Philippines: Comprehensive response to wave of displacement crises needed
Mass devastation in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the central Philippines on 8 November, impacted over 13 million people and left 4 million people displaced. (Photo: IRIN/Jason Gutierrez, November 2013)
Download Asia-Pacific Overview
31 December 2012
An estimated 178,000 people were displaced by conflict and violence during 2012 in Mindanao in the southern Philippines, where the government has been fighting insurgent groups since the 1970s. For most, displacement was short-lived, and only a few thousand people were unable to return by the end of the year.
Armed clashes between the government and Muslim insurgents and violence between local clans were the main causes of displacement, which took place primarily in the Muslim-majority provinces of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Clashes between government forces and communist rebels of the New People’s Army (NPA) also forced people to flee their homes, in most cases in resource-rich indigenous territories in northern and eastern Mindanao.
Disasters are also major causes of displacement in Mindanao, affecting hundreds of thousands of people every year and often making groups already displaced by conflict and violence more vulnerable. Almost exactly a year after tropical storm Sendong devastated the northern cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, typhoon Pablo struck eastern Mindanao in December 2012, killing more than 1,000 people, displacing nearly a million and affecting more than six million. The impact of both storms was made worse by environmental degradation caused by poorly regulated mining and logging activities.
IDPs and returnees in Mindanao tend to live in insecure environments prone to violence and where the rule of law is often absent. They are exposed to a range of threats, including abuses by armed groups, unexploded ordnance and gender-based violence. Military operations and counter-insurgency tactics sometimes restrict IDPs’ rights, including their freedom of movement and access to food and livelihoods. Poverty is a key driver of onward migration, with people who lost their assets and livelihoods in their initial displacement forced to move again in search of work. This increases IDPs’ vulnerability. Children in particular have to drop out of school, and they face a significant risk of falling prey to human traffickers or being recruited into armed groups.
The cycle of violence and displacement in many areas in Mindanao tends to have long-lasting effects, and displacement generally does not end when IDPs return. An assessment conducted in September 2012 in 33 municipalities across Mindanao identified more than 500,000 people, mainly IDPs and returnees, who still needed humanitarian and recovery assistance. Nearly half had been affected by armed conflict and most were located in Maguindanao, the province by far the hardest-hit.
Three out of four households in Maguindanao have fled twice or more in the past ten years. Many of those who returned to the province following the end of the 2008 to 2009 conflict between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have struggled to access basic services and re-establish their livelihoods, the result both of recurrent flooding and sporadic fighting, mainly caused by clan feuds. Most received no assistance when they returned.
The government and its international partners have made significant efforts to address IDPs’ immediate humanitarian needs, but a lack of funding has often undermined the effectiveness of early recovery and rehabilitation programmes. Assistance has also been hampered by weak institutions, poor capacity and a lack of downward accountability by local authorities.
In October 2012, the government and MILF signed a framework agreement which provides for the creation of the Bangsamoro, a new political entity to replace ARMM by 2016. This represents a chance to end the conflict and address the underlying causes of displacement.
Efforts to develop new legislation on displacement progressed well during the year, and in February 2013 congress enacted the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Act. Under the new law, which provides for the protection and assistance of people displaced by both conflict and natural disasters, the Philippines Commission on Human Rights (PCHR) becomes the government’s institutional focal point for IDPs.
At the end of 2012, the UN requested a total of $100 million to fund its humanitarian and recovery programmes in Mindanao in 2013. Of the total, a third is to support its continuing operations in central Mindanao and the rest is to respond to the humanitarian needs arising from typhoon Pablo.
The UN will continue to support efforts to assist people affected by conflict and disaster in 2013, and it will also seek to strengthen its collaboration with the government and the humanitarian and development communities with the longer term aim of stabilising conflict-affected areas and facilitating durable solutions for IDPs.
Philippines: Durable solutions needed for people displaced by fighting and floods
31 October 2013
Some 115,000 people remain displaced seven weeks after being forced to flee their homes by fighting that broke out between the government and the rebels of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the city of Zamboanga and which spread to the nearby province of Basilan. In addition, severe flooding in early October compounded the challenges facing both regions. Of those displaced, it is estimated that 33,000 people fled their homes due to the floods .
Return remains difficult for most of the IDPs due to the destruction of their homes caused by both the fighting and the flooding, restrictions imposed by the military engaged in unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearing operations, and for some, lack of property titles . For the residents of more than 10,000 homes damaged or destroyed by the fighting , temporary shelters will be constructed inside the evacuation centres; others will be relocated to resettlement sites.
Living conditions in the 46 evacuation centres are reported to have deteriorated as a consequence of the prolonged stay of the displaced but also due to the flooding. Most camps remain congested with a lack of adequate sanitation , clean water, and bathing facilities. IDPs struggle to meet their food needs and the supply of non-food items such as kitchen utensils is insufficient. IDPs hosted outside the official camps are the worst off as many are not registered and receive little or no assistance. Of the $25 million requested by the UN Action Plan , only $5 million has been secured so far.
Philippines: comprehensive response to wave of displacement crises needed
9 December 2013
Within the last 12 months, the Philippines has experienced three major natural hazard-related disasters - typhoon Bopha in December 2012, the Bohol earthquake in October 2013 and typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. These three disasters and others have directly affected 23 million people and internally displaceding as many as eight million. Nearly 1.4 million homes have been damaged or destroyed, and millions of livelihoods lost. As of early December 2013, it was estimated that around 4.5 were displaced throughout the country, most of them in Western and Eastern Visayas, the regions most affected by Haiyan. In Mindanao, despite significant progress in the peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) -the main Muslim rebel group-ongoing conflicts between the government and several other rebel groups, and clan-related violence, have continued to cause displacement, forcing nearly 200,000 people to flee their homes since January 2013. This includes an estimated 120,000 people who fled fighting in Zamboanga city in September 2013, of whom at least 72,000 are still displaced.
||Comprehensive response to wave of displacement crises needed (9 December 2013) HTML | PDF
Internal Displacement Profile
"Causes and Background","Background","Causes of displacement"
"IDP Population Figures","Number of IDPs","Location (s) of IDP populations","IDP Demographic structure"
"IDP Population Movements and Patterns","Patterns of movement"
"Physical Security and Integrity","Physical security","dignity","mental and moral integrity","Liberty and freedom of movement"
"Basic Necessities of Life","General","Food and water","Shelter and housing","Medical care and sanitation"
"Property, Livelihoods, Education and Other Economic, Social and Cultural Rights","Land and Property","Primary education and educational programmes","Work and livelihood opportunities and coping strategies","Other economic","social and cultural rights"
"Family Life, Participation, Access to Justice and Other Civil and Political Rights","Public participation and access to information","Access to justice"
"Protection of Special Categories of IDPs (Age, Gender, Diversity)","Gender - Women and Men","Boys","girls and adolescents","Indigenous peoples","minorities","peasants","pastoralists and other groups with a special dependency on and attachment to their lands"
"Durable Solutions (Return, Local Integration, Settlement Elsewhere in the Country)","Documented returns","settled locally and settled elsewhere","Prospects for and obstacles to voluntary return","local settlement and settlement elsewhere","Support for return integration and reintegration"
"National and International Response","International human rights and humanitarian law framework including references to the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement","National Response","Humanitarian access and assistance","International Response"
Previous Profile updates
- Key Documents
- Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan Action Plan November 2013, OCHA, 12 November 2013
- Protection Assessment: Zamboanga and Basilan Emergency, Protection Cluster, Mindanao, Philippines, 22 October 2013
- Philippines: Zamboanga City and Basil an Action Plan (Revised), OCHA, 18 October 2013
- Living in the shadows - Displaced Lumads locked in a cycle of poverty, IDMC, 9 August 2013
- Gender and Livelihoods among Internally Displaced Persons in Mindanao, Philippines, Brookings Institution, 11 July 2013
- A bend in the road is not the end of the road – the veto of the IDP Act in the Philippines, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), 13 June 2013
- An Act Protecting the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Providing Penalties for Violations Therof and for Other Purposes, Philippine Congress, 5 February 2013
- Disaster-induced displacement in the Philippines, IDMC, 29 January 2013
- Protection cluster fact sheet typhoon Bopha response (as of 14 January 2013), Protection Cluster, Mindanao, Philippines, 14 January 2013
- PC Dashboard - Forced displacement and return - Issue No 8 - January-December 2012, Protection Cluster, Mindanao, Philippines, 2013
- Philippines (Mindanao) Humanitarian Action Plan 2013, OCHA, 27 November 2012
- The new peace agreement in the Philippines is an opportunity to address internal displacement in Mindanao, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), 19 October 2012
- Violent Conflicts and Displacement in Central Mindanao - Challenges for recovery and development - Key findings, WB and WFP, 15 February 2012
- Violent Conflicts and Displacement in Central Mindanao - Challenges for recovery and development, World Bank (WB) and World Food Programme (WFP), 15 February 2012
- Urban Safety Profile in ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), in Autonomy and Peace Review, Volume No. 6, Issue No. 4, October-December 2010, Institute of Autonomy and Governance (IAG), 8 June 2011
- The Search for Durable Solutions - Armed Conflict and Forced Displacement in Mindanao, Philippines, WB, March 2011
- Follow-up Emergency Nutritional Assessment of the Conflict-Affected Communities in Central Mindanao, Philippines, Save the Children in the Philippines (SCiPHL), 6 August 2010
- Cycle of conflict and neglect - Mindanao's displacement and protection crisis, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), October 2009
- Shattered Lives: Beyond the 2009-2009 Mindanao armed conflict, AI, 25 August 2009
- Shattered peace in Mindanao: the human cost of conflict in the Philippines, AI, 29 October 2008