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Settlement Status and Perceptions of Location

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Several questions in the survey aimed at improving understanding of the factors that influence settlement choices among respondents. The results are presented by settlement status.

Currently displaced households

Across the settlement strata, it was the households still displaced at the time of the survey who were consistently the worst off and felt the least secure. They face numerous and complex barriers to resettlement.The main constraints to return identified by these households was the destruction of their housing (48%), the lack of security (31%), and the lack of employment opportunities (13%). When

Table 9: Characteristics of households displaced at the time of the survey

  • Highest exposure to conflict-related violence including destruction of the dwelling (53%) and loss of goods or harvest (42%)
  • Worst average ranking of services including access to education (53%) and health care (61%), as well as access to markets. Nonetheless, the delivery of education and health is rated to be better in the place of displacement than the place of origin
  • Lowest levels of trust toward individuals from other clans, ethnic groups, or religion
  • Highest reliance on informal sources of information (53%)
  • Worst general sense of security
  • Highest reported exposure to violence, including the destruction of their house (56%), physical assault (24%) and witnessing killing (24%).
  • Worst ranking of access to land and lowest level of home ownership
  • Most frequent use of basic construction material for the dwelling
  • Highest proportion of households using no toilet (45%)
  • Highest proportion of household in the two poorest quintiles (74%, with 36% in the poorest quintile)
  • Highest proportion of households adopting the production of charcoal as a livelihood strategy.
  • Lowest average expenditure, reflecting the low income, and highest proportion of expenditures devoted to food
  • Highest proportion of households with a poor (10%) or borderline (45%) food consumption score

When asked to compare their current place of living with their place of origin, displaced households found little advantage to their current location. A majority did rank access to education and health services as better, and most found security to be better or the same. However, every other aspect was considered to be similar or worse compared to their place of origin, including access to food, water, land, and employment. These results suggest that displacement locations have little pulling effect on displaced households, but rather that practical constraints (e.g. housing) prevent householdsfrom returning.

Figure 43: Comparison of settlement sites among displaced households

Figure 43 -  Comparison of settlement sites among displaced households

When asked where they would rather go now from their displacement location, just one third (31%) of the displaced respondents indicated wanting to return to their sitio/purok of origin. About the same proportion (32%) would rather stay in another Barangay but in the same municipality (32%), while 15 percent wanted to stay in the same Barangay, but another sitio. One fifth (22%) indicated wanting to settle in a different municipality (15%) or different province (7%).

Households Returned Home

Violent conflict and displacement has grave impacts on the socio-economic fabric and infrastructures in the areas of origin. The experience can often lead to the loss of assets and means of making of living. Households that had returned home, therefore, were almost as vulnerable as those who were still displaced and their problems of food insecurity, income poverty and poor access to services were almost as severe. Returnees saw their access to land and employment as being better than in the displacement site, most also judged their access to health and education to be worse.

Table 10: Characteristics of households returned home at the time of the survey

Compared to the households that were never displaced or those who resettled elsewhere, those who returned home had on average:

  • A low ranking of access to amenities and services including access to markets and clean water,
  • Higher reliance on informal sources of information,
  • Higher prevalence of poverty (asset wealth) and food insecurity (food consumption score),
  • Higher proportion of households adopting a farmer livelihood strategy, characterized by a dependency on agriculture and low income levels.
Lower levels of expenditures and higher proportion of expenditures devoted to food.

Most of the displaced households that hadreturned to their place of origin indicated that theyhad managed to recover both their residential plot (86%) and their farmland (72%).Only in Sultan Kudarat did virtually all displaced households retrieve their land when returning (95%). Elsewhere, the proportion was 75 percent or less, with the lowest proportion found in Maguindanao (69%). In contrast, over 85 percent of the displaced households retrieved their residential plot upon resettling home in every province, except Lanaodel Sur (70%).

When comparing their place of origin and displacement location, the households found no advantage to the displacement site, including in terms of security or access to services. Rather most households reported the conditions in both sites to be similar, with the site of origin being more frequently seen as providing better access to land and employment. When considering the option of resettling elsewhere, most households indicated that their place of origin offered better access to farmland (30%), employment (21%), food (17%), and education (14%).

Figure 44: Comparison of settlement sites among households who returned home

Figure 44 -  Comparison of settlement sites among households who returned home

Households Resettled Elsewhere

When comparing their new location with their place of origin, the new settlers found that their new place held advantages over their place of origin with respect to several of the factors explored. A larger proportion ranked access to education, health care, security, and employment opportunities to be better in the new location. However, support from community and from Barangay officials were most frequently considered to be similar in both sites, as well as access to water and food.

Figure 45: Comparison of settlement sites among households who resettled elsewhere

Figure 45 -  Comparison of settlement sites among households who resettled elsewhere

When provided with various hypothetical options, only 13 percent of those who resettled in a new site said they would return to their place of origin, suggesting that most see the move as being permanent. The factors that led the household to choose that specific location were identified as access to education (27%), access to land (25%), access to employment (16%), as well as the lack of money to return (16%).

Figure 46: Factors influencing settlement choices

Figure 46 -  Factors influencing settlement choices