“The BARMM has the most number of internally displaced people (IDPs), which is why we need a law that outlines and affirms the rights of IDPs,” Minority Floor Leader Laisa Alamia said during an inter-agency coordination meeting for the assessment of the Balik Barangay Program for Indigenous Persons and IDPs in Patikul, Sulu.

The said assessment was conducted by the National Anti-Poverty Commission to “examine the direct and indirect impacts of armed conflict and disaster in the said municipality and evaluate the availability of basic services provided to the internally displaced IPs.” The assessment also looked into “the effectiveness of people-centered poverty alleviation interventions and community-driven development.”

MP Alamia is the principal author of the IDP Rights Bill that was filed in the Bangsamoro Parliament last November. The said bill ensures the fulfillment of IDP rights and can guide the regional government’s response to IDP needs and vulnerabilities, along with the United Nations’ guiding principles on internal displacement.

“The bill adopts a rights-based approach to internal displacement, consistent with the Constitution and the standards set by international law, and outlines the responsibility of government agencies and state forces during and after displacement,” MP Alamia said.

Among the rights that are enshrined in the IDP Rights Bill are the provision and access to basic necessities; recognition, issuance, and replacement of documents; protection against criminal offenses and other unlawful acts; and freedom of movement. 

MP Alamia looks forward to gaining more support from other members of parliament, especially with the urgency and importance of the bill given the Bangsamoro’s context.