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Community-based Dialogues Project (CBD)
Top-Level Policy Dialogue Promotes Democratic Civic Space

Under the auspices of the Community-based Dialogues (CBD) project, the Project Steering Committee (PSC) held a Top-Level Policy Dialogue (TLPD) on “Upholding Human Rights while Promoting Democratic Civic Space” on 09 September 2021 hosted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).


100 participants joined the virtual activity representing the government and members of civil society, among others.

Amid concerns of shrinking democratic civic space, heads/officers of relevant government agencies and civil society group shared their ideas and insights to shed light on the topic at hand.  In particular, CHR Commissioner Karen Dumpit shared a report on the situation of human rights defenders in the Philippines (July 2020); DILG USec. Marlo Iringan and his team presented the guidelines for the local government units on Memo Circulars (MC) 2019-125, 2019-116 & 2021-054; NTF-ELCAC Secretariat Executive Director Allen Capuyan spoke about standards and mechanisms to promote democratic space within the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC); Anti-Terrorism Council’s Program Management Center (ATC-PMC) Assistant Executive Director Atty. Florentino Manalastas, Jr. on understanding the human rights perspective of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020; and finally, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)/PAHRA Mr. Egay Cabalitan, Jr. calling for a safe and supportive environment free from attacks and unreasonable restrictions.  Alternative Law Groups (ALG) National Coordinator Atty. Sheila Formento gave the closing remarks. 


The presentations were informative and substantive.  Key trends and developments were raised and discussed openly and with transparency based on official documents/reports, laws, policies, practices, experiences, social media posts, etc. that, on one hand, contribute to the constriction of civic freedoms, and, on the other hand, spur governmental actions that create a culture of collaboration and coordination.  The objective is to pursue convergence and partnerships with state and non-state institutions in broadening democratic space.  It has been noted that human rights protection and citizen participation should be institutionalized in all areas of governance.  The dialogue was a good opportunity for the participants to clarify/expound certain issues, build confidence, and find ways to work together at the policy level.

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 Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF).