IF anything has changed, it is that more and more government officials now champion the cause of the countless victims of man-made and natural disasters throughout the Philippines.
Certainly, like other unfortunate members of society, the so-called “internally displaced persons” (IDPs) deserve a measure of compassion, comfort, understanding and justice.
In Senate, Senator Grace Poe urged government authorities to focus on the welfare of Filipinos displaced by armed conflicts, floods, typhoons, earthquakes and other natural calamities.
According to Poe, her Senate Bill (SB) No. 1513, otherwise known as the proposed “Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Act,” will go a long way in protecting the interests of the country’s IDPs.
The soft-spoken but highly-articulate lady senator, a losing presidential candidate in last year’s national and local polls, said that IDPs should be accorded the human dignity that they deserve.
Records show that more than 300,000 people, including children and the elderly, either continue to live in overcrowded evacuation centers that lack basic facilities or with relatives or friends.
“Reports submitted to the United Nations Economic and Social Council on this topic state that while existing law covers many aspects of particular relevance to IDPs, there remain areas in which the law fails to provide sufficient protection for them,” said Poe.
The measure also calls for the implementation of development projects and provides access to basic necessities (food, shelter and clothing) and health and education, she added.
It is hoped that Senator Poe’s proposed “Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Act” will be supported by her colleagues not only in the Senate but also in the House of Representatives.
They should, if we are to address the various problems of people displaced by armed conflicts and natural disasters.