Benefits for civilian caught in crossfire sought


A lawmaker has moved to provide compensation and benefits for civilians caught in the crossfire between the rebels and the military.

Rep. Diosdado M. Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur) filed House Bill 5225, which also mandates the reimbursement of expenses incurred by civilians for their hospitalization and medical treatment.

The civilians caught in crossfire shall likewise be paid the wages they lost as a result of the injury they suffered, the bill, to be known as the “Civilian Compensation Act of 2011,” provides.

In case of death, the civilians shall receive an indemnity amounting to not more than P30,000, the bill, co-authored by Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga), adds.

“There must be a designed program that would help the civilians accidentally harmed by their combat operations. It will not eliminate the suffering of civilians in conflict. But as a demonstration of common humanity and sympathy, it helps warring parties and civilian survivors to build a lasting peace in the aftermath of war,” Arroyo said.

Citing reports from the Office of the Civil Defense, Arroyo said armed conflicts between two rebel factions have forced some 3,600 civilians to flee their communities in the Southern part of the country.

The situation in Central Mindanao remains critical as troops of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) continue to engage in skirmishes, Arroyo


“This is a gap in the rules that govern war. And it has significant repercussions. The failure to recognize civilian losses can promote more violence, and also affects poverty, women’s rights, children’s

wellbeing, reconstruction, and reconciliation. It thereby affects global security itself,” Arroyo said.

In pushing for the immediate approval of the bill, Arroyo said “providing recognition and help to civilians harmed during combat may also take the form of monetary payments, rebuilding, livelihood assistance programs, or other dignifying gestures unique to each conflict.”

The bill establishes the civilian compensation fund, which shall be administered by the Commission on Human Rights. The Commission shall provide emergency housing, food and medical benefits to civilians

concerned. Furthermore, the Commission shall indemnify the material loss incurred by civilians caught in the crossfire.


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