MANILA, Jan. 23, 2014— The Philippine’s new cardinal is seeking the passage of a law that seeks to protect the rights of more than 1 million internally displaced people (IDP) in the country.
Cardinal-designate Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato particularly backed the passage of the “Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Act of 2013” which was vetoed by President Aquino last year.
The church official stressed the need for such measure as many people continue to be uprooted by armed conflict, violence and natural disasters.
“We need a law. An executive order or directive or even a law is necessary so that government agencies and civil society will be better guided by that,” Quevedo said.
“It would be good with regards to the 40 years of conflict in Mindanao,” said the first cardinal in troubled regions of Southern Philippines.
He cited as example the recent standoff between government forces and the Morro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga City, which displaced more than 70,000 people.
Quevedo also noted how several parts of Mindanao continue to struggle with the devastation caused by previous typhoons with many still living in makeshift homes.
According to him, the Church, for one, is in need for better guidance on how to go about assisting IDPs.
“Our brothers and sisters there, they keep on striving and the Church in the Philippines’ help for internally displaced persons is continuing,” said Quevedo.
In May 2013, Aquino vetoed Senate Bill No. 3317 and House Bill No. 5627 over some provisions, which according to him, not in accordance with the Constitution.
In the meantime, Quevedo appealed to the government to ensure adequate support for the IDPs and ensure that their rights are protected.
“They have the responsibilities of helping the emergency situations… So we are appealing to them to fast track their projects for the displaced persons,” he added.
Pope Francis recently named Quevedo as among the 19 new cardinals, from 12 countries in five continents. They will be installed in a consistory on February 22, 2014 at Vatican City in Rome. (CBCPNews)