In Asia and the Middle East, the most prevailing issue for many decades has been the internal displacements of populations due to armed conflicts and wars. The plight of the hapless victims of displacements is deplorable. In the Philippines, mainly in the southern Mindanao regions, internal displacements due to acts of violence and armed conflicts between the military forces and Moro1 Front groups have been the most predominant.
In times of local armed conflicts and the ensuing internal displacements, women and children account for the biggest casualties and are the most vulnerable to risks of health, social dislocation, and loss of property or even life. Accounts of women and children affected by armed conflicts and war indicate that they suffer mainly due to displacement and its consequence of poor access to food, safe drinking water, privacy, reproductive health (RH) care, and psychological support (NSO, 2002).
Fr. Eliseo Mercado, OMI (in NDURC, 2004) contends that internal displacement is one of the five urgent issues confronting Mindanao. In Central Mindanao, in particular, the armed conflict between the Philippine military and the Moro Fronts since the early 1960s has caused displacements in many communities. The affected families usually live as internally displaced persons (IDPs) for extended periods away from their homes and sources of livelihood. Separated from kin and community support systems, they are rendered most vulnerable to health risks and hazards.