Rep. Rodriguez files bill penalizing ‘war profiteers’
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 November) – “War profiteers” taking advantage of relief goods for internally displaced persons (IDPs) face between six and 12 years of imprisonment under House Bill 48 filed by Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.
The proposed “Internal Displacement Act of 2010” also seeks to ban arbitrary displacements known as “hamletting” and provides mechanisms that will ensure respect for the rights of the IDPs.
It seeks to improve the protection of IDPs by ensuring their access to “essential and adequate food and nutrition and potable water, basic shelter and housing, appropriate clothing and essential medical and dental services and sanitation, including psychological and social services, essential drugs and medicine.”
“Government should ensure that the rights and lives of internally displaced persons should not be put at risk in times of conflicts,” Rodriguez said in an email to MindaNews.
Rufus’ brother, Abante Mindanao Rep. Maximo Rodriguez, co-authored the bill.
Rodriguez originally introduced the proposed measure as House Bill 5864 during the Fourteenth Congress. The House of Representatives approved it on March 5, 2009. But the Senate did not act on it.
Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, welcomed HB 48.
“There are always reports of war profiteering in the conflict areas. It is very immoral to make money at the expense of the suffering,” Deles told MindaNews at the sidelines of the 6th Mindanao Media Summit here.
But Deles said that Rodriguez should provide a clear mechanism in establishing the guilt of war profiteers.
“It is a very hard crime to punish. There are many ways to profit from war,” she said.
Deles said providing firearms and ammunition can also be considered war profiteering.
The Philippines ranks third after Burma and Indonesia with the most number of IDPs in Asia and is among the top 40 countries in the world where internal displacement is considered a significant phenomenon.
According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, as of the first semester of 2006, some 400,000 families were affected by internal displacement caused by natural and manmade disasters, armed conflict and “development aggression”. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)