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Maria Cecilia Kristina M. Africa1 I. Internal Displacement in the Philippines The United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement defines “internally displaced persons” as those persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized border. In the Philippines, more than 151,812 families or approximately 759,060 persons, from years 2002-2005, and an estimated total of 413,983 or 1,934,075 people in the first semester of 2006 affected by the adverse consequences of internal displacement. This statistic has placed the Philippines as one of the top forty (40) countries with the largest number of internally displaced persons within its territory. In Southeast Asia alone, the Philippines ranks third behind Burma and Indonesia as countries with the largest number of internally displaced. Despite the widespread occurrence of internal displacement in the country and the rest of the world, governments worldwide fail to recognize internal displacement as a pressing problem that requires an urgent solution. The Philippines is no exception. Internal displacement caused by varied reasons, natural and manmade disasters, development aggression and armed conflict plague Filipinos today. To deal with internal displacement on the large scale, the United Nations Representative to the Secretary General for Internally Displaced Persons, together with the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement, had developed a framework for national responsibility to serve as a guide to governments. The Framework for National Responsibility Governments have a responsibility to protect and uphold the human rights of their citizens, most especially those who are in the midst of natural disasters, armed conflict and the like. As these occurrences are difficult to foresee or prevent, it is incumbent upon these governments to create an environment that will prevent conditions that may compel these people to leave their homes. If internal displacement cannot be avoided, its adverse effects must be curbed. 1 The author was, at the time of the writing of this article, a legislative officer in the Office of Senator
Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., then incumbent Minority Leader of the Senate of the Philippines. Ms. Africa, a lawyer admitted to the Philippine Bar, is an advocate for IDP rights and had been very active in pursuing the legislative initiative to advance IDP rights in the Philippines. This paper was submitted for distribution during the Consultative Meeting of Experts for the Strengthening of Domestic Implementation of the UN Guiding Principles for Internal Displacement on September 2006, in Vienna, Austria.
A preliminary step towards the implementation of the framework for national responsibility is raising national awareness of the problem of internal displacement. Before any government can prevent adverse effects thereof, the State must first recognize internal displacement as a national dilemma. To be able to ascertain its extent, accurate data and information must be gathered, classified and analyzed closely. Each model of internal displacement is very specific for every country. Hence, a very detailed study is in order, for effective formulation of policies regarding internal displacement. When the problem of internal displacement had been sorted out, a national awareness program or campaign must be launched. The national government must take the lead in this endeavor, coordinating closely with human rights institutions, international organizations and non-governmental organizations. In this process, training of accountable officials in government, law enforcement officers, police and military alike, is vital in awareness raising. Training workshops on the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement for these officials must be conducted as they will be the people who will directly implement these guidelines on the ground, during internal displacement. The true manifestation of a government’s commitment to solve the problem of internal displacement is the enactment or establishment of a national legal framework recognizing the rights of IDPs. In most countries, such as Uganda, Angola, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia and Peru, this national legal framework meant an adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement into domestic legislation. The national legal framework must be coupled with a national plan of action where national and local government institutions must be designated with their corresponding responsibilities. Proper coordination and monitoring among these institutions is likewise very important in the implementation of this action plan, as more often than not, a multi-sectoral approach is required to address the problem of internal displacement due to its far reaching repercussions. The active involvement of civil society and the IDPs themselves shall produce a most effective plan of action. As a campaign to fight internal displacement is a wholistic effort, not only from the government but also from those directly affected, IDPs play a crucial role in this framework. Extensive and regular consultations are non-negotiable in the development of policies herein. Special concerns of internally displaced indigenous peoples, women and children must also be addressed, due to their unique situations. Among the role players in an intensified campaign in the battle against displacement, an institutional focal point for IDPs is most important. It is immaterial whether this focal point is to be newly established or it is an existing agency that will be designated additional functions. The focal point shall be the central agency that will coordinate all efforts for IDP protection, as well as handle
the resources allocated to address situations of internal displacement. Another duty of the focal point is to manage the influx of any foreign assistance that shall be extended by regional and international organizations. This is very important since most countries most affected by internal displacement are financially and logistically unable to sustain operations to manage the effects of internal displacement. Another aspect of national responsibility with respect to internal displacement is the strengthening of human rights institutions. The creation of human rights friendly environment is anchored on a strong national human rights institution. It shall be able to investigate and act on violations of human rights, in general, and those committed against internally displaced persons. It must be able to advise the government on the improvement of existing laws and the development of future legislations and policies on human rights protection and more specifically, welfare of internally displaced persons. Finally, governments must likewise support durable solutions for IDPs. Mechanisms to ensure the safe return or relocation of these IDPs to their places of residence and livelihood must be put in place. IDPs, upon their permanent resettlement, should be eased back into society, by making employment and education opportunities available to them. They must also be protected from discrimination as a result of their displacement. Ultimately, the government must be able to prevent causes that lead to internal displacement. II. History of Legislative Initiatives Towards the Protection of the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons In the Philippines, several legislative resolutions have been adopted since 2003, advocating the adoption of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. This was initiated by the Resolution No. 2003-01, adopted by the Presidential Human Rights Committee Department of Justice Manila, entitled “Urging Strict Observance of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and Exhorting Congress to Pass a Law for the Protection of the Internally Displaced.” During the Twelfth Congress, Senate Resolution No. 289 was adopted, entitled “A Resolution Urging the Philippine Government to Adopt in Full the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement as a Concrete Step in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Country.” A similar resolution was adopted in toto, in the House of Representatives, House Resolution No. 449. III. Proposed Legislation on Internal Displacement: Salient Features
In 2004, House Bill No. 3337, entitled, “An Act Improving Philippine Commitment to Human Rights Promotion and Protection by Providing the Necessary Mechanisms for the Prevention of the Occurrence and Protection from the Adverse Effects of Internal Displacement and for Other Purposes.” The said bill is undergoing revisions with a Technical Working Group composed of representatives from the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights, the Balay Rehabilitation Center, a Philippine Human Rights Non-governmental Organization (NGO) providing psychosocial rehabilitation to Internally Displaced Persons and other victims of human rights violations and the offices of Senate Minority Leader Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., Representatives Loretta Ann P. Rosales and Mario Joyo Aguja. House Bill No. 3337 is presently pending in the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights. The version in the Senate of the Philippines, Annex II herein, which shall be used for reference in the discussions in this Chapter, is in its final drafting process with the Office of Senate Minority Leader Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. The bill lifted most of its provisions from the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. The authors of the said bill deemed it fit to enumerate all the rights that are accorded to internally displaced persons, before, during and after displacement since there is no comprehensive piece of legislation that recognizes the rights and unique nature of situations faced by internally displaced persons. The bill is referred to as the “Internal Displacement Act of 2005.”2 The bill begins with the declaration of principles and State policies. These statements are found in the Philippine Constitution and they lay the foundation for the responsibility of the State to protect its citizens from the adverse effects of internal displacement.3 Section 3 provides for a definition of terms used in the bill. The terms “internal displacement” and “internally displaced person” were defined therein. The definition of internal displacement was reproduced from the IntroductionScope and Purpose of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. 4 The definition of internally displaced person was worded as to refer to any individual who has suffered harm as a direct result of internal displacement as defined. The Philippines, as a matter of national policy, adopts the generally 2 Section 1. Short Title. This Act shall be known as the “Internal Displacement Act of 2006.”
3 Section 2. Declaration of Principles and State Policies. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. It shall be the policy of the State to safeguard the interests and security of its citizens in distress in cases of internal displacement caused by armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violation of human rights, demolitions, land conversions, environmental destructions, aggressive implementation of development projects and other man-made disasters. 4 For purposes of these Principles, internally displaced persons are persons or groups or persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border
accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land.5 Section 4 of the Bill, which adopts the provisions of Principle 5 of the UNGPID in toto, recognizes this State policy.6 This principle underscores the urgency to translate generally accepted principles to domestic legislation, more especially in cases where the rights of internally displaced persons are violated. A national law to this effect will bring these acts under the criminal jurisdiction of the State. Section 6 of the bill shall be an exception to the rule in Philippine criminal law, where any person who acts in the fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office shall not incur any criminal liability.7 In this section, an order of battle, official or otherwise, issued by the military, police or any law enforcement agency of the government, shall not justify arbitrary or internal displacement and shall be subject the perpetrators to the same corresponding penalties provided in the bill. Section 7 enumerates the pre-displacement rights of internally displaced persons. It adopted Principles 6,7,8 and 9 of the UNGPID. In his address before the First National Multi-Stakeholders’ Forum on Promoting and Protecting the Rights of the Internally Displaced Persons, 8 Dr. Walter Kaelin, the Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, stressed that the Guiding Principles cannot be simply be adopted verbatim. Although a comprehensive approach to displacement, addressing conflict, natural disaster, development and other causes of displacement is recommended, it is necessary to adapt the principles to the particular institutional and displacement context of each. In this light, the Technical Working Group on the IDP bill decided to focus the bill’s attention on the adverse effects of internal displacement caused by armed conflict. Armed conflict is the major cause of internal displacement in the Philippines. Majority of IDPs affected by armed conflict are found in Mindanao, belonging to the Moro ethno-linguistic groups, notably the Maguindanaoan, Maranao, Iranun and Tausug. Indigenous peoples such as the B’laan, T’boli, Higaononon, Manobo, Subanen and Teduray also count among those who are frequently forcibly driven to mass exodus.9 Other major causes of internal displacement, such as large-scale 5 Section 2, Article II, 1987 Philippine Constitution 6 Section 4. Prevention of Internal Displacement. The State shall respect and ensure for their obligations
under international law, including human rights law and humanitarian law, so as to prevent and avoid conditions that might lead to displacement of persons. 7 Article 11. Justifying Circumstances. The following shall not incur criminal liability: (5) Any person who acts in the fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office. (Act No. 3815, otherwise known as An Act Revising the Penal Code and other Penal Laws) 8 First National Multi-Stakeholders’ Forum on Promoting and Protecting the Rights of the Internally Displaced Persons, Island Cove Resort, Cavite, Philippines. December 9-10,2005. 9 Balay Rehabilitation Center. Revised Edition 2006. A Primer on Internal Displacement in the Philippines. p.4.
development projects, natural disasters,10 and their effects, are presently covered by existing laws, administrative orders and circulars. Hence, the Group decided to concentrate on internal displacement caused by armed conflict. According to Paragraph 1 of Principle 7 of the UNGPID, adopted in Section 7(b) of the bill, all feasible alternatives must be explored in order to avoid displacement before any decision requiring the displacement of persons is made. However if it is inevitable, all measures shall be undertaken to minimize displacement and its adverse effects. Under the present institutional framework, there is no specific agency responsible to oversee these necessary steps before any decision of displacement is made. The wording of the bill suggests a cluster approach among the line agencies of government to cater to the needs of the internally displaced persons. A collaborative effort from the local government unit, the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the protection of their rights, the Department of Health, to ensure the health and medicinal needs of the displaced and the Department of Social Welfare and Development for relief and evacuation efforts. If displacement occurs in situations other than during the emergency stages of armed conflicts, several guarantees that must be complied with are enumerated in Principle 9, adopted in Section 7(e) of the Bill. Most notable of these guarantees is the requirement of a specific decision taken by an authority empowered by law to order such measures. In the Philippine context, only a court of competent jurisdiction is empowered to forcibly remove any person from his habitual place of residence. Actual experience reveals that a court of law will take a considerable amount of time before it could issue an order to this effect. Under Principle 9, the State shall respect the rights of indigenous peoples, minorities, peasants, pastoralists and other groups with a special dependency on and attachment and their lands. The authorities concerned shall protect these special groups against displacement, with particular reference to Republic Act No. 8371, otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act. Section 8 of the Bill articulates the rights of internally displaced persons during displacement. It adopted the provisions of Principles 10-23 of the UNGPID. This section criminalizes genocide, murder, summary arbitrary executions and enforced disappearances, including abduction or unacknowledged detention.11 As of the present time, these acts, with the exception of murder, are not recognized as criminal offenses in Philippine jurisdiction. However, this problem is sought to be addressed in a bill pending before both Houses of Congress, in the Senate, Senate Bill No.2135 and House Bill No. 2557, both 10 Presidential Decree No. 1566, otherwise known as “Strengthening the Philippine Disaster Control,
Capability and Establishing the National Program on Community Disaster Preparedness.” 11 Principle 10, United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
entitled, “An Act Defining and Penalizing Crimes against International Humanitarian Law, Adopting Corresponding Principles of Criminal Responsibility, Operationalizing Universal Jurisdiction, Designating Special Courts and for Related Purposes.” Threats and incitement to commit any of the foregoing acts shall be prohibited. The section proceeds to reiterate the constitutionally safeguarded rights against arbitrary arrest12 and detention13, cruel and inhuman punishment14, liberty of abode and right to travel15. These declarations can be found in Principles 12, 13, 14 and 15 of the UNGPID. Principle 13, enunciated in Section 8(f) of the Bill, espouses the protection of internally displaced children from being recruited or required to take part in hostilities. Being a signatory of Protocol 2 of the Geneva Conventions which mandates special protection for children in armed conflict16, Republic Act No. 7610 dedicated an entire article for Children in Armed Conflict, Article X thereof17. The said law declared children themselves as zones of peace. Another law consistent with this principle is the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 200618, wherein a child living in situations of armed conflict was included in the definition of “child at risk.” Principles 16 and 17, enshrined in Section 8(k),(l),(m) and (n), is corollary to Section 12, Article II of the Philippine Constitution. 19 The family, as a basic unit of society, must be respected during all phases of displacement. In the event of displacement, the State is tasked to keep members of internally displaced families intact. If these families are separated by displacement, they must be reunited as quickly as possible.20 If any member dies as a result of displacement, return of the remains must be facilitated and other relatives must be given access to death sites of their deceased relatives.21 Aside from the protection of their human rights as explained above, 12 Section 2, Article III, 1987 Philippine Constitution. 13 Section 1, Article III, 1987 Philippine Constitution.
14 Section 19, Article III, 1987 Philippine Constitution. 15 Section 6, Article III, 1987 Philippine Constitution. 16 “Children shall be provided with the care and aid they require, and in particular: (c) children who have not attained the age of fifteen years shall neither be recruited in the armed forces or groups nor allowed to take part in hostilities. (Part II, Article 3(c), Protocol 2 of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949.) 17 Article X, Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise known as “An Act Providing for Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination, and For Other Purposes
18 Section 4(d)(9), Republic Act No. 9344, otherwise known as “An Act Establishing a Comprehensive
Juvenile Justice and Welfare System, Creating the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council under the Department of Justice, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes.” 19 The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. 20 Section 9(k), Internal Displacement Bill. 21 Section 9(l), Internal Displacement Bill.
Section 8(o),(p),(q) and (r) itemize the minimum needs of internally displaced persons for daily subsistence, such as food and potable water, basic shelter, appropriate clothing and medical resources.22 The State is primarily responsible to provide these goods as internally displaced persons, due to their forced eviction from their habitual place of residence, have lost all their possessions and means of livelihood. Section 8(s),(t) and (u) features the protection of the political rights of internally displaced persons. They must be empowered so as to continue exercising these rights despite their displacement. To facilitate this, the State must take necessary steps to make legal documents available to IDPs. Section 8(v) highlights the protection of the property rights of IDPs. Section 8(w) and (x) underscores the importance of education among internally displaced youths and women. Educational facilities as well as training opportunities must be made available to them, whether or not they live in camps. Section 9 addresses the continuing needs of displaced communities. Under the national responsibility framework being advocated by the United Nations, all humanitarian assistance is the primary duty of the national government. Law enforcement agencies conducting military operation, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, (DSWD) the Department of Health, (DOH) the corresponding hospital and the Local government unit concerned are the government agencies tasked to provide immediate relief to internally displaced persons, families and communities23. To protect the interests of IDPs, assistance must not be diverted for political and military reasons. Further, if the national government is unable to meet the needs of the internally displaced, the State shall seek the assistance of international humanitarian organizations. This must not be construed as an interference in the government’s internal affairs. Principle 26, contained in the third paragraph of Section 9, is a recognized rule in international law as well as in the Philippines that persons and organizations engaged in humanitarian assistance must be respected and protect, nor shall they be attacked or subjected to other acts of violence. This is likewise provided for in Senate Bill No. 2135. Section 11 enumerates the penalties for violation of the provisions of the proposed bill. In Paragraph (a), a penalty of reclusion perpetua or at least twenty (20) years and one (1) day to at most thirty (30) years imprisonment, shall be imposed upon those who directly committed the act of arbitrary or internal displacement, referred to in Philippine criminal law as principals by direct participation24, those who directly forced, instigated, encouraged or induced 22 Principle 19, United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. 23 Section 9, last paragraph, Internal Displacement Bill. 24 Article 17(1), Act No.3815, otherwise known as “An Act Revising the Penal Code and Other Penal
others to commit the act of displacement or principals by inducement25, or those who cooperated in the act of displacement by committing another act without which the act of arbitrary or internal displacement would not have been carried out, or principals of indispensable cooperation26, or those commanding officers of the military, police and/or other law enforcement agency who allowed the act of arbitrary or internal displacement and those who actually and/or directly participated thereof. Included in this enumeration are those who cooperated in the execution of the act of arbitrary or internal displacement, who shall suffer the same penalty. In Philippine criminal law, as a general rule, these actors are referred to as accomplices to the crime or felony27. They shall be imposed upon a penalty next lower in degree as those of their principals. In this bill, however, they shall be punished as principals. The same section proceeds to impose the penalty of reclusion temporal or, at least, twelve years and one (1) day to, at most, twenty (20) years imprisonment to those who attempt to commit the offense of arbitrary or internal displacement. The same penalty shall likewise apply to those who have knowledge of the act of arbitrary or internal displacement and without having participated therein, either as principals or accomplices, took part subsequent to its commission by themselves profiting from or assisting the offender to profit from the effects of the act of arbitrary or internal displacement; by concealing the act of arbitrary or internal displacement, and/or destroying the effects or instruments thereof, in order to prevent its discovery; or by harboring, concealing or assisting in the escape of the principal(s) in the act of arbitrary or internal displacement, provided the accessory acts are done with the abuse of the official’s public functions. These definitions were lifted from Article 19 of Act 3815, or the Revised Penal Code. These actors are more commonly referred to as accessories. As a general rule, penalties imposed on accessories are those two (2) degrees lower than those imposed upon their principals, which is prision mayor (six years and one day to twelve years.)28 This bill shall be an exception to the said rule. The section also points out that any public official or employee found guilty of committing the prohibited acts provided for in Sections 7 and 8 thereof shall be permanently disqualified from holding any appointive or elective position in the government. Likewise, all accessory penalties that accompany the penalties of reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal shall attach to the offender29. Hence,
25 Article 17(2), Act No. 3815, otherwise known as “An Act Revising the Penal Code and Other Penal Laws.” 26 Article 17(3), Act No. 3815, otherwise known as “An Act Revising the Penal Code and Other Penal Laws.” 27 Article 18, Act No. 3815, otherwise known as “An Act Revising the Penal Code and Other Penal Laws.” 28 Article 53. Penalty to be imposed upon accessories to the commission of a consummated felony. — The penalty lower by two degrees than that prescribed by law for the consummated felony shall be imposed upon the accessories to the commission of a consummated felony. (Revised Penal Code) 29 Article 41.Reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal; Their accessory penalties. — The penalties of reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal shall carry with them that of civil interdiction for life or during
the provisions of the Revised Penal Code shall be suppletory in application to this bill. Section 12 of the bill highlights the role of the Commission of Human Rights in the campaign to protect the rights of IDPs. According to the national responsibility framework, national human rights institution must take the lead in efforts of governments to protect human rights, and those of IDPs in particular. They enjoy official recognition by government and command respect within official bodies30. In the Philippines, its creation was mandated by the 1987 Constitution31, no less. An important highlight worthy of note in this section is the inclusion of the provisions of Section 18(1) of Article XIII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. It points out the investigative power of the Commission on Human Rights to initiate investigation on alleged human rights violations committed against IDPs by a mere complaint of any person, or on its own. This provides a mechanism by which the provisions of this Bill may be enforced. It is further suggested by the Technical Working Group that the findings of the CHR should be treated with probative value and absent any irregularity on its face, must be binding upon the prosecutor and should not be subject to another preliminary investigation in court. In this manner, the said power granted to it by the Constitution will be given more teeth and in this regard, the national human rights institution will be more effective in its functions. Section 14 mandates the drafting of implementing rules and regulations of the proposed measure within sixty (60) days from effectivity thereof. The Commission on Human Rights shall spearhead this effort, in collaboration with the DSWD, DND, DILG and human rights NGOs. Section 15 of the proposed bill shall create a monitoring group, immediately upon its effectivity, to periodically oversee its implementation. Among the members hereof are representatives from the Commission on Human Rights, (CHR) Department of the Social Welfare and Development, (DSWD) Department of National Defense, (DND) Department of Interior and Local Government, (DILG) National Disaster and Coordinating Council, (NDCC) Secretariat of the Committee on Human Rights in the House of Representatives and the Secretariat of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights in the Senate, and a representative coming from and selected among human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other human rights groups. These members shall elect a chairperson from among them.
the period of the sentence as the case may be, and that of perpetual absolute disqualification which the offender shall suffer even though pardoned as to the principal penalty, unless the same shall have been expressly remitted in the pardon. (Revised Penal Code) 30 Balay Rehabilitation Center. 2006. A Primer on Internal Displacement in the Philippines. p.20. 31 There is hereby created an independent office called the Commission on Human Rights. (Section 17(1), Article XIII, 1987 Philippine Constitution)
Conclusion The pending pieces of legislation in the House of Representatives and the Senate are but first steps in the long process towards the setting up of a national legal framework for internal displacement. As evidenced by the narrative on the profile of the Philippine Legislative System, Annex II herein, the Bill faces rough sailing ahead. These initiatives must be propelled by the political will of the leadership in both Houses of Legislature, as well as a certification by the Chief Executive to the urgency of its enactment. The enactment of a national legal framework will be inoperative without a structured national plan of action. The present administration must address internal displacement as a phenomenon that will not go away and prioritize the interests of internally displaced persons nationwide. A massive information campaign is imperative to educate civilians on their rights and avenues for redress of their grievances if and when they are subjected to arbitrary displacement. Aside from focus group discussions, workshops and the distribution of campaign paraphernalia, the power of mass media must be employed to reach internally displaced persons, more especially those in far-flung areas. The national plan of action must be geared towards the establishment of more practical durable solutions to the problem of internal displacement. While armed conflict, in reality, can linger for years, adverse effects that spring from it must be addressed immediately. The international community, of late, in the process of tackling the most recent conflicts that persist in the international front have come up with suggestions to promote a humanitarian ceasefire, to deal with the needs of civilians, or internally displaced persons, caught in between the hostilities. Days of tranquility must be observed, wherein internally displaced persons will have the opportunity to access humanitarian and medical assistance, as well as engage in other activities that will not otherwise be possible during armed conflict. Corridors of peace, or transit routes designated as safety passages for the carriage of noncombatants and humanitarian supplies, must be respected as well. Medical institutions, like local hospitals and clinics, must be recognized as sanctuaries of peace at all times, making these vicinities available to internally displaced persons, for shelter and refuge. Finally, children, recognized internationally as well as in recent legislative enactments as zones of peace, must be protected at all times. Stricter implementation of this principle is imperative, most especially in favor of those children who live in conditions of armed conflict. The national plan of action must also include the capacity building and training of government employees and officials who shall implement the national plan of action on the ground. They must be educated on the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and be informed of the rights accorded to internally displaced persons at all stages of displacement, so that these rights may be recognized and respected by them.
An all out campaign of this nature is also a financial endeavor. Adequate resources must be allocated for this purpose by the national government. However, due to the economic turmoil that the country presently faces, the government must seek the aid of regional and international organizations and any foreign assistance must be properly managed so these will cater the needs of the internally displaced. Lastly, it is the primordial responsibility of the government to create an environment free from human oppression and a society that respects human rights of all individuals. In order to attain this ultimate objective, the Philippines must find a way to combat the adverse effects of natural disasters and manmade calamities and come up with a solution to end perennial conflicts of political ideology in various parts of the country. The problem of internal displacement cannot be completely solved by piecemeal changes in legislation but by a synergy of policies geared towards human rights protection and a genuine concern for the marginalized sectors of society.
REFERENCES: 1. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement 2. The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines 3. A Primer on Internal Displacement in the Philippines, 2006, Published by the Balay Rehabilitation Center. 4. Keynote Address of Dr. Walter Kaelin, Representative of the United Nations Secretary- General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, First National Multi-Stakeholders’ Forum on Promoting and Protecting the Rights of the Internally Displaced Persons, Island Cove, Cavite, Philippines. 2005.
5. Towards a Common Agenda and a National Action Plan for Internal Displacement in the Philippines, Terminal Report of the First National MultiStakeholders’ Forum on Promoting and Protecting the Rights of the Internally Displaced Persons, Island Cove, Cavite, Philippines. 2005. 6. Erin Mooney, “National Responsibility and Internal Displacement: A Framework for Action,” FMR IDP Supplement, Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement. 7. www.asiapacificforum.net 8. http://www.brookings.edu/fp/projects/idp/idp.htm 9. 2006 First Semester Statistical Consolidation of Disaster Occurrences Statistical Consolidation by Region, Department of Social Welfare and Development-Disaster Response Operations Monitoring Information Center. 10. United Commission on Human Rights, 3 February 2003, 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, E/CN.4/2003/86. 11. Guide to International Human Rights Mechanisms for Internally Displaced Persons and Their Advocates, June 2006, Brookings Institution- University of Bern Project on Internal Displacement. 12. Azhari Idris, Resolution of protracted conflict in Aceh, Indonesian Conflict Study Network. (ICSN)
PROFILE OF THE PHILIPPINE LEGISLATIVE SYSTEM a. Membership and Constitution of the Philippine Legislature
The Legislature of the Philippines is bicameral in nature. It is composed of a House of Representatives and a Senate. The House of Representatives shall not be more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral
parties or organizations.32 On the other hand, the Senate shall be composed of twenty-four Senators who shall be elected at large by the qualified voters of the Philippines, as may be provided by law.33 b. Origin of Bills Apart from appropriations, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public debt, bills of local application, and private bills34, pieces of legislation may originate from either the House of Representatives or the Senate. No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency35. c. Process of Legislative Approval of Bills When a bill is filed and read for the first time, it shall be referred to the appropriate Committee, composed by the members of the corresponding House. The Committee shall schedule the bill for public hearing where expert resource persons, major stakeholders and affected sectors shall be invited by the Committee to air their opinions and present their proposals on the bill. These invitees shall be requested to submit position papers on the bill for reference of the Committee. The Committee shall hold as many public hearings as it may deem fit. After the series of public hearings conducted, a Technical Working Group shall be convened to incorporate the information and proposals raised during the public hearings into the Bill. The Committee shall then produce a report that will be the basis of deliberations in the plenary. The bill shall be calendared for second reading. During second reading, the plenary membership of either House shall debate on the provisions of the Committee Report. Interpellations by any member shall be heard, after which he or she shall have the opportunity to introduce any amendment. The sponsor of the Bill may accept or reject these amendments. After all amendments have been introduced, the Bill shall be passed on second reading. At the third reading of the bill, a majority vote of all members present on that day is required for the bill to be approved. The votes thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the ayes and nays entered in the Journal.
32 Article VI, Section 5(1), 1987 Philippine Constitution. 33 Article VI, Section 2, 1987 Philippine Constitution. 34 All appropriations, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public debt, bills of local
application, and private bills shall originate exclusively from the House of Representatives but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments. (Article VI, Section 24, 1987 Philippine Constitution) 35 Article VI, Section 26(2), 1987 Philippine Constitution.
The Bill shall undergo the same process in the other House. When the Bill had been sponsored and passed on third reading on both Houses, a bicameral conference committee shall be constituted to be composed of Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate that have been nominated by their corresponding Houses, to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of both bills. The Bicameral Conference Committee report shall be presented to both Houses and shall be subject to each House’s approval. When approved, it shall be transmitted to the President of the Philippines for signing.
ANNEX II. Bill on Internal Displacement
Republic of the Philippines HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Quezon City, Metro Manila FOURTEENTH CONGRESS First Regular Session HOUSE BILL NO. 2458
Introduced by Reps. Hontiveros-Baraquel, Rodriguez, Tañada, Abante, Joson, Romulo, Hataman, Balindong, Jaafar, Zialcita and Largoza-Maza AN ACT IMPROVING PHILIPPINE COMMITMENT TO HUMAN RIGHTS PROMOTION AND PROTECTION BY PROVIDING THE NECESSARY MECHANISMS FOR THE PREVENTION OF THE OCCURRENCE AND PROTECTION FROM THE ADVERSE EFFECTS OF INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES Be enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled: SECTION 1. Short Title. - This Act shall be known as the “Internal Displacement Act of 2008.” SEC. 2. Declaration of Principles and State Policies. Consistent with the principles enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, the standards set by international humanitarian law and human rights laws, international treaties and conventions adhered to by the Philippines, it is also hereby declared a State policy to promote and protect the rights of internally displaced persons in situations of armed conflict, generalized violence, violations of human rights, land conversion and any other land conflict, environmental destruction, aggressive implementation of development projects and other natural or human-made disasters. When an armed conflict of a non-international character is inevitable, the State shall ensure the promotion and protection of the rights of the citizens who are non-combatants, who shall enjoy, in full equality, the same rights and freedoms under international and domestic law as do other persons in their country. These citizens shall not be discriminated against in the enjoyment of any rights and freedoms on the ground that they are internally displaced. SEC. 3. Definition of Terms . - The following terms, as
defined accordingly, shall be used in this Act: a) “Internal Displacement” refers to the involuntary movement or forced evacuation or expulsion of any person or group of persons to flee or leave their homes or places of habitual residence, without crossing an internationally recognized State border, as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or other natural or human made disasters; b) “Arbitrary Internal Displacement” refers to acts of displacement or any other coercive act committed by any person or group of persons and directed against the civilian population, which are contrary to law, good morals, public order and public policy, and committed with abuse of authority, oppressive or wanton disregard of the right to life, liberty or property and abode of the residents of an area in which they are lawfully present, and characterized by those situations as defined in Section 5 under this Act; c) “Internally Displaced Person” hereinafter described as an IDP, refers to any individual who has suffered harm as a direct result of an arbitrary internal displacement as defined above. d) “Order of Battle” refers to a document made by the military, police or any law enforcement agency of the Government, listing the names of persons and organizations that it perceives to be enemies of the State and that it considers as legitimate military targets as combatants that it could deal with, through the use of military means allowed by domestic and international law. e) “Apartheid” refers to inhumane acts, including murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation or forcible transfer of population, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law, torture, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization and other forms of sexual violence of comparable gravity, persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, enforced disappearance of persons and other similar acts intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body, or to mental or physical health, committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.
f) “Ethnic Cleansing” refers to the use of force or intimidation to remove people of a certain ethnic or religious group from an area to make it ethnically homogenous, and carried out by means of murder, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, extrajudicial executions, rape and sexual assault, confinement of the civilian population, deliberate military attacks or threats of attacks on civilians and civilian areas, wanton destruction of property, mass murder, mistreatment of civilian prisoners and prisoners or war, use of civilians as human shields, destruction of cultural property, robbery of personal property, and attacks on hospitals, medical personnel, and locations with the red cross/red crescent emblem, and other similar criminal offenses. SEC. 4. Prevention of Internal Displacement.- All authorities, groups and persons, irrespective of their legal status and applied without any adverse distinction, shall respect and ensure compliance with their obligations under international law, including human rights law and humanitarian law, so as to prevent and avoid conditions that might lead to internal displacement of persons. SEC. 5. Prohibition Against Arbitrary Internal Displacement . The prohibited acts of arbitrary internal displacement shall include those committed: (1) based on policies of apartheid, “ethnic cleansing” or similar practices aimed at or resulting in altering the ethnic, religious or racial composition of the affected population; (2) in situations of armed conflict, unless the security of the civilians involved; (3) in cases of large-scale development projects, which are not justified by compelling and overriding public interest; (4) in cases of disasters, unless the safety and health of those affected requires their evacuation; (5) when used as a collective punishment; and (6) violations of the rights of IDPs during displacement under Sec.8 of this Act. An Order of Battle, official or otherwise, issued by the military, police or any law enforcement agency of the Government, shall not justify an arbitrary or internal displacement and shall subject the perpetrators to the penalties provided under section 10 of this Act.
SEC.6. Protection from Arbitrary Internal Displacement. - All authorities, including the local government units concerned, groups and persons, irrespective of their legal status and applied without any adverse distinction, shall protect its citizens against being arbitrarily displaced from his/her home or place of habitual residence. Displacement shall not be carried out in a manner that violates the rights to life, dignity, liberty and security of those affected. Any displacement not included in the preceding Section shall not last longer than what is required by the circumstances. In addition, the following safeguards against arbitrary internal displacement shall be observed by all concerned authorities, groups and persons: a) All feasible alternatives shall be explored in order to avoid displacement. Where no alternatives exist, all measures shall be undertaken to minimize displacement and its adverse effects on the population that will be affected; b) If displacement is inevitable, the authorities shall ensure, to the greatest practicable extent, that proper accommodation is effected in satisfactory conditions of safety, nutrition, health and hygiene, and that members of the same family are not separated; c) Indigenous peoples, minorities, peasants, pastoralists and other groups with a special dependency on and attachment to their lands shall be protected from displacement. d) In situations other than during the emergency stages of armed conflict and disaster, the following guarantees shall be complied with: (i) a specific decision shall be taken by the authority empowered by law to order such measures; (ii)full information on the reasons and procedure for the displacement and, where applicable, also on compensation and relocation; (iii) the free and informed consent of those persons to be displaced shall be sought; (iv) the authorities concerned shall endeavor to involve those affected, particularly women, in the planning and management of their relocation, resettlement and reintegration;
(v) law enforcement measures, where required, shall be carried out by competent legal authorities; and (vi) the right to an effective remedy, including the review of such decisions by appropriate judicial authorities, shall be respected. SEC.7. Permanent Prohibition Against Arbitrary Displacement. - The prohibition of arbitrary internal displacement and the fundamental safeguards for its prevention shall not be suspended under any circumstances, including political instability, threat of war, state of war or other public emergencies. SEC. 8. Rights During Displacement . - The following rights shall be afforded internally displaced persons during the period of their displacement, without discrimination of any kind, such as those based on race, colour, sex, language, religion or belief, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, legal or social status, age, disability, property, birth or on any other similar criteria: a) At the minimum, regardless of the circumstances, and without discrimination, competent authorities shall provide internally displaced persons with and ensure safe access to: (i) essential and adequate food and nutrition and potable water; (ii) basic shelter and housing; (iii) appropriate clothing; and, (iv) essential medical and dental services and sanitation, including psychological and social services, and essential drugs and medicines. b) Internally displaced persons shall be protected against genocide, murder, summary or arbitrary executions and enforced disappearances, including abduction or unacknowledged detention, threatening or resulting in death. They shall be protected from arbitrary and discriminatory arrest and detention as a result of their displacement and in no case shall they be taken hostage. Threats and incitement to commit the foregoing acts shall be prohibited; c) Attacks or other acts of violence against internally displaced persons who do not or no longer participate in hostilities shall be prohibited in all circumstances. In particular, internally displaced persons shall be protected against: (i) direct or indiscriminate attacks or other acts of violence, including the creation of areas wherein attacks on civilians are permitted;
(ii) starvation as a method of combat; (iii) their being used to shield objectives of the military, police or any armed group, from attack, or to shield, favor or impede operations of the military, police or any armed group; (iv) attacks against their camps, settlements or evacuation centers and, (v) the use of anti-personnel landmines. d) Internally displaced persons, whether or not their liberty has been restricted, shall be protected against: (i) rape, mutilation, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and other outrages upon personal dignity, such as acts of gender-specific violence, forced prostitution and any form of indecent assault; (ii) slavery or any contemporary form of slavery, such as sale into marriage, sexual exploitation, or forced labor of children; and, (iii) acts of violence intended to spread terror among internally displaced persons. Threats and incitement to commit any of the foregoing acts shall be prohibited; e) Internally displaced persons shall not be interned in or confined to a camp. If in exceptional circumstances such internment or confinement is necessary, it shall not last longer than what is required by the circumstances, as may be determined by the Commission on Human Rights; f) Internally displaced persons shall be protected against discriminatory practices of recruitment into any armed forces or groups as a result of their displacement. In particular, any cruel, inhuman or degrading practices that compel compliance or punish noncompliance with recruitment shall be prohibited in all circumstances; g) Every internally displaced person has the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his/her residence. In particular, he/she has the right to move freely in and out of camps or other settlements, subject to existing camp rules and regulations; h) Internally displaced persons, whether or not they are living in camps, shall not be discriminated against in the enjoyment of the following rights: (i) freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, opinion and expression;
(ii) to seek freely opportunities for employment and to participate in economic activities; (iii) to associate freely and participate equally in community affairs; (iv) to vote and participate in governmental and public affairs, including the right to have access to the means necessary to exercise these rights; and, (v) to communicate in a language they understand. i) Internally displaced persons have the right to: (i) to leave the country; (ii) the right to seek safety in another part of the country; (iii) seek asylum in another country; and, (iv) be protected against forcible return to resettlement in any place where their life, safety, liberty and/or health would be at risk. j) The authorities concerned shall issue to the internally displaced persons all documents necessary for the enjoyment and exercise of their legal rights. In particular, the authorities shall facilitate the issuance of new documents or the replacement of documents lost in the course of displacement, without imposing unreasonable conditions, and without discrimination against women and men, who shall have equal rights to obtain and to be issued the same in their own names; k) The authorities concerned shall endeavor to establish the fate and whereabouts of internally displaced persons reported missing, and cooperate with relevant international organizations engaged in this task. They shall inform the next of kin on the progress of the investigation and notify them of any result; l) The authorities concerned shall endeavor to collect and identify the mortal remains of those deceased, prevent their despoliation or mutilation, and facilitate the return of those remains to the next of kin or dispose of them respectfully; m) Grave sites of internally displaced persons shall be protected and respected in all circumstances and IDPs shall have the right of access to the grave sites of their deceased relatives; n) Members of internally displaced families who wish to remain together shall be allowed to do so. Families that are separated by displacement and whose personal liberty has been restricted by internment or confinement in camps, should be reunited as quickly as possible and all appropriate measures shall be taken to expedite the
reunion of such families, particularly when children are involved; o) The State shall encourage the cooperation of international and local humanitarian organizations engaged in the task of family reunification; p) Certain internally displaced persons, such as children, especially unaccompanied minors, expectant mothers, mothers with young children, female heads of household, persons with disabilities and elderly persons, including the wounded and the sick, shall be entitled to protection and assistance required by their condition and to treatment which takes into account their special needs, such as but not limited to their health needs, reproductive health care as well as appropriate counseling prevention of contagious and infectious diseases, including aids, and access to pyschological and social services; The right to privacy of married couples shall likewise be protected; q) The property and possessions of internally displaced persons shall in all circumstances be protected against the following acts: (i) pillage; (ii) direct or indiscriminate attacks or other acts of violence; (iii) being used to shield military operations or objectives; (iv) being made the object of reprisal; (v) being destroyed or appropriated as a form of collective punishment; and (vi) against destruction and arbitrary and illegal appropriation, occupation or use. r) The authorities concerned shall ensure that internally displaced persons, in particular, displaced children, receive education that shall be free and compulsory at the primary level. Special efforts should be made to ensure the full and equal participation of women and girls in educational program, should respect their cultural identity, language and religion. educational and training facilities shall be made available to IDPs, as soon as circumstances permit. The rights herein shall not be interpreted as restricting, modifying, or impairing the provisions of any international human rights or international humanitarian law instrument or rights granted to persons under domestic law.
SEC. 9. Assistance during displacement, return, resettlement or local integration of the displaced persons. - The military and law enforcement agencies conducting operations, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Health (DOH), the corresponding government hospital and the local government unit/s concerned shall provide immediate relief and humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons, families and communities. Humanitarian assistance shall not be diverted for any political or military reasons. All authorities concerned shall grant and facilitate the free passage of humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced and ensure rapid, safe and unimpeded access of persons engaged in giving such assistance, their transport and supplies, to the displaced communities. All concerned authorities shall assist the IDPs in the recovery of their property and possessions, and shall provide or assist these persons in obtaining appropriate compensation or other forms of just reparation. When providing assistance, international and local humanitarian organizations and other appropriate actors shall respect relevant international standards and codes of conduct and give due regard to the protection of the needs and human rights of the internally displaced persons. Such organizations' have the right to offer their services in support of the internally displaced and this shall be considered in good faith, and not as an unfriendly act or interference in the Government’s internal affairs. Consent thereto shall not be arbitrarily withheld, particularly when authorities concerned are unable or unwilling to provide the required humanitarian assistance. SEC. 10. Penalties. - a) The penalty of reclusion temporal shall be imposed upon the following persons: (1) Those who directly commit the act of arbitrary internal displacement; (2)Those who directly force, instigate, encourage, induce or incite others to commit the act of arbitrary internal displacement; (3) Those who cooperate in the act of arbitrary internal displacement by committing another act, without which the act of arbitrary internal displacement
would not have been carried out; (4)Those commanding officers, as well as all elements of the military, police and/or other law enforcement agencies, who actually and/or directly participate in the act of arbitrary internal displacement; (5) Those who cooperated in the execution of the act of arbitrary internal displacement by previous or simultaneous acts. (6) Those commanding officers of the military, police or other law enforcement agencies, or other authorities, for acts of arbitrary internal displacement committed by forces under his/her effective command and control, or effective authority and control as the case may be, as a result of his/her failure to exercise control properly over such forces, where said commanding officers or authorities knew or, owing to the circumstances at the time, should have known that the forces were committing or about to commit such crimes, and failed to take all necessary and reasonable means within his/her power to prevent or repress their commission, or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution. b) The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon those who attempt to commit the offense of arbitrary internal displacement. c) The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon the persons who, having knowledge of the act of arbitrary or internal displacement, and without having participated therein, either as principals or accomplices, took part subsequent to its commission in any of the following manner: (1)By themselves profiting from or assisting the offender to profit from the effects of the act of arbitrary internal displacement; (2)By concealing the act of arbitrary internal displacement, and/or destroying the effects or instruments thereof, in order to prevent its discovery; (3)By harboring, concealing, or assisting in the escape of the principal(s) in the act of arbitrary internal displacement, provided the accessory acts are done with the abuse of the official’s public functions.
d) The penalty of prision correccional shall be imposed upon those who threaten to commit the act of arbitrary internal displacement. e) A public official or employee found criminally liable of having committed the prohibited acts provided for in Sections 5, 6, 7 8 and 9 of this Act shall also be held administratively liable. f) The accessory penalties pertaining to the penalties of reclusion temporal and prision mayor shall be imposed. g) The penalty of prision correccional shall be imposed upon those who violate any of the rights as provided for in Sec. 8 of this Act. SEC. 11. Liability of Concerned Law Enforcement Agency. - Where the operation conducted by the military, police and/or other law enforcement agencies causes damage to internally displaced persons, the concerned military, police and/or other law enforcement agency shall provide jointly and severally the necessary financial assistance for the return, resettlement or local integration of internally displaced persons. SEC.12. Jurisdiction of Courts. – The proper and competent civilian courts shall have jurisdiction over the offense of arbitrary displacement as defined and penalized in this Act. SEC. 13. Compensation. - The law enforcement agency/ies conducting the operation that caused arbitrary internal displacement, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the local government unit/s concerned shall award the following: 1) Where death of an individual victim occurs in the course of an operation conducted by the military, police and/or other law enforcement agencies, the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) shall be granted to the legal heirs of the victim by way of a death benefit; 2) Where physical, emotional and/or psychological injury is caused to an individual victim in the course of an operation conducted by the military, police and/or other law enforcement agencies, actual and compensatory damages, including moral, nominal, exemplary, and temperate damages resulting from such injury, shall be reimbursed; and, 3) Where loss of or damage to property of an individual victim is caused in the course of an operation conducted by the military, police and/or other law enforcement agencies, the amount corresponding to the fair market value of the
property lost or destroyed or the amount mutually agreed upon, whichever is higher, shall be paid to the victim. 4) Non-state actors who caused arbitrary internal displacement shall be similarly held liable to pay the amounts as stated in Sec. 13 herein. SEC.14. Role of the Commission of Human Rights. - The Commission of Human Rights (CHR) shall be designated as the institutional focal point for internally displaced persons. As such, the CHR shall have the following additional functions: a) To monitor IDP conditions to ensure that their rights are respected and protected in all phases of displacement; b) To conduct inquiries, document violations of human rights, assist IDPs in seeking redress of grievances and work to ensure an effective response by the concerned authorities; c) To investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations against IDPs involving civil and political rights in accordance with Section 18(1) of Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution; d) To follow up on early warning and ensure effective measures to protect the civilian population against internal displacement; e) To advise the government on the rights of IDPs towards the shaping of a sound national policy and legislation to effectively address situations of internal displacement; f) To undertake educational activities and training programs for state authorities, including the armed forces; g) To hold public information drives on the protection and rights of IDPs,and h) To carry out such other acts that may be necessary to fully implement the purposes. SEC.15. Appropriations. - The amount of Fifty Million Pesos (P50,000,000) shall be appropriated to the Commission on Human Rights for the initial implementation of the provisions of this Act. The subsequent annual funding for the implementation of this Act shall be included in the General Appropriations Act.
SEC.16. Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. - A Joint Congressional Oversight Committee is hereby created, composed of the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and seven (7) other Senators designated by the Senate President, and the Chairman of the House Committee on Human Rights, and seven (7) other Members of the House of Representatives, designated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives: Provided, That, of the seven (7) members to be designated by each House of Congress, four (4) should represent the Majority and three (3) from the Minority. The Joint Congressional Oversight Committee shall have the power to review, revise, amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Commission on Human Rights. The Joint Congressional Oversight Committee shall also have the power to inquire into, summon and investigate the Orders of Battle that are created pursuant to this Act, as well as the legal and factual justifications for the inclusion of specific persons and groups in the said Orders of Battle. In this regard, the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee may issue mandatory process directing the transmission of all such documents relevant and necessary for the Committee to determine the validity of the inclusion of specific persons or groups in the Orders of Battle. For this purpose, the highest ranking officers or heads of offices shall be charged with testifying before the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee in relation to any inquiries on the Orders of Battle. The defense of National Security may not prevent the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee from inquiring into the factual and/or legal bases for the creation of a specific Order of Battle or the inclusion of specific persons/groups in the said Orders of Battle. Should there be a need to inquire into the factual basis for the invocation of “national security,” the Committee shall adjourn the public hearing, convene in executive session and hear the factual basis for such invocation. Should the Committee be satisfied of the factual basis, the Committee will reflect this finding on the record. Should the basis not be satisfactory to the Committee, the public hearing will continue and the invocation may not be used as justification to prevent an inquiry into the factual or legal basis for the creation of the Order of Battle or the inclusion of specific names of persons or groups. SEC. 17. Implementing Rules and Regulations. - The Commission on Human Rights shall issue the necessary rules and regulations to effectively implement the provisions of this Act within sixty (60) days from its effectivity. The Implementing Rules and Regulations shall be submitted to the Joint Congressional Oversight
Committee created by virtue of this Act for prior approval. In the formulation of the rules and regulations, the Commission shall coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of National Defense, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Health, and shall likewise consult with the local government units and human rights non-governmental organizations and people's organizations. SEC. 18. Repealing Clause. - All laws, decrees, executive orders, memorandum orders, memorandum circulars, administrative orders, ordinances or any part thereof, which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, are hereby deemed repealed or modified accordingly. SEC. 19. Separability Clause. - If any part or provision of this Act shall be declared unconstitutional or invalid, other provisions hereof which are not affected thereby shall remain in full force and effect. SEC. 20. Effectivity. - This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days upon its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of national circulation. APPROVED,
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