The “Community-based Dialogues (CBD)” Project which has been running for more than nine (9) years is currently in its institutionalization phase for the period 2017-2019. Beginning in October 2008, the CBD has evolved from the idea of bringing together in one venue key representatives of the security sector (AFP and PNP) and civil society (CSOs/NGOs, community leaders) to be able to talk and surface common issues and concerns related to human rights promotion and protection, develop a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities, build trust and respect in each other as “citizens in uniform” and ordinary citizens, and to strengthen cooperation between these two sectors to address/resolve local issues and concerns consistent with human rights principles, standards and norms.
In partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Commission on Human Rights, the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates and the Alternative Law Groups, with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation/Germany (HSF), the Project Steering Committee (PSC) is focusing its efforts in sustaining the gains and accomplishments of the project over the years by institutionalizing the CBD mechanism both at the institutional level (AFP, PNP, CHR) and at the local level (focus areas) with the CHR as lead convenor. Moreover, for the current phase, it will give emphasis on economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR).
On 22-23 April 2018, the CBD Institutionalization-Localization Workshop with the Armed Forces of the Philippines was held in Manila which was participated in by more than 30 officers representing the AFP Human Rights Office (HRO) and counterparts from the major services (Army, Navy and Air Force); from the Offices of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (J3), Civil-Military Operations (J7), and Education and Training (J8); 3’s and 7’s from the major services as well as Area/Unified Commands, namely, Northern Luzon Command, Southern Luzon Command, Western Command, Central Command, Eastern Mindanao Command, and Joint Task Force-National Capital Region; and from the AFP training commands (TRADOC, NETC, AETDC, J8). It was an informative and productive activity.
The objectives of the activity were achieved: (1) to present the current status of the project, its accomplishments and milestones over the past nine years (2008-2017) as well as the work plan for 2018, and (2) to discuss plans/next steps toward maximizing and sustaining the gains of the CBD mechanism especially at the institutional level (AFP) by integrating the CBD program within the training commands, and also at the local level together with the partner organizations and other stakeholders on the ground such as relevant government agencies, Regional Peace and Order Councils (RPOCs), Regional Development Councils (RDCs), and Local Government Units (LGUs), among others.
The 1.5-day activity was organized in cooperation with the Alternative Law Groups (ALG) led by its Council member-in-charge, Atty. Jennifer Corpuz and Program Officer, Mr. Rene Clemente; AFP Human Rights Office led by its Chief of Office, Col. Gerry Pulohanan and Legal Officer, Major Eduardo Esquivias, and the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany (HSF) represented by its Deputy Head/Senior Program Coordinator, Maria Adelia Co.