The Commission on Higher Education said typhoon “Ulysses” highlighted the need to immediately pass and implement Senate Bill No. 3317 or the An Act Protecting the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons.

11012020 ROLLY ROMERO 2 1 1024x683 - CHR backs bill protecting rights of internally displaced persons
(JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The CHR said during the “Tanggol Karapatan” episode hosted by Radyo Veritas Saturday that the bill, once implemented, will set out the role of the government to aid internally displaced persons who lost their homes and properties due to natural disasters, violence, or armed conflict.

Prof. Raymund Rosuelo, chief of CHR Research and Knowledge Management Division, said that the law should consider the human rights of IDPs. He knows that there is “tension” whenever people are forced to evacuate their homes in anticipation of typhoons and other calamities.

The government, as duty bearers of the rights of the citizenry, has to explain why they have to be evacuated. Rosuelo added that the government should ensure that they will be well taken care of even as they leave their homes.

“They should not be made worse off in the manner the government addresses their situation,” he said.

Rosuelo acknowledged that the situation now is “unique” because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So while Filipinos are used to calamities, the way the government handles the evacuation centers has to be modified to ensure minimum health standards.

He stressed the need to distribute face masks and adhere to strict physical distancing now compared to before when evacuees are “nakalatag lang sa isang lugar, dikit-dikit (just sprawled all over one place, close to one another).”

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