2013 is a time of immense opportunity and change in Mindanao. After four decades of conflict, a Framework Agreement has been reached between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) placing Mindanao on the path to sustainable peace.
Over the next three years there is much to be done: a Transition Commission will be established to draft a new Basic Law; a plebiscite will be held; the law will be promulgated and ratified; and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will be replaced by a new autonomous political entity – the Bangsamoro.
While these foundations for lasting peace are being laid, the Government still confronts a significant challenge in responding to the needs of people affected by repeated cycles of violent conflict and natural disasters. The Philippines is the third most disaster-prone country in the world, frequently hit by flooding, landslides, earthquakes and tsunamis. In 2011, 78 earthquakes, 121 flooding and flash floods, 66 rain-induced landslides, and 19 tropical cyclones occurred, the most devastating being Tropical Storm Washi which hit the north-east in December 2011 leaving more than 1,500 people dead, some 40,000 houses destroyed and an estimated 430,900 people displaced. In regard to other displacement, while in recent times a ceasefire has held between the MILF and the Government, from January to September 2012 there were approximately 51,000 people displaced from clan feuds known as rido and 100,800 people displaced from violent conflict (communist insurgency and armed lawless elements). Also, while there is every expectation that the on-going peace negotiations will maintain the ceasefire, new security challenges may emerge, as elements opposed to the peace agreement may cause further instability and displacement. National and local elections scheduled for May 2013 may also have the potential for an outbreak of violence, which has historically also led to displacement.
This Humanitarian Action Plan (HAP) aims to address the most critical humanitarian needs in support of national and local efforts, build resilience amongst the affected people and strengthen capacities to prepare for and respond to crises. Highest-priority humanitarian needs are food, nutrition, shelter, WASH, protection and re-establishing livelihoods. An important contribution of this HAP is building a partnership with the government and capacity-building, rather than capacity substitution. This action plan therefore reflects a continuing process towards the humanitarian community contributing to government-led preparedness and long-term solutions. This includes for example ensuring contingency plans are in place, emergency supplies prepositioned, communities are ready and organised, and suitable evacuation sites identified and equipped, thereby reducing or eliminating the use of schools as evacuation centres.
In 2013, the humanitarian operation in Mindanao will support government efforts to respond to the assessed humanitarian and protection needs of affected people and related capacity-building efforts, and to assist affected people in recovery, whether they have returned, relocated, or remain displaced. A total of US$35.5 million is requested in 2013 to deliver an integrated programme of support to government efforts in responding to the needs of 219,000 affected people and their communities.
2013 will also see a collaborative effort between the government and the humanitarian and development community to elaborate a multi-year programme of support commencing in 2014, which aims to arrive at durable solutions for affected communities.These actions will contribute to the overall effort towards sustained peace and development during this historic time of change in Mindanao.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.