On Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
As reported by the Commission on Human Rights, internal displacement of individuals was due to two factors namely; 1) Natural Disasters, and 2) Human Induced Disasters. Below is the list of cases, documented by the CHR as regards the IDP trends for 2018.
A. Natural Disasters
1. Legazpi City, Albay: Mayon Volcano Eruption
On January 13, 2018, the Mayon Volcano had a phreatic explosion and produced 2.5 kilometer-high grayish ash plume. The volcano is situated in the Province of Albay, with its devastation affecting the municipalities of Camalig, Guinobatan, Daraga, and Ligao City. Alert Level 1 was raised until it reached Level 4 due to the continuous volcanic eruptions. Eventually, the 6-kilometer danger zone was stretched into 8 kilometers as explosions from the volcano continued. The eruption resulted to the displacement of nearly 90,000 individuals (CHR Region V, 2018). Schools became a temporary shelter for the IDPs, which affected the conduct of classes for schoolchildren. On 5 March 2018, the alert level of Mayon was then lowered, which prompted the families’ return to their respective places of origin.
Several IDP issues were identified during the Mayon displacement. The report from CHR Regional Office V (2018) highlighted the problem of overcrowding in evacuation sites, noting that at least 15 families or roughly around 75 persons were staying in one classroom. Because of the cramped evacuation areas, illnesses spread fast among the IDPs. There was also a problem with the lack of water provision and access in the evacuation sites. Another issue raised was the interruption of education of student learners due to the presence of the evacuees in schools.
2. Eastern Visayas: Typhoon Urduja
In December 2017, Typhoon Urduja, which brought heavy rains and strong winds, made a landfall in one of the municipalities in Eastern Samar. The provinces of Eastern Samar and Biliran were severely affected by the torrential rains and the resulting flooding. According to the report of CHR Region VIII (2018), some infrastructures and houses were completely destroyed. The whole province of Biliran was then placed under a state of calamity. A total of 132 barangays with 117,143 individuals were affected by the typhoon.
Meanwhile in Eastern Samar, around 1,274 families were displaced in evacuation centers. The monitoring conducted by the CHR Region VIII in March 2018 specifically identified various issues that the IDPs faced during their displacement. It was also found out that at the time of the monitoring, some of the IDPs still cannot return to their places of origin and had to remain in evacuation camps more than three (3) months after the onset of the typhoon.
3. CARAGA region: Typhoon Basyang
Typhoon Basyang made a landfall in the CARAGA region in February 2018. The typhoon and its resulting flash floods and strong winds affected thousands of families, and displaced hundreds of persons in the areas of Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Norte. Infrastructures were also destroyed. Two individuals have died and some others were injured. Among the displaced communities, one of the main issues documented in the evacuation sites was the lack of privacy for the families staying in the centers.
4. Davao Region: Landslides
Several incidences of landslide in Davao were reported on January 14, 2018 due to the tail end of a cold front. Because of this, 100 families or 388 individuals were forced to flee from their places of origin (CHR Region XI, 2018). IDPs took shelter on makeshift evacuation centers such as schools, a move that interrupted the regular school operations.
B. Human-Induced Disasters
1. Anticala Displacement and Lanuza Displacement
In the CARAGA Region, two instances of displacement were recorded due to armed conflict: the Anticala and Lanuza displacements resulted from an encounter between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the NPA. The Anticala displacement, which occurred on 05 February, had displaced twenty-two (22) families. These families were able to return to their respective places of origin after almost two weeks in evacuation sites. According to the CHR CARAGA Monitoring Team, the main issue faced by the IDPs was that the evacuation center was not PWD-friendly and there was no privacy for the families.
2. Davao Region Displacements
Several displacemens have been reported in various areas of Davao Region due to the encounters between the AFP and the NPA. The alleged NPA sightings and the armed encounters forced the residents of various areas in the region to flee from danger. Areas affected included Compostela Valley province, Davao Oriental, and Davao del Norte. A total of 1,177 families or 5,618 individuals evacuated in the region. Most IDPs stayed in evacuation centers to seek temporary shelter.
3. Marawi City Displacement
The IDPs affected by the Marawi City Crisis remain in a difficult state of living. Seven months after the liberation of Marawi City in October 2017, thousands of families remain in evacuation centers while others stayed with their relatives outside the city. At present, rehabilitation efforts organized by the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) are ongoing in Marawi City.
As of May 2018, one year after the armed conflict, 70% of the displaced residents of Marawi were able to go back to their places of origin (Felongco, 2018). Furthermore, out of 96 villages in the city, majority from the 72 villages have been able to return to their residences. The government provided returning IDPs with temporary and permanent shelter. Meanwhile, IDPs from the 24 severely damaged villages were not yet allowed to go back due to clearing operations and other security concerns. Many Marawi Crisis-affected families remain displaced in other parts of the country. During the monitoring missions of CHR CARAGA, it was discovered that there were still some home-based IDPs staying in the cities of Butuan and Tandag in the Eastern part of Mindanao.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC, 2018) updates which were directly forwarded to CHR, various assistance such as food packs, cash assistance and livelihood starter pack were provided to the IDPs and bereaved families of fallen soldiers. Rehabilitation efforts such as rebuilding of destroyed infrastructure in the city as well as setting up of new transitory shelters were currently being undertaken.
Despite the various government efforts to assist IDPs in their displacement, reports of violations on the civil liberties of affected individuals of the Marawi City Crisis persist (Region X, 2018A). Some of the alleged violations were illegal detention, unlawful arrest, torture and killings made easier because of the eventual declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao. The arrests and detention were allegedly conducted on the grounds of being affiliated with the Maute group or being a sympathizer of the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). These allegations still require verification as important documents and testimonies are lacking.
4. Zamboanga City – Tulungatung Housing Project
The housing project in Bgy. Tulungatung, Zamboanga City was part of the Zamboanga Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R) spearheaded by the government for the rehabilitation of the city after the Zamboanga Siege in 2013. The Z3R also aims to provide a 1.39 billion-peso shelter assistance to the displaced families. It consists of a series of projects that began on January 2014 and was expected to end by June 2015. However, after three (3) years the project remains unfinished at 93% (Madarang, 2018). Recently, the faulty housing project in Tulungatung, Zamboanga was put into limelight the footbridge leading to the housing collapsed on April 26, 2018 during a site inspection, plunging several politicians into the murky waters where the stilt houses were erected (Cruz, 2018). According to the latest data from the City Social Welfare and Development (CHR Region V, 2018), around 300 families, or approximately 6,343 individuals, were still staying in transitory shelters.
IDP Rights Observatory