthy reproductive and
sexual practices through knowledge and counseling services and the provision of gender-sensitive RH
information.
The component has four output areas: 1) provision of quality RH services; 2) enhancement of the technical
capacity of health service providers and community volunteers backstopping the PDCs for the provision of
RH information and services; 3) improved knowledge and awareness among women, men and adolescents
of the PDCs on RH issues and concerns; and 4) enhanced institutional capacity in planning,
implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation of RH programs and IEC and advocacy activities.
As of the end of 2002, the Programme through this component has generated the RH profiles of 96 of its
100 target PDCs; constructed five (5) Barangay Health Stations in partnership with the Project on
Community Enterprise and Entrepreneurial Development component; trained 515 Health Service Providers;
community organizations for RH IEC formed and corresponding IEC plans developed; 90 Muslim
Religious Leaders trained and tapped for IEC activities; and RH plans have been formulated for inclusion
into the Barangay Plans in 61 PDCs.
As part of the GOP- United Nations Multi-Donor Programme, the Reproductive Health component in
partnership with the Relief and Rehabilitatio component is currently assisting the Internally Displaced
Persons (IDPs) in Cotabato by responding to the health and medical needs of the evacuees with the support
of the Provincial Health Office and other organizations like the Veterans’ Federation of the Philippines.
[...]
The MDP3 has extended most of its assistance to the IDPs now in different evacuation centers in Pikit and
to the nine municipalities in the Province of Maguindanao.
PROGRAMME INTERVENTIONS
The Programme interventions are focused on complementing the efforts of the Government and other
humanitarian organizations working in the area. Specifically, it has provided the following:
Mass immunization against measles for 1, 919 and deworming of 260 children in Pikit Evacuation centers.
Monitoring of reproductive health needs of women: there are 91 pregnant women in Pikit Evacuation
Centers; 14 of these women had normal deliveries at the Emergency Relief and Medical Centers attended to
by Rural health Midwives and traditional birth attendants (TBAs) trained by the Programme; two gave birth
through caesarian operation facilitated at the main centers (RHUs) ; and, two cases of abortions caused by
stress and anxieties were also attended to.
Setting-up and maintenance of Emergency Relief and Medical Centers in three of the major evacuation
centers in Pikit. Services include the provision of medicines and medical supplies; mobilization of health
workers who provide medical assistance 24 hours a day; and, linkaging with the Rural Health Units for
cases that need doctors’ attention. To date, the Centers have attended to 9,737 cases. Leading causes of
complaints are: upper and lower respiratory tract infections, skin diseases, diarrhea, infected wounds, and
114
headache and nausea due to inadequate protection from cold and heat in the evacuation centers.There have
been 12 deaths, mostly caused by pneumonia and dehydration secondary to measles and diarrhea. Total
admissions in the medical centers is 123.
Aside from the direct services and goods being delivered by the Programme, it has provided assistance
through the LGUs and the line agencies.To date, it has turned-over a total of 515 sacks of rice to Cotabato
Province; 230 sacks of rice, 88 boxes of sardines, and 122 boxes of noodles to Maguindanao Province, 20
sacks of rice and 60 kilos of dried fish for Sultan Kudarat Province. The Programme is also mobilizing its
partners, the Peace and Development Advocates (PDAs) who are actively assisting in the assessment,
organizing, and goods distribution in the evacuation areas. The PDAs are MNLF members, some of whom
have been combatants but have turned into peace advocates.
APPEAL for ASSISTANCE
The Programme has provided, in its limited capacity: mobilization of its personnel and staff and direct
support in terms of goods, services and utilities to help respond to the situation. Other humanitarian
organizations and the Government have also been actively working in the area to provide assistance to the
IDPs. But the need is overwhelming. The number of IDPs is increasing everyday and there is yet no
indication that they could soon go back to their places of origin and lead normal lives. Humanitarian
assistance received is not adequate to maintain this number of people. The United Nations, through its
various partners and through its Mindanao Programme can provide the system and the direct link to the
intended beneficiaries." (Mindanews 6 March 2003)
Japan to invest 400 million dollars in the ARMM Region (February 2003)
•
Japan has committed 400 million dollars of development assistance to improve living conditions in the
strife-torn southern Philippines over the next five years
"The Japanese government has allotted some 400 million dollars of development assistance to improve
living conditions in the strife-torn southern Philippines over the next five years, officials said Wednesday.
The funds will be poured into the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to finance
infrastructure and social development projects and programs to help ease the impact of insurgency in the
area.
Covering five provinces and one city in the main southern island of Mindanao, the ARMM was set up as
part of a 1996 peace agreement between Manila and the main Muslim separatist group, the Moro National
Liberation Front (MNLF). " (AFP 26 February 2003)
World Bank and governement sign a US$33mio loan agreement to finance
development in the ARMM region (January 2003)
•
WB has committed a US$33.6 million loan for the Philippines' Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao's (ARMM) Social Fund Project.
•
ASFP aims to foster lasting development in ARMM by reducing poverty and supporting activities and
approaches that will promote a peaceful and safe environment in the conflict-affected areas.
•
More than 600 poor and conflict-affected barangays (villages) in 94 municipalities in the ARMM
provinces are expected to benefit.
"The Philippine Government and the World Bank signed yesterday a loan agreement for US$33.6 million
loan for the Philippines' Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao's (ARMM) Social Fund Project.
115
The Project, approved last month by the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors, was signed by
Finance Undersecretary Juanita Amatong and the World Bank's Country Director, Robert Vance Pulley, at
the workshop that launched the Project. ARMM Governor Parouk Hussin and Mary Judd, Task Team
Leader of the Project witnessed the signing ceremony, along with officials from ARMM line agencies, the
Fund Management Office, Japanese donors and other stakeholders.
The ARMM Social Fund for Peace and Development Project (ASFP) aims to foster lasting development in
ARMM by reducing poverty and supporting activities and approaches that will promote a peaceful and safe
environment in the conflict-affected areas. ASFP will cover the ARMM which is at the center of armed
conflict in Mindanao.
[...]
Within the five-year implementation period, more than 600 poor and conflict-affected barangays (villages)
in 94 municipalities in the ARMM provinces are expected to benefit from this project. Some expected
benefits include access to basic social services, such as supply of potable water; improved access to health
clinics and medicine; improved farm-to-market roads; and immediate employment for those who will carry
out the infrastructure. ARMM, consisting of five provinces, one city, 94 municipalities and close to 2,400
barangays (villages), has the highest poverty incidence and the lowest level of quality of life in the
Philippines.
[...]
Specifically, the project will provide:
sustained access to social and economic infrastructure and services by the poor and conflict-affected poor
communities;
capacity building for women, youth and other community groups for improving food security, employment
opportunities and household incomes;
improved social cohesion and partnerships between and within communities in the ARMM region, and
improved local governance, transparency and institutional capacities for implementation in the ARMM
region.
[...]
The Project has also served as a springboard for other donor assistance. Japan through the Japan Bank for
International Cooperation has earlier announced plans to co-finance the Project with funding of about
US$20 million, being made available later in 2003 or early 2004.
The World Bank currently provides loan assistance to 22 government projects with a total net
commitment of around US$1.5 Billion. Out of these 22 projects, 16 have investments or activities in
Mindanao. These 16 projects are mostly directed at providing basic social services to the poor and
improving their living standards. In addition, two projects are exclusive to Mindanao—the Mindanao Rural
Development Program (US$27.5 Million) and the ARMM Social Fund." (WB 21 January 2003)
See also :
"First Mindanao Working Group Meeting Held", WB, 27 March 2003
UN Representative on internal displacement visits the Philippines (November 2002)
•
Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons, Dr. Francis
M. Deng undertook a mission to the Philippines between 6 and 13 November 2002.
•
Mr. Deng sought to explore ways of enhancing national and international responses to the plight of the
internally displaced.
116
"At the invitation of the Government of the Philippines, the Representative of the United Nations
Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons, Dr. Francis M. Deng, undertook a mission to the
Philippines between 6 and 13 November 2002.
With this visit, his first to the country, Dr. Deng aimed to better understand the situation of internal
displacement in the Philippines and to dialogue with the Government at the national, regional and local
levels, civil society, the United Nations country team, the donor community and other international
partners. His mission to the country, which included visits to the affected areas, represented a good
opportunity to explore ways of enhancing national and international responses to the plight of the internally
displaced.
The Representative met with central, regional, and local authorities, including Teofisto Guingona, VicePresident of the Philippines, Blas Ople, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Corazon Juliano-Soliman, Secretary
of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Manuel Dayrit, Secretary of the
Department of Health, Franklin M. Ebdalin Under -Secretary of Foreign Affairs; Maria Lourdes V. Ramiro
Lopez, Assistant Secretary - United Nations Office at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Feliciano Gaziz,
Under-Secretary of the Department of National Defense and other officials from the National Disaster
Coordinating Council, Eduardo B. Ermita, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Maria Merceditas
Gutierrez, Under-Secretary of the Department of Justice and Head of the Presidential Committee on Human
Rights, Purificacion V. Quisumbing, Chairperson of the National Commission on Human Rights, Franklin
Drilon, President of the Senate, Jose de Venecia Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Virginia
Bonoan Dandan, Chairperson of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Dr. Deng visited Mindanao from 8 to 10 November and met with Parouk Hussein, Governor of the
Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Nabil Tan, Executive Secretary of the ARMM
Regional Government, Ibrahim P. Ibay, Speaker of the ARMM, Muslimim Sema, Mayor of Cotabato City
and Hja. Banion G. Karon Secretary of the DSWD-ARMM and the mayors of the municipalities of Barira
and Buldon. He also visited the Barangays of Langcong, Matanog, Tugaig, Kabayuan, Rumadas and
Mataya, in the Maguindanao Province and met with the community leaders and both the still displaced and
the resettled families, with particular attention to the needs of displaced women and children. The
Representative also visited Dhawa Evacuation center near Cotabato City, the only remaining center in the
area for IDPs resulting from the clashes that occurred in 2000 between the Armed Forces of the Philippines
(AFP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The Representative was also briefed by the Armed
Forces in the area on their ongoing activities and operations. He also met with representatives of the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front and discussed with them the situation in general. Back in Manila, the
Representative visited Payatas, a resettlement site, where a number of displaced families have been
resettled, and dialogued with their representatives.
During the mission, the Representative met with the United Nations country team and agencies, as well as
with representatives of the donor community and of non-governmental organizations.
The Representative regrets not to having been able, for security reasons, to visit, Basilan, Sulu and other
areas where operations were reported to be taking place and said to have resulted in more displacement."
(OHCHR, 13 November 2002)
See also:
Report of the Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, Mr. Francis
M. Deng, submitted pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/56, Profiles in
displacement: Philippines, United Nations Commission on Human Rights (CHR), 3 February 2003
117
ICRC's activities in Mindanao (September 2001)
•
ICRC and PNRC worked together to assist some 13,000 families displaced by fighting in Central
Mindanao.
•
ICRC/PNRC assisted some 1,000 families displaced by fighting in Jolo by providing them with
emergency shelter material, digging garbage disposal pits and carrying out disinfection campaigns.
"The ICRC's office in Davao worked closely with the Philippine National Red Cross to assist some 13,000
families displaced by the fighting, supplying them with food and material aid, building latrines,
rehabilitating water-supply systems and monitoring health conditions in some of the evacuation centres.
Taking advantage of the government's preoccupation with the MILF in Mindanao, the communist New
People's Army and breakaway groups continued their struggle, stepping up small-scale attacks on police
and military targets in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.
Following the series of kidnappings perpetrated by the ASG, in September President Estrada declared "allout war" on the guerrilla group and a military campaign was launched against its members on the island of
Jolo. Air attacks and heavy mo rtar shelling in rebel territory resulted in an unknown number of civilian
casualties, and hundreds of civilians were displaced. Together with the Philippine Red Cross, the ICRC
assisted about 1,000 families who took refuge in evacuation centres and public buildings on the island,
distributing emergency shelter materials, digging garbage disposal pits and carrying out disinfection
campaigns to ward off disease." (ICRC 4 September 2001)
ICRC has been present in the Philippines and Mindanao for many years. It has always responded quickly
to displacement situation. The form of assistance varied according to the needs of the displaced, but it
generally included goods of first necessity (mattresses, plastic sheetings, cooking pots, jerry cans for water,
clothes, etc.) that the displaced could bring with them upon their return. ICRC also brings financial
backing for the medical treatment of wounded civilians. The food assistance is taken care of by the
governmental agencies. (ICRC, 6 June 2000)
UNDP supports reintegration of the internally displaced in Mindanao (June 2001)
•
Australian government to committ US$ 7.7 mio to help finance third phase of GOP-UN Multi-Donor
Programme for Mindanao started in May 2001..
•
UNDP to serve as administrative agent to receive and administer funds provided by donors to the
programme as a whole.
•
UNDP provides technical assistance on peace building and conflict prevention, and coordinates
emergency relief operations.
•
Within the 1997-2001 cooperation framework, UNDP is supporting peace and development initiatives
in post-conflict areas in Mindanao
"The ongoing hostage crisis and renewed military offensive notwithstanding, the United Nations and donor
countries have agreed to continue their support for the government's peace and development efforts in
Mindanao, and provide emergency relief assistance to civilians displaced by the armed conflict.
"Recent events are deathly reminder of how difficult and long that quest has been and what remains to be
achieved in securing sustainable peace and development in Southern Philippines," said Terence Jones, UN
System Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative.
He continued, "Such setbacks may be useful signals in calling forward new levels of commitment and
effort from all concerned with building on the foundations of peace and development."
118
The UNDP and the Australian government signed an agreement wherein the latter committed an additional
US$7.7 million to help finance the third phase of the GOP-UN Multi-Donor Programme for Mindanao.
The amount constitutes almost one-third of the total project cost of US$25.7 million, which the UN and
donor countries have committed in a cost-sharing agreement intended to cover the third phase of the
programme. Aside from Australia, New Zealand is also one of the donors.
The third phase provides for stakeholder participation in its management. It particularly involves the
government under the direction of INTERACT, local governments, SPCPD, MNLF, and other communities
along with the international community.
Began last May, this phase aims to strengthen the foundations for lasting peace and development in
Southern Philippines through capacity development and confidence building at all levels of government -community, local, regional, and national, to achieve the overall goal of sustained peace.
Jones said, 'We are consistently supporting long term efforts to put in place a suitable enabling
environment, effective governance capacities, and sustainable investments in livelihoods and basic social
services.' He further stressed that, 'The United Nations fully support the peace and development policies of
the present government.'
Total resources contributed by the UN and other donors for the first and second phases of the project
amounted to approximately US$10 million, of which US$4 million came from UNDP. The UNDP has been
designated to serve as administrative agent to receive and administer funds provided by donors to the
programme as a whole.
The UNDP provides technical assistance on peace building and conflict prevention, and coordinates
emergency relief operations, one component of the multi-donor programme.
Following the signing of a peace agreement between the government and the Moro National Liberation
Front (MNLF) in 1996, the UN entered in an agreement with the GOP to assist in the peace-building efforts
in Mindanao.
The programme has played a significant role in nurturing peace, while improving living conditions and
capacities of MNLF combatants and their families. However, three years of assistance have been
inadequate for rebuilding confidences and mainstreaming." (UNDP 14 June 2001)
"In response to the Government's special focus on peace-building and development in Mindanao in the
wake of a peace agreement between the Government and a secessionist movement, UNDP will extend
special support, with co-financing programmes with other donors, on the following: reintegration of the
internally displaced and demobilized combatants and their families; strengthening of structures and
government capacity for policy coordination, development planning and management and resource/aid
coordination ; programme packaging for human resources development; support to civil society efforts to
integrate peace and development; and support for Bangsamoro women's efforts to advance women's
activities for peace and development in Mindanao. Assistance to Mindanao will also be developed and
supported through the core thematic areas of UNDP." (UNDP, 1997)
References to the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement
119
Known references to the Guiding Principles as of February 2003
•
Reference to the Guiding Principles in the national legislation
•
Other References to the Guiding Principles (in chronological order)
•
Availability of the Guiding Principles in local languages
•
Training on the Guiding Principles (in chronological order)
Reference to the Guiding Principles in the national legislation
"The Representative was impressed by the commitment of the authorities to make use of the Guiding
Principles in the formulation of policies and legislation addressing the problem of internal displacement.
He was also pleased to learn, during his meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, that a
number of resolutions had been submitted calling for the observance of international humanitarian law.
In addition, he learned that several training courses on the Guiding Principles had been carried out,
including for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and that organizations working in the affected
areas were also promoting their application by insurgent groups. Various organs of the Government,
such as the Department of Foreign Affairs, the DSWD, the Senate and the House of Representatives, all
expressed interest in convening a national meeting on internal displacement and the Guiding Principles.
In discussions with the authorities, the need to address the issues of displacement and migration through
cooperation among the countries of the region was also stressed. In this connection, the Representative
expressed his support for the initiative of the Government to consider the possibility of convening a
regional seminar on good practices in addressing internal displacement." (CHR 3 February 2003, p. 16)
Sources: CHR
Date: 3 February 2003
Documents: Report of the Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, Mr.
Francis M. Deng, submitted pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/56, Profiles in
displacement: Philippines, United Nations Commission on Human Rights (CHR), 3 February 2003
Efforts by NGO to have the House of Representatives adopt a resolution in favour of the UNGPID:
"[Here is ] the text of the resolution we lobbied at the Committee on Civil, Political and Human Rights at
the House of Representatives in Quezon City. The House Resolution No. 449 is entitled "Resolution
urging the Philippine Government to adopt in full the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal
Displacement as a concrete step in the promotion and protection of human rights in the country." The
resolution was formally filed by Congressman Roseller Barinaga last Wednesday February 27, 2002.
A resolution with the same content and title has been approved at the same committee of the house of
representatives on December 4, 2000. This has been a product of the NRC-ECDFC training in the
Philippines held in November 1999. The original resolution was filed through Congressman Barinaga,
Congresswoman Etta Rosales and Congressman Dilangalen. After the Congress of the Philippines
changed to a new leadership middle of last year, we learned that the previous resolution should be re-filed
again.
On Friday at 2 pm, Congressman Barinaga will have a privilege speech at the House of Representatives
regarding the resolution. Also, he will talk about the bill we filed at the Congress which he also
sponsored.
The House Bill No. 4462 entitled "An Act providing for reasonable compensation and benefits for the loss
120
of lives, injuries and damages to property suffered by non-combatant individuals in the course of
operations by the military, police and/or other law enforcement agencies and for other purposes" was filed
together with the House resolution. We also sent out copies of the resolution to member of the Philippines
Senate to encourage them to file/come up with as similar/parallel legislations." (ECDFC 8 March 2002)
Sources: ECDFC
Date: 8 March 2002
Documents: E-mail to NRC by ECDFC Official, 8 March 2002
Other References to the Guiding Principles (in chronological order)
Dissemination of the Guiding Principles: "On November 21, we shall be launching the Cebuano and
Filipino translations of the Handbook on Applying the Guiding Principles in Davao city. The UN
Information Office in Manila is our partner for this activity. We shall replicate this in Midsayap in Central
Mindanao and in Zamboanga City.
Balay has initiated a signature campaign to call the Arroyo government to adopt the UNGPID. We have
also obtained the resolutions of at least five conflict-affected villages in North Cotabato whose official
have endorsed the UNGPID. These villages are part of the space for peace rehabilitation project where
Balay is one of the partner-NGO. Our contribution is in raising awareness on IDPs rights, psychosocial
healing of traumatized persons and families, livelihood and education support for survivors, youth
development, disaster management training and peace advocacy.
Another resolution was also passed by the Provincial Government of Cotabato supporting a bill in
Congress for the passage of a law indemnifying victims of forced displacement. Religious leaders, such as
priests and bishops, community folks, educators, members of various NGOs, peoples organizations
(Lumads, Muslims and Christians) have supported our signature campaign. I have talked to Vice President
Guingona and gave him a copy of UNGPID and a briefing paper on internal displacement. He said that he
will look into the documents and study if the government could move for its adoption. A good news is that
the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has referred to human rights and
international humanitarian law as their framework for relief and rehabilitation of conflict-affected areas.
Balay has also initiated two regional consultation-workshops in Central Mindanao and Southern Mindanao
in an attempt to come up with a proposed legislation and other advocacy actions for human rights
protection of displaced families and communities. We are also behind filing of a resolution in the National
Anti Poverty Commission for the government to adopt UNGPID." (Balay 30 October 2002)
"The UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (UNGPID) is gaining attention and acceptance in
strife-torn areas in Mindanao. Our institution, Balay, has produced a primer (Tagalog and English versions)
on the phenomenon of displacement and the rights of those affected. They have been distributed in
evacuation centers; some copies were sent to government authorities and NGOs. We also held workshops
on IDPs rights among the evacuees, and developed a trainor's pool to reach out to more IDPs. Just recently,
we were asked by the UNDP in Mindanao to provide the inputs on IDP's rights in the formulation of
disaster management plans of local government units. A position paper of civil society organizations
addressed
to the peace panel of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was based on the
UNGPID." (Balay 12 November 2001)
121
"National NGOs also have been active in promoting and applying the Guiding Principles in their country
context. In the Philippines, for example, the Ecumenical Commission for Displaced Families and
Communities (ECDFC) has reproduced the Principles in booklet form in order to facilitate their
dissemination and convened a forum discussion on them in December 1998 for representatives of NGOs,
relevant Government offices and international agencies to discuss their implementation." (Bagshaw, Simon
February 2000, p. 36)
Sources: Balay & ECDFC
Date: 2002
Documents:
Balay Module on Basic Human Rights Orientation Course and the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons
(IDP), Balay, 13 March 2001 [Internal link]
Practical Guide in Promoting the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Balay, March 2001
[Internal link]
Use of the Guiding Principles to advocate of behalf of IDPs: "Ghadzali Jaafar, vice chair of the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Central Committee, has accepted the proposal of the Mindanao Tripeople's Caucus (MTC) for the government and the MILF to consider a bilateral withdrawal of armed
groups from conflict-afflicted areas.
MTC convenor Gus Miclat said such a step would be significant in relation to relief and rehabilitation
efforts on the ground as the government and the MILF enter a third round of formal peace talks in Kuala
Lumpur by the end of this month.
Miclat, also executive director of the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), said Jaafar and other
MILF representatives in a meeting with the MTC last Saturday somewhere in Cotabato City welcomed
the group's position on the withdrawal of armed groups from conflict-affected areas 'as mandated by the
implementing guidelines on the security aspect of the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement of Peace.'
In its position paper, MTC also urged both parties to abide by the agreement on the cessation of armed
clashes in the light of the ceasefire agreement which both groups forged last month.
'We express our utmost concern over the reported violations of the ceasefire agreement and strongly
urged both panels to hold on to the shaky t ruce that you just forged last month,' the MTC said.
Miclat said a similar proposal was raised by the MTC to the GRP peace panel headed by President
Assistant for Mindanao Jesus Dureza.
He said the MTC also asked the MILF-GRP panels to consider the safe return of evacuees to their place
of origin.
'We believe that the normalization of the situation calls for the immediate repositioning of all armed
groups from indigenous peoples communities and for these former battle zones to be cleared of mines and
unexploded ammunition,' the MTC in a press statement said.
The MTC further said it strongly supports the desire of the IDPs not to remain in resettlement areas but to
return in their places of origin where their homes, farms and livelihood are located.
The MTC according to Miclat has based their positions on the United Nations Guiding Principles on
Internal Displacement (UNGPID) adopted in 1998 by the 54th Session of the United Nations and on
recent consultations with the evacuees and the relief and rehabilitation groups.
122
'They (referring to the MILF Central Committee members) were very open to our concerns. They
committed to open lines with the MTC as they welcome our thrust towards the grassroots' active
participation in the ongoing peace talks. They were open to establish hot lines between them and us,'
Miclat said.
The MTC also asked the government and MILF panels to recognize and respect peace-building initiatives
that have resulted to 'spaces for peace,' 'peace sanctuaries' and other similarly demilitarized areas.
It further called for Local Monitoring Teams (LMTs) to monitor compliance of the ceasefire agreement
and the government's commitment to develop conflict-affected communities. Judy Q. Merquita"
(Mindanao Daily Mirror 15 September 2001).
Sources: Mindanao Tri-people's Caucus (MTC)
Date: 2001
Documents:
"MTC Position Paper on Relief and Rehabilitation", MTC, 17 October 2001
Availability of the Guiding Principles in local languages
The Guiding Principles have been translated into three Philippine languages (Maguindanaon, Tagalog and
Cebuano) by the Ecumenical Commission for Displaced Families and Communities (ECDFC), United
Nations Information Center (UNIC) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Sources: ECDFC, UNIC and UNHCR
Date: 2001
Documents:
UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement in Maguidanaon, pdf 35 kb
UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement in Tagalog, pdf 40 kb
UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement in Cebuano, pdf 40 kb
Training on the Guiding Principles
NRC training workshop: A training-workshop on the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement
was held in Quezon City, Philippines, from November 22 to 24, 1999. It was organized by the
Ecumenical Commission for Displaced Families and Communities (ECDFC), in cooperation with the
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
Participants numbered about 38, primarily, from non-government organizations and agencies servicing
the needs of internally-displaced families; secondly, representatives of government agencies and the
military, thirdly, some members of internally-displaced communities, and fourthly, a representative of a
Muslim group currently engaged in armed struggle and political negotiations with the Philippine
government.
Sources: Local/national NGOs, local and national authorities
Date: November 22-24, 1999
Documents:
Workshop on the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement: Quezon City, Philippines 22-24,
November 1999, NRC, 1999
123
Coordination
Response to internal displacement coordinated by the National Disaster Coordinating
Council (February 2003)
•
National Coordinating Council (NDCC) coordinates the actions of the other relevant bodies such as the
DSWD, the Office of Civil Defence (OCD), the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRD), the regional
and the local governments.
•
Govt efforts have focused on strenghtening the coordination of activities in the transition from
emergency response to long-term solutions.
•
Brunt of relief efforts carried out by local government & provincial offices of DSWD, with the
participation of local and international NGOs.
•
More than half of government assistance channelled through the DSWD.
"During his discussions with the authorities, he [the UN Representative on Internal Displacement] was
briefed on the Government’s efforts to address internal displacement. These efforts have focused on the
displacement resulting from the conflict in Mindanao as well as on strengthening the coordination of
activities in the transition from emergency response to the search for durable solutions for the displaced. He
was also briefed on the mechanisms in place to respond to displacement through the National Coordinating
Council (NDCC), which coordinates the actions of the other relevant bodies such as the DSWD, the Office
of Civil Defence (OCD), the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRD), the regional and the local
governments. The authorities, in particular the Secretary of the
DSWD, informed the Representative about their efforts to facilitate the voluntary return or resettlement of
persons displaced by the armed conflict in Mindanao as well as on mediation and reconciliation efforts
aimed at enabling the reintegration of former combatants. The DSWD also was active in providing relief
and rehabilitation assistance to victims of natural disasters as well as in providing technical assistance to
local government units in the delivery of social services." (CHR 3 February 2003, p. 12)
"At the national level, the relief effort is being coordinated by the National Disaster Coordination Council
(NDCC). In a meeting with selected donors and NGOs, the NDCC recently convened Operation “Tulong
Kapatid” (Help our Brothers), where government apprised donors and civil society on the status of relief
efforts and a framework for humanitarian responses.
At the local level, relief efforts are being coordinated by the provincial office of the Dept of Social Welfare
and Development (DSWD). Majority of relief efforts are being undertaken by the local government & the
provincial offices of the DSWD. Relief efforts are also being undertaken by local and international NGOs,
the UN, Libyan Non-Government organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The relief package provided by these organizations consists largely of rice, sardines, packs of noodles with
salt, sugar, dried fish, bread and pastries. Other organizations also provide for supplementary nutrients for
children." (UN, 6 June 2000)
124
"The government has already extended assistance amounting to P62.084M in food, medical and other relief
assistance through the following agencies:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
NDCC, P10.246M
Office of the President, P8.098M
Department of Welfare and Development, P34.883M
Department of Health, P4.261M
Local Government Units (LGUs), P2.694M
Other Governmental agencies/NGOs, P1.902M"
(PNRC, 7 June 2000)
Government "takes note of the activitation" of the Bangsamoro Development Agency
(BDA) (March 2003)
•
During explanatory peace talks in March 2003, the governement has acknowledged the activation of
the BDA as the project implementing body of the MILF tasked to “determine, lead and manage”
rehabilitation and development efforts in the conflict-affected areas.
•
MILF seeks government's recognition of the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) created in
accordance with the May 7, 2002 Agreement signed by the MILF and the GRP.
•
The BDA is the MILF's project implementing body tasked to "determine, lead and manage
rehabilitation and development projects in the areas affected by the conflict.
“A breakthrough in the efforts to put back on track the stalled peace negotiations,” was how government
peace panel chair Jesus Dureza described the results of the exploratory talks with the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on March 27 and 28, where the parties agreed to
“exercise mutual restraint to minimize, if not put and end to, violence in Mindanao.”
[…]
Dureza led a government delegation to the exploratory talks with the MILF in Kuala Lumpur where a ninepoint joint statement was signed on March 28. But the two parties agreed to release copies of the statement
today (Sunday), after handing over copies to their respective principals - President Arroyo for the
government and the Central Committee for the MILF.
[…]
The parties agreed to “exercise mutual restraint to minimize, if not put and end to, violence in Mindanao.”
The fourth item provides that to “normalize the situation and facilitate the early return of evacuees to their
places of origin and allow rehabilitation to proceed, a new arrangement on the ground will be forged by the
parties.”
This was immediately followed by the item which states that the Philippine government “takes note of the
activation of the Bangsamoro Development Agency.”
[…]
The BDA is the project implementing body of the MILF tasked to “determine, lead and manage”
rehabilitation and development efforts in the conflict-affected areas, “except when public funds are
involved, in which case Government procedures and rules will be observed.”
On February 20, four days after Maj. Gen. Generoso Senga told reporters during a tour of Buliok Complex,
that the war “is over.” President Arroyo announced that an oil palm plantation will soon rise in Buliok,
Complex, Liguasan Marsh.
125
Tasked by the President to work out a “comprehensive peace and development program” in Buliok was
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Eduardo Ermita, who signed as witness to the May 7, 2002
communique with the MILF, on the rehabilitation efforts through the project implementing body, the BDA.
The parties also agreed to direct their technical committees to meet within two weeks to work on the
implementing guidelines of the controversial May 6, 2002 Joint Communique “to ensure that the peace
process is not adversely affected by the presence of criminal groups in Mindanao.”
The parties also agreed to “improve the existing mechanism for monitoring of the cessation of hostilities
including the composition of an observer/monitoring group” as provided for in the Tripoli Agreement of
2001.
The existing mechanism is the Local Monitoring Team. An earlier plan to have a monitoring team from the
Organization of the Islamic Conference, which has been brokering the peace talks since the 1970s, has not
been implemented.
The ninth item expressed the parties’ gratitude to Malaysia for hosting and facilitating the exploratory talks.
"The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has recommended the drafting of an executive order that
would "mention and recognize the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) as an institution to be
provided with all assistance that the government entities can be provided."
The BDA was created in accordance with the May 7, 2002 Agreement signed by MILF peace panel chair
Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim and government backroom negotiator Norberto Gonzales in Putrajaya, Malaysia.
The BDA is the MILF's project implementing body tasked to "determine, lead and manage rehabilitation
and development projects in the areas affected by the conflict."
The BDA, according to the Agreement, "will have the power and function to receive and disburse private
and government funds" provided that "pertinent Government rules and procedures would be followed in
case of the latter." (Mindanews 18 December 2002)
See also:
"MILF to determine, lead, manage rehab and dev't projects in conflict areas", Mindanews, 12 May 2002
Implementing Guidelines on the Humanitarian, Rehabilitation and Development Aspects of the GRP-MILF
Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001, GRP-MILF, 7 May 2002
Confusion over Interact-Mindanao's role in rehabilitation of IDPs (September 2001)
•
Clarity is needed as to which governmental entity will have responsability for the coordination of relief
and rehabilitation of the Mindanao displaced.
•
In September 2001, President Arroyo announced that Interact-Mindanao was usurping some of the
functions of the ARMM and that furthermore its rehabilitation component could be better handled by
the DSWD and the NDCC.
•
In March 2001 Interact-Mindanao was established by President Arroyo with the task to coordinate,
integrate and implement the overall relief, rehabilitation and community-based development efforts.
"In late September 2001, President Arroyo announced INTERACT-
126
Mindanao would be abolished.
CFSI response included: efforts at various levels to clarify the status of INTERACT-Mindanao as well as
its successor vis -à-vis the coordination of the overall relief and rehabilitation efforts; continued cooperation
with INERACT-Mindanao in the absence of a written Executive Order abolishing it; and enhanced
cooperation with line ministries and LGUs responsible for various relief and rehabilitation activities.
CFSI recommends: collaborative effort to achieve clarity as to which GRP entity has or wil have the
responsability for the coordination of relief, rehabilitation, and development efforts in the conflict-affected
areas of Mindanao; and advocacy to ensure that the coordinating body has both the necessary authority and
resources to carry out its tasks and responsabilities." (CFSI October 2001)
"President Arroyo ordered yesterday the abolition of some Mindanao-based relief and development
agencies, saying the government would focus funds and resources only on bodies created by law. Presiding
over the inauguration of the long-delayed Malitubog-Maridagao (Mal-Mar) irrigation project in North
Cotabato, Mrs. Arroyo said that many inter-agency bodies were redundant. One powerful agency, Interact
Mindanao, has even usurped some of the functions of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao
(ARMM), she pointed out.
Interact Mindanao rehabilitates evacuees and war refugees, tasks that could be handled by either the
Department of Social Welfare and Development and the National Disaster Coordinating Council, Mrs.
Arroyo noted.
'Anyway, its initial funding of P30 million came only from the President’s social fund. And there is not
much more to be spent,' she stressed.
Other inter-agency bodies facing the axe are the Mindanao Coordinating Council, the Basilan Task Force,
the Sulu Task Force and the Central Mindanao Development Task Force." (The Manila Times 23
September 2001)
"President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has issued Executive Order No. 2 creating an interagency committee
for relief, rehabilitation and development of areas affected by armed conflicts in Mindanao.
(…)
"The reconstruction of the peace process, hand-in-hand with immediate relief, rehabilitation and
community-based development efforts in the areas affected by armed conflicts is an expressed policy of the
incumbent Administration," the President said.
The Committee, which is referred to by the President as INTERACT- Mindanao, is tasked to coordinate,
integrate, and implement the overall relief, rehabilitation and community-based development efforts for
areas affected by armed conflict in Mindanao.
The President designated Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Eduardo Ermita as chairperson of the
committee and Presidential Adviser on Regional Development Paul Dominguez as vice chairman with the
following as members:
Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority; Secretaries of National Defense,
Interior and Local Government, Agrarian Reform, Agriculture, Health, Public Works and Highways,
Education, Culture and Sports, Social Welfare and Development and Budget and Management; Lead
Convenor of the National Anti-Poverty Commission; chairman of the Housing and Urban Development
Coordinating Council; chairman of the Mindanao Economic Development Council; chairman of the
Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development; Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao; and the Presidential Assistant for Special Concerns.
127
Under E.O. No. 2, the President also tasked the INTERACT-Mindanao to perform the following functions:
Conduct an immediate inventory of all relief, rehabilitation and development efforts in Mindanao;
Update existing data on, and determine the status of the evacuee situation in the areas affected by armed
conflicts, including but not limited to: the number of families involved, their current location and living
conditions, their places of origin and their most immediate needs;
Coordinate, prioritize and synchronize all plans, programs, and projects of all government agencies and
instrumentalities involved in relief, rehabilitation and community-based development of areas affected by
armed conflicts in Mindanao;
Ensure that all plans, programs and activities for relief, rehabilitation and community-based development of
areas affected by armed conflict support and contribute to the overall goals of the comprehensive peace
process, including addressing the root causes of armed conflicts; consensus-building and consultation;
peace education and advocacy;
Consistent with the goals of the peace process, ensure the participation of peace partners and the larger civil
society, and promote tri-people welfare and solidarity in the relief, rehabilitation and development efforts;
Enlist the participation and assistance of any office or instrumentality of government in the performance of
its functions for the relief, rehabilitation and community-based development of areas affected by armed
conflicts in Mindanao;
Through appropriate government agencies, coordinate with the international donor community in the relief,
rehabilitation and community-based development efforts in Mindanao;
Monitor and evaluate the implementation of all plans, programs and projects for the relief, rehabilitation
and development efforts, and submit regular status reports to the President of the same; and
Perform such other functions as may be directed by the President.
President Macapagal-Arroyo said the secretariat support for INTERACT-Mindanao shall be provided by
the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCO) Presidential Assistant for Southern Mindanao.
She said the initial funding for the operations of INTERACT-Mindanao in the amount of P5 million shall
be sourced from the President's Contingent Fund and released to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on
the Peace Process (OPAPP) and appropriations for its succeeding years shall be incorporated in the budget
of the OPAPP and funding for the implementation of relief, rehabilitation and development projects by
individual agencies shall be drawn from their respective appropriations.
All Executive Orders, rules and regulations and other issuances, or parts thereof, which are inconsistent
with Executive Order No. 2 are hereby repealed or modified accordingly, the President added." (PHNO 5
March 2001)
Mindanao Coordinating Council (MCC) places under the President all agencies and
bodies charged with relief and rehabilitation (August 2000)
•
Mindanao Coordinating Council (MCC) and Presidential Task Force for Relief and Rehabilitation set
up by government to strengthen rehabilitation programmes for IDPs.
•
MCC places all relief and rehabilitation agencies under the President's authority.
128
•
President has sought emergency powers from the Congress. House Bill 11833 or the Mindanao Crisis
Bill allows for restricting opposition to government projects.
"To strengthen the rehabilitation programmes, government has organized the Mindanao Coordinating
Council, and within it the Presidential Task Force for Relief and Rehabilitation. It has also approved
budgets for programmes in Mindanao. Debate and discussion is also ongoing on legislation that will grant
emergency powers to the President for Mindanao.
(…)
The Mindanao Coordinating Council resolves institutional ambiguities and confusion over coordination,
by placing under the President all agencies and bodies charged with relief and rehabilitation. Including civil
society and private sector representatives, the MCC has the power to:
Coordinate, prioritize and synchronize all plans, programs and projects of all government agencies and
instrumentalities involved in the rehabilitation of Mindanao, specifically in the areas affected by the
conflict;
Facilitate and orchestrate the accelerated implementation of plans, programs and projects, including those
sourced from Official Development Assistance Programs, for the rehabilitation of Mindanao;
Facilitate the mobilization of resources earmarked for the rehabilitation of Mindanao;
Direct any office, agency or instrumentality of the government to expeditiously execute its functions to
attain the objective of rehabilitating Mindanao;
Promote private sector involvement in the implementation of all Mindanao rehabilitation plans, programs
and projects of government agencies and instrumentalities; and
Monitor and evaluate the implementation of all plans, programs and projects for the rehabilitation of
Mindanao of all government agencies and instrumentalities.
The President has mandated the Mindanao Coordinating Council to ensure the participation of MEDCO,
SPCPD and ARMM, as coordinating, monitoring and validating arms in Mindanao. The Council is assisted
by a technical committee chaired by NEDA
In addition to the institutions created by the President to strengthen government’s response to the
rehabilitation needs of Mindanao. The President has sought emergency powers from the Congress. House
Bill 11833 or the Mindanao Crisis Bill includes provisions that:
ban strikes
prohibit courts from issuing temporary restraining orders against government projects;
suspend social programs
declare tax holidays and economic zones
overrule, by executive order, actions or resolutions passed or undertaken by the different authorities, offices
and agencies in Mindanao during the period of emergency.
adopt, in lieu of negotiated contract provisions, government's electronic billboard system for all public
bidding and other requirements in the implementation of construction projects
(…)
The President recently constituted the Presidential Executive Task Force for Relief and Rehabilitation of
Central Mindanao. Comprising undersecretaries from TESDA, DSWD, DAR, DA, NHA, DBM, DILG and
the PIA, the task force reports directly to the President and is mandated to:
expedite the implementation of short-to-medium term programmes and projects
facilitate and ensure effective recovery and rehabilitation of families displaced by the armed conflict in
Central Mindanao
prepare a masterplan of operations defining the specific target areas and families, integrated programmes
and services to be delivered
129
constitute and ensure functionality of sub-task forces that were organized to streamline evacuation center
operations, meet the minimum basic needs in rehabilitation, secure production and marketing, organize
housing and infrastructure rehabilitation, ensure community-based livelihood and enterprise development,
secure financing support, restore and strengthen governance systems, address information, communication
and education needs
constitute technical and operations action team composed of staff of member agnecies
formulate a monitoring and evaluation system
ensure availability of resources
mobilize and generate resources from the private sector
ensure integration of sustainability of programmes in national and local government plans
ensure proper and appropriate dissemination of information
The Presidential Task Force is working closely with the Technical Secretariat of the Mindanao
Coordinating Council in appraising community needs and formulating government’s response. " (Office of
the Resident Coordinator 7 August 2000)
Selected NGO activities
Tabang Mindanaw conducts a integrated emerge ncy health management programme
for IDPs (May 2003)
•
Tabang Mindanaw implements a programme called the Integrated Emergency Health Management
Program (IEHMP).
•
The IEHMP initiates rehabilitation at the time of initial emergency by identifying actual gaps and
mobilizing the communities to manage their own health care delivery system
•
Tabang Mindanao and its partner is currently training would-be health workers who are not
professionals but are evacuees themselves.
•
The cornerstone of the project is the training of local volunteers for health care delivery and
identification of sectoral gaps at the evacuation centers.
"After the medical mission, the doctor said, they proposed to and the Philippines-Canada Development
Fund that health tents be built in all major evacuation centers here to fully monitor the health status of the
evacuees. The program is called Integrated Emergency Health Management Program (IEHMP).
With the health tents are play centers for the children.
The tents and play centers were built in Batulawan, Buisan (warehouse), Mahad Port Pikit, Macabual, all in
Pikit town and Galakit in Pagalungan town, Maguindanao.
Mendoza said that the program sets a precedent in the implementation of integrated rehabilitation in an
emergency situation primarily because of its integrated emergency health management approach.
'In the initial stage of an emergency, relief services are usually carried out to sustain the internally displaced
communities' basic needs while rehabilitation starts much later. The IEHMP initiates rehabilitation at the
time of initial emergency by identifying actual gaps and mobilizing the communities to manage their own
health care delivery system,' Mendoza said.
Tents
130
The tents, although not really "tents," are built sturdier to withstand the heavy rains pouring in Mindanao,
Mendoza said.
The tents are made of nipa and kalakat. It is a spacious building with two rooms, an isolation room and
treatment room, and another wider room for referrals. The play center is also made of the same light
materials but is a smaller version of the health tent.
The objectives of the tents are:
• to prevent deaths and sickness in the evacuation sites through the provision of nutritional support to
children under five, pregnant women, lactating mothers and the elderly who are the most vulnerable among
the whole population; a supplemental feeding program for the same beneficiaries will be implemented
while the severely malnourished children and adults will be referred to other places for therapeutic feeding.
• to correct moderate malnutrition and prevent more malnutrition in the internally displaced communities.
• to furnish children with space for recreational and educational activities and to reduce stress among
children caused by displacement and neglect.
• to serve as a venue for training local community health workers on primary health care strategies. It will
also be a center for community health education and advocacy of rational drug use, personal hygiene and
community sanitation.
Mendoza said that the strategy of the health tents revolves around the concept of primary health care
intervention. Prevention will be promoted, rationalizing every aspect of health delivery, and training will be
given the personnel on the front lines for an eventual community service program.
'Our approach is anticipatory and participatory,' the doctor also said.
'We were expecting that many evacuees will die, at least we're prepared for it. In any disaster, the most
important response is preparedness not only (on) the resources,' he added.
The Inquirer found that Tabang Mindanao and its partner is currently training would-be health workers who
are not professionals but are evacuees themselves.
After the short training, they will be manning the health tents and play centers.
The doctor said that while the trainees do not have technical knowledge about health care -- some of them
can barely read and write -- their domestic experiences and gained knowledge from the training can help
them carry out health services to their fellow evacuees.
The trainees were made to create a "problem map" where they identify the problems that are confronting
them right now and would allow them to later craft possible solutions to these problems.
'The cornerstone of the project is the training of local volunteers for health care delivery and identification
of sectoral gaps at the evacuation centers. The central role of the evacuee aims to approximate the preevacuation independence vis -a-vis situations where psychosocial breakdowns and dole-out systems of relief
exist,' Mendoza said.
Training
The doctor said they are training the evacuees because the evacuees have to be part of the program.
'Tabang Mindanaw is just playing the facilitator's role,' he said.
131
Mendoza also noted that since illness is the result of any gap in sectoral interventions, the community
health workers would be at the forefront of camp management against the typical role of a support service,
which takes this factor as secondary in nature.
'But these health workers, while they could help the implementation of the program, more professional
health workers, like doctors, are badly being sought,' Mendoza said.
Now, there are only three doctors attending to the needs of the evacuees here, one of whom oversees the
implementation of the program." (The Inquirer 25 May 2003)
See also:
Tabang Mindanaw emergency humanitarian relief and rehabilitation assistance for internally
displaced persons in armed conflict areas and victims of natural disasters in Mindanao, Assistance
for 2003 as of 22 May 2003, Tabang Mindanaw
VSO supports the livelihood of the displaced in Mindanao (2003)
•
VSO's programme provides a wide range of development services with a focus on disadvantaged
groups and geographical areas.
•
Through the TOSCADAR programme, VSO contributes to livelihood and economic resilience,
emotional recovery and peace-building initiatives among displaced populations.
"VSO’s Philippines programme focuses on developing capacity in community-based natural resources,
improving quality of life for women, improving livelihoods for disadvantaged groups through small
enterprise development and increasing access to quality education for the deaf. We target placements that
increase the overlap of our work in different sectors, for example volunteers working in small enterprise
development with women's groups. In addition, volunteers in all skill areas are asked to incorporate gender
awareness into their work. We promote networking and cooperation between placements, non-government
organisations (NGOs) and local government units and prioritise geographically disadvantaged areas.
VSO Philippines is taking part in an EU-funded programme, TOSCADAR (Technical and Organisational
Skills for Civil Society Action for the Displaced at At-Risk Communities) in Mindanao. The programme
responds to the needs of these communities (especially their women and children) following the recent
upsurge of conflict in Mindanao by contributing to livelihood and economic resilience, emo tional recovery
and peace-building initiatives. Volunteers support economic livelihood initiatives, helping communitybased organisations to provide livelihood support services and increasing access to and control over
productive resources by women. They also help to develop support groups and increase the capacity of
NGOs to provide counseling services, and promote understanding between Muslims and Christians in
Mindanao. TOSCADAR released a CD-ROM in January 2003, featuring details of the programme
direction, examples of current work, people with whom the programme is working, and learning achieved
so far. For a summary of key learning points from the programme as on the CD, please see the
TOSCADAR section of our Programme Initiatives web pages." (VSO 2003)
CFSI assists IDPs in Central Mindanao (May 2003)
•
CFSI's program to assist IDPs in Mindanao is financed by the World Bank and runs from January
2001 to 30 July 2003.
132
•
Activity is focused on 6,759 families (33,550 persons) in five municipalities in the provinces of
Maguindanao and North Cotabato.
•
The empowerment-focused programme components include: (a) community organizing, (b)
information, (c) peace education, (d) psychosocial care, (e) start up livelihood assistance, and (f)
research. Networking and advocacy are other key elements of this project.
•
CFSI will help 500 out-of-school children from displaced communities exercise their right to basic
education for at least one academic year beginning in June 2002.
"Community and Family Services International (CFSI) – a Philippines-based social development
organization – received funds from the Post Conflict Unit of the World Bank for a pilot project amongst
internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Central Mindanao entitled “Promoting the Transition from Conflict
to Peace and Development at the Community Level”.
This project, which began in January 2001 and will be completed in July 2003, has two general objectives:
1. Make a difference in the lives of Filipinos displaced by armed conflict by working with the affected
communities to develop enabling conditions that encourage safe return or settlement, facilitate the process
of transition and stabilization, and provide a foundation for peace building and sustainable development.
2. Contribute to the existing knowledge base by developing and testing models that will inform approaches
to the transition from conflict to peace.
Project coverage includes 6,759 families (33,550 persons) in the municipalities of Pagalungan and
Pagagawan in the province of Maguindanao and the municipalities of Carmen, Kabacan, and Pikit in the
province of North Cotabato. Maguindanao is part of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao
(ARMM). At the time of community profiling in October 2001, 3,140 of these families (15,708 persons)
were internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in thirty (30) evacuation centers. The remaining 3,619
families (17,842 persons)—also displaced by war in 2000—had earlier returned to their communities of
origin or settled in new locations before October 2001.
World Bank support is in the form of two grants. The first, covering the period 01 January 2001 through 30
June 2002, allowed CFSI to serve the IDPs in the thirty (30) evacuation centers as well as those who
returned to their communities of origin in fourteen (14) “barangays”—the smallest territorial and political
unit of government—within the five municipalities. The second grant, running from 01 July 2002 through
31 July 2003, made it possible for CFSI to continue to assist those covered by the first grant as well as
expand services to fourteen (14) additional, underserved barangays in the interior and less accessible areas
of Central Mindanao." (CFSI May 2003, p. 1)
"CFSI will help 500 out-of-school children exercise their right to basic education for at least one academic
year beginning in June 2002. These children come from impoverished communities displaced by war in
Mindanao. Within their communities, illiteracy rates are high and the level of education low. Special efforts
are required if these children are to finish primary school. CFSI hopes to construct a six-room school
building. Immunizations will be provided for those children who have not been immunized and a halal
school lunch programme as well as nutritional education will be organized for the 100 most nutritionally
vulnerable children. Effort will be made to achieve the effective integration of the main features of the
public school system and the Madrasah system. The curriculum will be enhanced with components on child
rights, basic public health, psychosocial care, as well as peace and reconciliation. Emphasis will be placed
on teaching children that “arms are for hugging” with the aim of promoting a culture of peace.
This project will include an income-generation component that will result in community-produced uniforms
and school bags for the students as well as increases in family incomes and vocational skills. CFSI will
work with civil society, the business community, government, and others to establish sustainable
133
mechanisms that will ensure these children and others can continue to access basic education after this
fourteen month project is completed." (CFSI July 2002)
For more information on CFSI activivites on behalf of IDPs, see:
Promoting the transition from conflict to peace and development at the community level:
Progress Report Number One, (1 January through 30 September 2001)
Progress Report Number Two, (01 October through 31 December 2001)
Progress Report Number Three, (01 January through 31 March 2002)
Progress Report Number Four, (01 April through 30 June 2002)
Progress Report Number Five, (01 July 2002 through 31 October 2002)
Progress Report Number Six, (01 November 2002 through 28 February 2003)
NGO organizes a meeting between displaced people and governemnt officials to draw
attention to their needs (April 2003)
•
Mindanao People's Caucus organized a visit to Manila for 13 representatives of displaced communites
in order to draw attention to their plight and needs
"At least 13 evacuees from war-stricken areas of North Cotabato and Maguindanao are now in Manila for
an eight-day mission aimed at drawing attention to the worsening humanitarian crisis in the said provinces.
The crisis, triggered by the renewed war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mindanao, has
already claimed 41 lives in various evacuation centers according to groups working with the refugees.
'These Moro, lumad and Christian evacuees will illustrate the human dimension of the armed conflict in
Mindanao -- that they are not merely collateral damage or necessary consequences of war,' said Mary Ann
Arnado, secretary general of the Mindanao People's Caucus, the group which brought the 13 evacuees to
Manila.
The Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), said the evacuees had started meeting with ranking
government officials.
On Tuesday, they talked with Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes, and yesterday they were expected to see
the President.
They would also meet with Vice President Teofisto Guingona, who was against the military's launching of
war in Pikit." (The Inquirer 11 April 2003)
See also:
"Bakwit Power expressed, action from Govt and MILF awaited", Mindanao Peoples' Caucus (MPC),
26 June 2003
"Manifesto of evacuees from Central Mindanao, 'Bakwit Power: People's Exodus to Peace' ",
Mindanews, 24 June 2003
134
Balay provides relief and psychosocial services to IDPs (March 2003)
•
Balay has provided humanitarian assistance and psychological intervention among the displaced since
February 2003. It has also provided food to evacuation centers.
•
A total of 1,200 displaced families (Moro, Manobo, Settlers) were covered by BALAY’s relief
activities in three conflict-affected municipalities.
•
BALAY was among the first NGO which started a supplemental feeding program and play activities
for displaced children
Balay has provided humanitarian assistance and psychological intervention among the displaced peoples
shortly after the outbreak of armed hostilities in Pikit, North Cotabato last February 11. It helped in the
distribution of food rations in the NFA Warehouse and the MIFPC which houses 231 families of evacuees.
It also extended food support in the evacuation centers in Dunguuan and Talapas Elementary School in the
town of Pagagawan, andl also in Cadiis and Manoboville in Carmen, North Cotabato. A total of 1,200
displaced families (Moro, Manobo, Settlers) were covered by BALAY’s relief activities in three conflictaffected municipalities.
The food distribution took place between February 21 and 26. It was supported by partners which joined
the Humanitarian Mission to Pikit organized by BALAY. Those which joined the mission were from the
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Kaisampalad, the Philippine Human Right Information Center
(Philrights), and Banta Bata. The team coordinated with the Disaster Response Team headed by Fr. Bert
Layson, and went around three evacuation centers in Pikit and the Municipal Disaster Operation Center.
They also visited Baranguay Daleengaoen which was turned into a ghost village due to the fighting
between Army troopers and Moro rebels.
BALAY was among the first NGO which started a supplemental feeding program and play activities for
displaced children. Around 1,278 children and 1,177 family heads were able to take part in the first round
of the feeding program which ran from February 14-28. The program covered the evacuees in Fort Pikit
Mahad (second largest evacuation center), NFE Building, Parish Gym, and Fort Pikit Primary School. The
supplemental feeding lasted for five days for each area.
BALAY had coordinated with municipal nutritionists and their volunteers in preparing the food in the
evacuation centers. Evacuees themselves were encouraged to participate in the food preparation, cooking
and distribution. In cooperation with daycare workers and mothers, BALAY supported some play activities
for displaced kids in the Parish Gym and NFE Building.
A more comprehensive play therapy activities for were soon organized for displaced children seeking
temporary refuge in the Parish Gym, Fort Pikit Elementary School, Mahad Block Three, NFE Building and
NFA Warehouse. The kids were divided into different age brackets before appropriate activities were
introduced by Balay staff. Around 1,000 children were able to participate in drawing sessions, puppet
show, story telling and group games which enabled them to express their thoughts and feelings on their
evacuation experience. In their own way, the activities have allowed the children to understand the situation
they are in. It made them aware that they are still being cared for despite their difficult moments in the
evacuation centers.
The participants were offered food after each session which ran for three days. Around 80 volunteers lend a
hand in the conduct of the sessions in five evacuation centers. At the end of the program, the children wrote
their longing for peaces in a piece of cloth tied in balloons and send it to the sky. The gesture signifies their
prayers for the cessation of hostilities so that they may resume their normal lives away from violence."
(Balay March 2003)
For more information on Balay, see also:
135
About Balay, Balay, 27 September 2002
"Taking a great leap forward", by Lou Dela Cruz (Balay)
"Danish partners commend Balay's psychosocial and advocacy work", by Kaloy Anasarias (Balay)
Balik-Kalipay psychosocial assistance programme disrupted by war (February 2003)
•
The Balik-Kalipay program is using psychosocial intervention to help rebuild the lives of the former
war refugees, especially the children.
•
Programme started started in June 2002 among the heavily affected areas during the "all-out war" in
2000, but was interrupted in February 2003 by the resumption of fighting
"Former war refugees in Pikit, especially the children, always looked forward to their Saturday sessions
with the Balik Kalipay group. But on Saturday, February 8, the children and adults were busy packing their
clothes, cooking pots and whatever they could carry as they prepared to take what has become a familiar
journey to an evacuation center.
[…]
The year-old program had brought kalipay to the children not only in Gli-gli but also in the villages of
Nalpaan, Batulawan, Rajamuda, Ginatilan and Lagunde. Under the care of volunteer doctors and teachers,
the traumatized children learned to smile, sing and dance again. This was why Dr. Guevarra was not
prepared to see the villagers--whose lives had been rudely disrupted by the "all-out war" wrought by former
President Joseph Estrada on the people of the area in 2000--evacuating again to flee the guns of the warring
groups." (Cyberdyaryo 19 February 2003)
"A Manila-based non-government organization (NGO) is using psychosocial intervention to help rebuild
the lives of the former war refugees, especially the children, in several villages here.
The Balik-Kalipay program covers six villages here. These villages were among the heavily affected areas
during the "all-out war" in 2000.
Along with 29 volunteer teachers and 158 youth volunteers, Balik-Kalipay started their program this June
after BK came to this town last January.
Dr. Meriam Bandolon, one of the two physicians of BK, describes their program, the psychosocial
intervention on the children, as "evocative play". Bandolon added that they do not only teach the children
some nursery rhymes or share short stories, but also teach the children to forget the past experiences during
the war.
“This is a way to trauma recovery and to make the children feel safe now that the war is over," she told
CyberDyaryo. Their students are children aging six to 14 years old, she added.
The Balik-Kalipay program covers the villages of Gli-gli, Nalpaan, Batulawan, Rajamuda, Ginatilan and
Lagunde. It is funded by the Royal Danish Embassy in Manila.
Other parties involved in the project are: Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), University of the
Philippines-Center for Integrative Studies (Psychosocial Trauma Section), and the local partners here--Pikit
Parish, village officials and DSWD." (Cyberdyaryo 29 July 2002)
Oxfam GB provides assistance to people affected by conflict in Maguindanao and
Cotabato (November 2002)
136
•
During 2000 Oxfam assisted some 15,000 displaced families by providing health services, water &
sanitation, shelter and education.
•
Currently Oxfam continue to assist people affected by conflict in Maguindanao and Cotabato.
"Oxfam GB is an international relief, development and campaigning organisation dedicated to finding
lasting solutions to poverty and suffering around the world. During the year 2000, Oxfam implemented a
programme in Maguindanao and Cotabato provinces to reduce the public health risks faced by
approximately 15,000 displaced families. The programme included providing water and sanitation
facilities, hygiene items, shelterand shelter and implementing health promotion training/campaigns. In
addition, Oxfam also implemented a pilot education in emergencies project for displaced children.
Oxfam’s current programme (years 2001 to 2003) in Maguindanao and Cotabato continues to provide
assistance for families and communities affected by conflict. The programme includes community-based
public health activities, improving access to quality education, small-scale livelihoods assistance and
supporting community- based peace building initiatives." (Oxfam November 2002)
ECDFC launches an IDP network called Displacement Watch (August 2002)
•
ECDFC has launched a network called "Displacement watch". It aims to provide a venue for a closer
coordination between communities of internally displaced persons (IDPs), government and nongovernment organizations. It is geared to capability building towards conflict resolution.
"A network of represetatives from 18 most war-torn (high risk) municipalities in Mindanao was formally
launched in Cotabato City. The network dubbed as "Displacement Watch-Bakwet Philipinas" is a pilot
project of the ECDFC. It is a product of a three-day training/consultation hel on April 13 to 16 at the
Estosan Hotel in Cotabato City.
[...]
Displacement Watch aims to provide a venue for a closer coordination between communities of internally
displaced persons (IDPs), government and non-government organizations. It is geared to capability building
towards conflict resolution.
The training/consultation started with an exposure at the Dawah Evacuation center in Sultan Kudarat,
Maguindanao, where ECDFC recently launched a literacy and numeracy project for dipslaced Muslims
children. The exposure gave the participants a chance to see and feel the real condition of the displaced
families.
The participants spend time with the community and listen to their problems and needs ranging from lack
of shelter to the most basic need, which is food.
After the formal opening of the training at the Estosan hotel, participants listened to the keynote address
delivered by Mr. Santos A. Lamban, Secretary-General of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights
Advocates (PAHRA).
Ms. Naomi Abadao, Human Rights Education Officer, of PAHRA, facilitated the Basic Human Rights
Orientation and Rights of Displaced Persons. ECDFC staff members meanwhile facilitated the training on
the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. At the end of the three-day training, participants has a
common desire to come up with a formal body or network of cooperation that would sustain and address
matters of concern that were identified during the training.
Thus, the group agreed to form part of Displacement Watch-Bakwet Philipinas, a network of IDPs and
similarly concerned organizations organized by the ECDFC. Norma Guiamandal a displaced Muslim from
Pagaggawan, Maguindanao and Jasmin Salazar from Pagalungan were elected as spokeperson for the
women IDP group.
137
The newly formed Displacement Watch was fromally launched in a press conference at the end of the
training. Vice mayor Japal Guianai of Cotabato City graced the event by welcoming the newly formed
network, the participants and organizers of the training in their city. Representatives from the Department
pf Social Welfare (DSWD), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), GOP-UN Multi Donor, MSF, OXFAM
and other non-governemnt organization in the area attended the launching. As the training ended, members
of the newly formed network is confronted with a serious challenge equipped with newly acquired
knowledge and renewed as they struggle to find lasting solution to their continued displacement. "(ECDFC
June 2002)
Tabang Mindanaw shifts from relief to rehabilitation (October 2001)
•
In October 2001, Tabang Mindanaw launched the Integrated Return and Rehabilitation Program
(IRRPP) to assist and rehabilitate IDPs in Mindanao.
•
The IRRP is ongoing in 42 communities in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao Del Sur and
Cotabato. These communities have been declared as Sanctuaries of Peace where an integrated
development program package is being implemented in partnership with various stakeholders
including the community leaders, the local government, INGOs and NGOs.
"In October 2001, Tabang Mindanaw launched the Integrated Return and Rehabilitation Program (IRRPP).
It aims to assist the tri-people in their safe return and in the rehabilitation of their lives and communities.
The major principle of the Tabang Mindanaw Return and Rehabilitation program is the implementation of a
comprehensive and integrated human development program within the framework of the peace process.
It is as well guided by the principle of partnership with all stakeholders, with convergence of interest and
resources." (Tabang Mindanaw 2002)
"The IRRP is ongoing in 42 communities in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao Del Sur and Cotabato.
These communities have been declared as Sanctuaries of Peace where an integrated development program
package is being implemented in partnership with various stakeholders including the community leaders,
the local government, INGOs and NGOs.
The Philippines - Canada Development Fund, the Presidential Social Fund and Tabang Mindanaw jointly
fund the PhP 47 M budget of the IRRP. The IRRP is also made possible in collaboration with various
INGOs such as OXFAM, ACH, CRS, and many more.
Last April 3, Tabang Mindanaw IRRP launched Kawayan Alang Sa Kalinaw or Bamboo for Peace as a
peace building process initiated by the Muslim and Christian communities in the Barangays of Limbalod
and Pagagawan, Cotabato. More than 500 people participated in the said event including NAPC Sec.
Teresita Quintos – Deles, representative of the President; Rep Emmylou Taliño – Santos; Cotabato Gov.
Emmanuel Piñol; Brig. Gen. Allan Cabalquinto of the 602nd Brigade; MILF’s Jun Mantawil and
colleagues, MNLF’s Datu Dima Ambil; Dir. Arlene Lozano representing Presidential Assistant Jesus
Dureza; OPAPP Program Officers; UNDP’s Multi Donor Programme Coordinator Ramon Flores; NCIP
Commissioner Norma Gonos and Regional Dir. Wong. Tabang Co-Chair Amb. Howard Q. Dee and Task
Force Member Ms. Margie Moran-Floirendo joined the leaders of the 42 Sanctuaries of Peace.
The Kawayan Alang SA Kalinaw is a product of grassroots’ peace efforts particularly in communities
declared as “Sanctuaries for Peace”. A prelude to the launching was a Peace Summit that was participated
in by almost a hundred tri-people leaders of the IRRP communities. Leader representatives from the
Tabang Learning farm communities also participated.
138
[…]
To date, more than 850 “homes of peace” out of a total target of 1,129 have already been built in the
provinces of Lanao Del Sur, Cotabato and Maguindanao. By the end of the year, more are expected to be
finished." (Tabang Mindanaw April 2002)
Click on the map to see the areas covered by the IRRPP
See also
"From conflict areas to peace sanctuaries", The Philippines Inquirer, 14 October 2001
"Evacueees declare their village a ‘sanctuary of peace’", Cyberdyaryo, 20 December 2001
"Bamboo for peace", The Philippines Inquirer, 26 May 2002
NGOs want to go beyond "reactive level" in addressing IDP problems (July 2001)
•
Peace Consortium claims their work has had a clear impact on the micro level of the evacuees but
work has to be done at the macro level to lobby effectively for IDPs rights.
•
Fatalism is widespread among the displaced and the Consortium works towards changing this attitude
and changing the mentalities.
•
Education campaign on the rights of the evacuees or IDPs, and the advocacy campaign for the bigger
community to respect these rights are among the gaps to be filled.
"A year after government troopers declared they had overrun the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's (MILF)
Camp Abubakar, non-governmental organizations extending assistance to evacuees claim their
interventions have made a difference for the evacuees but 'a lot of things have yet to be done.'
The Peace Consortium, a group of 11 Central Mindanao-based organizations advocating peace, claims that
the visible and concrete impacts of their interventions are largely felt on the ground.
Edgar Ramirez, director of the Center for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, a merger of three
programs of the Notre Dame University, said, 'the impact on the micro level is very strong but matters have
to be worked out on the macro level.'
Ramirez said the most visible impact of advocacy is the 'change in attitude' of the evacuees. He said those
still in the evacuation centers and those who have already returned to their villages 'have already developed
a sort of peace consciousness.'
Narciso Jover, a member of the Consortium, agrees with Ramirez. 'The value of peace has already been
injected in a lot of people on the ground. Many people have already changed their outlook and value the
importance of understanding despite some differences.'
But Ramirez, Jover and Maryan Mokamad of the administrative staff of the Consortium, all agree there is a
need to 'do a counter-culture' among the evacuees because 'they have this common tendency of attributing
everything that happened to the supernatural and would thus wait for what the Creator has in store for them
in the coming days.'
'Wala tayong magawa. Ito ang binigay sa atin so antayin na lang natin kung ano ang sunod na ibibigay sa
atin (We can't do anything. This is what was given us, so let's just wait what will be given us next),'
Mokamad quoted some of the evacuees in Pagalungan, Maguindanao, as saying.
139
But while acknowledging that the impact on the ground is strong, the peace advocates humbly admitted
they are 'weak at the top.' 'We failed to effectively lobby for people's issues for the possible legislation or
proclamation orders designed to address their problems,' Ramirez said.
'There are, indeed, some gaps that need to be filled. This is one of several reasons why the Consortium was
organized. But since we are still starting, the impact of our task could not be felt immediately,' Mokamad
said. Among the gaps that the Consortium have identified, she said, are the education campaign on the
rights of the evacuees or internally displaced persons, and the advocacy campaign for the bigger
community to respect these rights.
Ramirez justifed that peace organizations, in general, were still in the "reactive level" of addressing the
problems of internal displacement. 'But we are slowly going beyond,' he said.
Ramirez said the Consortium has conducted skills training for potential facilitators who could help them in
their education campaign." (Mindanews 4 July 2001)
See also: "Peace Consortium teaches 'culture of peace' ", CyberDyaryo, 19 July 2001 [Internet]
Gaps
Senator ask government to release more funds for evacuees, 1/3 have not received
any help from government so far (May 2003)
•
Senator Pimentel suggested to the President the rechannelling of P500 million or half of the P1 billion
SARS fund to the emergency relief assistance IDPs and rehabilitation of conflict areas in Mindanao.
•
Government spends about half a million pesos daily for evacuees in Mindanao.
•
As of end-May, 410,419 persons were displaced.
•
DSWD reports showed that about one-third of the evacuees have not received any assistance from the
government
"Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. (PDP-Laban) today asked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to release
more funds for food, medicines and other basic needs of persons displaced by the armed conflict in
Mindanao and temporarily staying in evacuation centers being run by the Department of Social Welfare
and Development, and non-government organizations, including the Philippine National Red Cross and the
Catholic church.
Appalled at reports that 80 persons have died from illnesses in various evacuation centers since February,
[…]
Official DSWD reports showed that the government spends about half a million pesos daily for evacuees in
Mindanao. Since January 21, 2003, government expenditures on relief supplies and services for Western
Mindanao, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, Central Mindanao have reached P58.1 million.
Pimentel said the figures would indicate that the government has tightened the release funds for the
operations of evacuation centers considering that there were already 220,000 evacuees by March and the
number has climbed to 410,419 persons as of Wednesday (May 28).
The DSWD reports showed that about one-third of the evacuees have not received any assistance from the
government." (Senator Aquilino Pimentel 29 May 2003)
140
Mayor of Parang criticized for denying the displaced entry to his town (February 2003)
•
Mayor of Parang, Maguindanao has announced that he would not accept avacuees from neigboring
towns displaced by clashes between the MILF and the AFP, by fear that it would affect the town's
peace and order.
•
ARMM official has criticized the mayor and said that he had no right to refuse the IDPs'entry in his
town.
"A ranking official of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao yesterday chided Mayor Vivencio
Bataga of Parang, Maguindanao for announcing that he would not accept evacuees from the neighboring
towns of Matanog, Barira and Buldon, who were displaced by the ongoing clashes between government
forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Speaker Ibrahim Ibay of the ARMM Regional Legislative Assembly said Bataga has no right to refuse
sanctuary to the thousands of evacuees.
Ibay pointed out that Matanog, Barira and Buldon, known as “Iranon towns,” were created out of Parang.
'Historically, Parang is the mother town of these three Iranon towns. As the mother town, instinctively
Parang should take care of the people of her brood,' he explained.
Earlier, Bataga said he would limit the entry of evacuees to Parang. He justified his move, saying that their
uncontrolled entry would affect the town’s peace and order.
Irked by these remarks, Ibay said Bataga should not control the entry of evacuees because it is only
incidental that Bataga became the mayor. 'They (Batagas) are only migrants to the area while the residents
of the Iranon areas are the natives of the place,' he stressed" (The Manila Times 28 February 2003)
Government criticized for not delivering aid to Maguindanao evacuees (February 2003)
•
Officials of the ARMM and other goverment offials have complained that the bulk of the assistance
was given to evacuees in Pikit, North Cotabato to the detriment of evacuees in Maguindanao.
•
DSWD-ARMM Secretary Bainon Karon said they have not yet received any augmentation fund from
the government and that the P300,000 was very little compared to the P2,000,000 that had been
disbursed for evacuees in Pikit
"Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have assailed the government for alleged
favoritism in giving assistance to the civilian evacuees affected by clashes between the military and the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Central Mindanao.
Regional officials of the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development as well as
the Department of the Interior and Local Government joined their ARMM counterparts in complaining that
the bulk of the assistance is being given to evacuees in Pikit, North Cotabato to the detriment of residents
fleeing the war in neighboring Maguindanao.
The evacuees were affected by the military operation against the MILF rebels at the Buliok complex in
Liguasan Marsh, Pikit.
Buliok has been the scene of heavy clashes between government troops and MILF rebels for nearly three
weeks now. The MILF fled to Buliok and made it their headquarters after they were dislodged from Camp
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Abubakar in Matanog, Maguindanao after intense military operations in 2000 as ordered by ousted
President Estrada.
DSWD-ARMM reports said that, aside from Pikit, 11 towns in Maguindanao were also affected by the
fighting, namely: Pagalungan, Pagagawan, Sultan sa Barongis, SK Pendatun, Datu Paglas, Paglat, Buluan,
Talayan, Sultan Kudarat, South Upi, Parang and Balabagan.
The influx of evacuees continues to increase mostly in Pagalungan and Pagagawan. Latest reports reveal
that 78,926 individuals belonging to 14,147 families are sheltered in 37 evacuation centers established by
the DSWD-ARMM in the affected municipalities.
The Regional Health Emergency Management Team of the DOH-ARMM also reported a total of 85
recorded communicable disease cases in two municipalities. A child was reported to have died of measles
in one of the evacuation centers.
'If this war will continue, we will run out of medical supplies. Our provincial and municipal health workers
reported that our supplies will only last for another week,' said Dr. Lampa Pandi, acting regional Health
secretary.
To help mitigate the situation, DILG-ARMM Regional Secretary Abdulrahim Imao has ordered barangay
officials in the affected areas to use their five-percent Barangay Calamity Fund.
For his part, DSWD-ARMM Secretary Bainon Karon said they have not yet received any augmentation
fund from the government. 'We were advised that P300,000 would be released to us through the DSWD
office in Region 12, but we don’t know when it would arrive,' Karon said, adding that what they have been
using came from their local funds.
Karon described the yet-to-be-released P300,000 as measly when compared to the P2 million in
government assistance for the evacuees of Pikit." (The Manily Times 26 February 2003)
UN representative identifies a protection gap between the policies adopted and their
implementation (February 2003)
•
UN Representative observed a gap between the positive policy statements by governmental authorities
and their practical implementation on the ground.
•
There were gaps in addressing their protection needs as well as those of the returnees and the affected
communities at large.
•
As a result, many of the displaced feel isolated, neglected and alienated, in particular in the most
affected areas of Mindanao
"[...] the Representative observed a gap between the positive policy statements by governmental authorities
and their practical implementation on the ground. In the case of the Philippines, although a significant level
of assistance was being provided to the internally displaced, there were gaps in addressing their protection
needs as well as those of the returnees and the affected communities at large. The gap between the declared
policy and the state of implementation appears to have led many of the displaced to feel isolated, neglected
and alienated, in particular in the most affected areas of Mindanao. It should be noted on the positive side,
however, that government officials appeared to recognize this gap, seemed willing to seek remedies, and
even saw the mission as providing them with the opportunity to do so." (CHR 3 February 2003, p. 12)
142
NGOs denounce lack of accountability in distribution of relief (July 2001)
•
Peace Consortium claims there have been irregularities in distribution of relief to the IDPs in
Mindanao in the past and that there is is no accountability on the part of the government and MILF in
the relief operations.
•
Government and MILF should implement guidelines ton ensure relief goods go to those who need
them.
"Non-government organizations that were involved in helping families displaced by last year’s war in
Mindanao back on their feet have urged the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to
be transparent in their relief operations.
In a three-page letter address to Jesus Dureza, the government’s chief peace negotiator and presidential
assistant for regional concerns-Southern Mindanao, and his counterpart in the MILF, Murad Ebrahim, the
Peace Consortium of Central Mindanao (PCCM) said it found questions and irregularities in the
distribution of relief items in the past.
The PCCM said there was no accountability on the part of the government agencies or the MILF in the
distribution of the goods.
But the PCCM did not say which agency or organization was involved in the alleged irregularities.
According to PCCM chair Fr. Ben Toreto, the letter was sent for the government and the MILF to discuss
its contents when the panels resume peace negotiations in Kuala Lumpur.
The PCCM suggested that cash donations and relief goods be made public by the agencies in charge of the
distribution and would-be beneficiaries to be informed about it.
The group also said the government and the MILF should formulate implementing guidelines that would
assure that relief assistance goes to real evacuees and is not used by politicians or to foment animosity
between Muslims and non-Muslims.
The agency distributing the relief goods should also teach evacuees to be self-reliant by providing them
'proper livelihood technology,' Toreto said." (The Inquirer 23 July 2001)
CFSI underscores insufficiency of population data (October 2001)
•
Lack of reliable demographic data on displaced population for programming purposes.
"Reliable demographic data of sufficient detail for programming purposes was difficult to obtain for a
variety of understandable reasons.
CFSI response included: close consultation with DSWD at the municipal, regional and national levels;
close consultation with Local Governement Units (LGUs) and the IDPs; information sharing and
collaboration on profiling efforts with, and between, international and national NGOs as well as DSWD;
detailed community profiling efforts by CFSI in the thirty (30) evacuation centers and fourteen barangays
of origin/anticipated return served by CFSI; the establishement of a database informed by the profiling
efforts and designed in such a manner as to allow for the monitoring of project inputs and the tracking of
population movements; and the employement of a full-time Database Manager at CFSI.
CFSI recommends: continued and intensified interagency effort at all levels to reach agreement on the
numbers of evacuation centers, IDPs, and other populations amongst the affected communities; greater
143
effort on the part of all concerned to share information in both hard copy and electronic formats; and efforts
to ensure the affected communities have easy access to collected data for the purposes of communitybuilding and empowerment." (CFSI October 2001)
Confusion among agencies as to who is assigned responsibility for distributing food
assistance (November 2000)
•
Confusion as to who is in charge of food assistance has resulted in irregular and deficient rations
•
Budget limitations have constrained food assistance
"NGOs and Government agencies such as DSWD, OCD, Church Groups, Red Cross and, the LGUs and
some individual contributions have been providing food assistance. Official budget allocated to this
emergency was only 5 per cent of the provincial budget to include food, water, health etc. Foods provided
are mainly rice, noodles and, sardines/dried fish at times while the quantities, quoted by IDPs and DSWD,
range 3 – 5 kg/family/week and often per month.
There has been confusion among agencies as to who is assigned responsibility for distributing food
assistance. Theoretically, DSWD is the lead agency for coordinating this task. However, for political and
power struggle, food is often coordinated and provided by OCD and at times by Mayors who are the heads
of LGUs. Clearly, this confusion continues among various players and has resulted in irregular and
deficient rations not based on any pre-determined criteria. Another constraint is the budget. Government
departments have admitted about the inadequacy in their budget to continue food assistance but are left
with no other options. Nor have they received any plan from the government to continue food assistance.
ICRC has been planning a one-time distribution of half the general ration to meet one/one-and-a-half month
requirement (@1200 kcal/person/day). They are expecting the shipment by mid-December. Their decision
to continue food assistance depends on the outcome of their first distribution. They are currently engaged in
surveying displaced families and registering them." (Oxfam November 2000, p. 17)
Recommendations
Recommendations following the UN Representative on Internal Displacement' mission
to the Philippines (February 2003)
•
Main challenge is to ensure the effective translation of government statements and policies aimed at
responding to the plight of the internally displaced into practical operations on the ground.
•
It is recommended that a national conference on internal displacement be organized to clarify strategies
for addressing the problem of internal displacement, including protection and assistance needs, and to
facilitate the search for durable solutions.
•
Appropriate institutional structures for addressing displacement issues should be established within the
Government at all levels, (central, regional and local).
•
Collection of disaggregated data is necessary to obtain more accurate information on the internally
displaced and their needs, and therefore to target responses more effectively.
•
There is a continuing need for better protection of displaced persons, returnees and host communities.
•
Government should determine how to ensure the restitution of, or compensation for, lost property and
support the resettlement and reintegration of those displaced who do not wish to return.
144
•
Attention must also be given to addressing the new displacement resulting from the anti-terrorism
measures.
•
Government should act on its proposed initiative to host a regional conference on internal displacement
and migration issues.
•
Deep-seated causes of displacement must also be addressed.
"46. Based on his discussions with the authorities at the national, regional and local levels, the
Representative is of the view that government authorities have made important efforts to address the
problem of displacement in the country. In particular, they have acknowledged the existence of the problem
and designated the National Disaster Council as the coordinating body for the actions of other relevant
departments, such as the DSWD, in response to the needs of the displaced. The. Building on the above
overview of the situation in the country the Representative makes the following recommendations:
47. Closing the gap between government policy on internal displacement and implementation on the
ground. To bridge the gap between the positive statements of the Government and the conditions on the
ground, enhanced formulation, articulation and wider dissemination of a comprehensive and integrated
national policy on internal displacement is needed. This should serve to clarify strategies for addressing the
problem of internal displacement, including protection and assistance needs, and to facilitate the search for
durable solutions. Toward this end, the organization of a national conference on internal displacement, with
the participation of representatives from the Government at the national, regional and local levels, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), civil society, United Nations agencies and other international partners
is recommended. The resulting policy and strategies should be widely disseminated throughout the country,
especially in areas of displacement outside of the capital, and specifically among internally
displaced communities.
48. Establishing appropriate institutional structures and mechanism of coordinated response. Building upon
mechanisms already in place, appropriate institutional structures for addressing displacement issues should
be established within the Government at all levels, (central, regional and local), including the appointment
of focal points to facilitate coordination within the Government and with United Nations agencies and other
partners in the international community on issues of internal displacement.
49. Collecting disaggregated data on the internally displaced population. The collection of disaggregated
data is necessary to obtain more accurate information on the internally displaced and their needs, and
therefore to target responses more effectively. In this connection, it is also crucial to develop a system to
identify the numbers and nature of displacement which reportedly has resulted from the anti-terrorism
operations currently under way in the country.
50. Strengthening efforts to address the continuing needs of displaced communities and the returnees.
Although a significant level of assistance is being provided to the internally displaced by governmental
bodies, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as well as United Nations
agencies, the donor community and NGOs, there is a continuing need for better protection of displaced
persons, returnees and host communities. Although the gap between national policies and the level of
implementation, particularly in Mindanao, made the affected populations feel isolated, neglected and
alienated, the national authorities’ recognition of this gap is an important and encouraging first step towards
rectifying the situation.
51. Providing assistance for return, resettlement or local integration. During his visit to the areas affected
by the conflict in central Mindanao, the Representative noted that significant assistance had been provided
for the return and/or resettlement of the displaced. However, in many areas, there was evident lack of basic
services. Moreover, most of the returnees had lost assets essential to their subsistence, such as animals or
land, in the course of the hostilities. As part of its response to internal displacement, the Government should
determine how to ensure the restitution of, or compensation for, lost property. In addition, in light of the
trauma evidenced among some displaced persons with whom the Representative met and their expressed
145
wish not to return to their areas of origin until they are entirely clear of military presence, the Government
should also support the resettlement and reintegration of those displaced who do not wish to return.
52. Responding effectively to new displacement. While solutions are being pursued for those displaced in
2000, attention must also be given to addressing the new displacement resulting from the anti-terrorism
measures. Notwithstanding the sensitivity of the terrorism issue, both the Go vernment and the international
community need to take measures to ensure protection against arbitrary displacement and providing
protection and assistance to newly displaced persons.
53. Disseminating and providing training on the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. Training in
international humanitarian law and human rights law, including the Guiding Principles, for the security
forces, regional administrators and other pertinent officials whose mandates and scope of activities
encompass displaced communities should serve to reinforce and enhance the effectiveness of the
Government’s efforts to address internal displacement. Moreover, the Guiding Principles can be a useful
tool for the Government in developing policies, legislation and strategies for dealing with displacement,
including providing protection against arbitrary displacement and protection and assistance to displaced
persons.
54. Developing a regional approach. Although internal displacement is a domestic problem, in the
Philippines there are important linkages with similar patterns in other countries in the region. In this
connection, it is worth recalling that the Government, while acknowledging the problem of internal
displacement and the need to strengthen its protection role, also recognizes the link between the problem in
the Philippines and the situation in neighbouring countries and the need to draw lessons from their
experiences. The Representative encourages the Government to act on its proposed initiative to host a
regional conference on internal displacement and migration issues and is prepared to cooperate with the
authorities on this initiative.
55. Enhancing the role of, and increasing international support for, the United Nations country team. In the
Philippines, United Nations agencies have established several working groups which appear to serve as
valuable mechanisms for channelling their respective concerns with regard to assistance and protection to
internally displaced persons and discussing appropriate responses. However, the Representative is of the
opinion that these initiatives need stronger institutional support to be more effective.
56. Seeking durable solutions to the conflict. Finally, while responding to the immediate protection and
assistance needs of the internally displaced is pressing, it must be underscored that, in many instances, the
root causes of the conflicts resulting in internal displacement are the acute disparities associated with
diversities, the marginalization, underdevelopment and lack of capacity for local governance in the
disadvantaged region. These deep-seated causes must also be addressed. The ultimate objective should be
to create a national framework which accommodates all groups in the country and ensures the dignity of all
peoples irrespective of race, ethnicity or religion. The Representative witnessed a significant degree of
willingness on both sides in the conflict to continue their efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the
conflict. At the same time, there was clearly a need to promote national awareness of the root causes of the
conflict in Mindanao in order to achieve a just, comprehensive and sustainable peace." (CHR 3 February
2003, pp. 16-18)
146
ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
Abu Sayyaf
AFP
ARMM
Barangays
CAFGU
CAHRIHL
CCCH
CHED
COSLAP
CPP
CRED
CSWD
DECS
DOH
DSWD
ECDFC
GRP
ICESCR
IFFC
LGU
MILF
MNLF
MRDP
MSF
NDCC
NDF
NEDA
NPA
OCD
PAHRA
PNRC
QRT
SPCPD
SZOPAD
TFDP
TFT
UDHA
UNDP
UNHCR
UNICEF
USCR
Islamic rebel Group
Armed Forces of the Philippines
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
Smallest political unit in the Philippines
Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit
Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities
Commission on Higher Education
Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems
Communist Party of the Philippines
Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters
City Social Welfare and Development
Department of Education, Culture and Sport
Department of Health
Department of Social Welfare and Development
Ecumenical Commission for Displaced Families and Communities
Government Republic of the Philippines
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Independent Fact Finding Mission
Local Government Unit
Moro Islamic Liberation Front
Moro National Liberation Front
Mindanao Rural Development Program
Médecins sans Frontières
National Disaster Coordinating Council
National Democratic Front
National Economic and Development Authority
National People's Army
Office for Civil Defense
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates
Philippines National Red Cross
Quick Response Team
Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development
Special Zone of Peace and Development
Task Force Detainees of Philippines
Task Force Tulong
Urban Development and Housing Act
United Nations Development Program
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nation's Children Fund
United States Committee for Refugees
147
LIST OF SOURCES USED
(alphabetical order)
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Evacuees - ASPH31
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package for southern Philippines"
Internet
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Balay, 10 March 2003, Notes on the Mindanao Crisis
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Balay, 24 March 2003, When Human Rights is the casualty
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Philippines
Balay, 27 November 2001, Cabatangan Armed Conflict Displacement Fact Sheet
Balay, 5 June 2003, Try Ceasefire: a briefing paper on the Mindanao situation
Balay, 8 December 2000, Internal displacement in Mindanao: the challenge of healing
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April-September 2001
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Report Number Four, 1 April through 30 June 2002
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Volume 1 Issue 6
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transition from conflict to peace and development at the community level, Progress
Report Number Six, 01 November 2002 through 28 February 2003
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Transition From Conflict to Peace and Development at the Community Level, Progress
Report Number One (1 January through 30 September 2001)
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centers
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rates of assistance to victims of disasters, distressed and displaced individuals and
families in crisis situation
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statistics on the evacuees in Mindanao
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Operations Monitoring and Information Center, March 2001, Number of Returning
Evacuees
Internet
:
http://web.archive.org/web/20010428121244/www.idpproject.org/excell/returning_evacu
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Internet
:
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DSWD ARMM
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Internet
:
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Ecumenical Commission for Displaced Families and Communities (ECDFC), August
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Internet
:
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Fr. Roberto C. Layson, 20 June 2000, "Wrath of war unleashes suffering on thousands
in Pikit"
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