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Community-based Dialogues Project (CBD)
A Look Back on the CBD in Besao, Mountain Province

Last March 28-30, 2023, the Cordillera CBD Core Group conducted a 3-day consultation dialogue with residents of Besao municipality in Mountain Province.


This is a follow-up activity, the purpose of which is to monitor and assess the contribution of the Community-Based Dialogue (CBD) in the improvement of the human rights situation, and its effectiveness as a process in terms of addressing human rights issues in the community.  It also hopes to find out if there has been a change after the CBD was conducted more than three years ago and if there are other suggestions/recommendations of stakeholders (local government, AFP, PNP, CSOs, community members) to improve the community’s human rights situation.

Besao was once an NPA-influenced area in Mountain Province and community members were represented during the CBD conducted on August 2018 in Bontoc, Mountain Province. 


The assessment gathered qualitative information through focus group discussions (FGD) with community representatives; and interview with key informants (KII) from the AFP, PNP, LGUs and CSOs; with the end in view to support qualitative improvement to the CBD project in the future.

Key evaluation questions were raised as a (i) review of the 2018 CBD and in (ii) assessing CBD as a process.

Some of the findings include: (i) at present, there are no recorded cases/allegations/complaints of illegal arrest; (ii) members of the community volunteered to surrender loose firearms; (iii) at present, no more military encampment but the community in Dandanac provided a space for barracks/detachment;  (iv) military personnel are now respectful and give positive response to complaints of the community; (v) “safe conduct pass” is now being practiced; (v) positive changes in the community were achieved through proper coordination, dialogue and consultation with the barangay captain, local leaders, and the community;  (vi) designated space for the military has the consent of the community; (vii) CBD is a good avenue for collaboration among stakeholders geared towards the goal of sustainable peace and development; and (viii) most participants see the CBD as a good avenue to raise their concerns provided that agreements are honored.


Among the recommendations were: (i) continuity/sustainability of the CBD project; (ii) conduct of pre-entry orientation to AFP personnel who will be conducting Community-Support Program (CSP) in the community, on the way of life of the community and should undergo cultural sensitivity trainings before being immersed in the barangays; (iii) deployment of Army personnel coming from the local level, and (iv) there should also be an orientation on the CSP with the barangay Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (IPMR) and barangay captains in the area.

About 40 participants attended the activity.  Besao Municipal Mayor Bryne O. Bacwaden and Vice Mayor Elizabeth A. Buyagan gave the welcome message to the participants.

The CBD project is a partnership of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Alternative Law Groups (ALG), and Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation/Germany (HSF).