The Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) in partnership with the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) drafted a regional Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Protection Bill for submission to the BTA parliament. MSSD is set to sponsor the bill before the Bangsamoro Parliament.
The proposed bill is aimed at providing all the needed support to the IDPs as well as protecting and promoting their rights.
The hard work is the end-product of a nine-month advocacy project implemented through the UNHCR-supported project called “Support to Advocacy Activities Leading to the Passage of BARMM IDP Protection Law”. It engaged key stakeholders in the drafting of the proposed bill including government officials, civil society organizations, and most importantly, the IDPs and their leaders through series of consultations, fora and assemblies held in different evacuation centers across BARMM between April and December of 2021.
As a start-up, the project team was deployed to the different war-affected communities to gather and consolidate relevant information for the drafting of a bill. In the process of the project stakeholders’ mapping, CBCS and its partner NGOs were able to identify strong allies in the communities, as well as relevant stakeholders which contributed strongly to the success of the project implementation. Despite the challenges posed by the Covid 19 restrictions, travel bans and conflicts in some areas last year the project managed to accomplish the targets on time and as planned.
The draft regional IDP bill has been submitted to the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) last 31 December 2021. The Regional IDP Protection Bill was a source of inspiration and became instrumental for the LGU of South Upi, Maguindanao to adopt its own version of the bill via a municipal ordinance promoting the protection of IDPs in their territorial jurisdiction.Meanwhile, UNHCR Head of Office and IM expert for BARMM, Cora Lagamayo expressed that UNHCR and CBCS will continue to prioritize their lobby work and advocacy activities as well as planned projects in support to the protection and upholding the rights of the IDPs in the region.