The virtual community-based dialogue (CBD) was well received and participated in by one hundred twenty-nine (129) individuals representing relevant institutions and groups from different sectors of society, i.e., national, regional and local government agencies; civil society organizations/non-government organizations; security sector; the academe, and the Commission on Human Rights. The participants covered all regions of the country. The German Ambassador, Her Excellency Anke Reiffenstuel, also graced the event.
The Chief of the AFP HRO, Brig. Gen. Raymundo Acorda gave the Opening Remarks underlining the importance of the activity in providing a venue for key stakeholders to better understand and appreciate the Anti-Terrorism Law (ATL) given the high level of interest generated from various sectors. He acknowledged the broad participation of these sectors in the online CBD.
AFP HRO Acting Assistant Chief, Lt. Col. (Atty.) Eduardo Esquivias, who served as facilitator, warmly welcomed the participants and emphasized the value of holding this multi-sectoral dialogue as a mechanism for an open and constructive presentation and discussion on the key features of the law, its implementation processes as well as its effects to Philippine society in pursuit of peace, progress and development, and respect of basic human rights.
The main speaker/resource person, Captain Naydia Carla Yoro JAGS of the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the AFP gave a complete but succinct briefing on the newly-signed “Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020”. The participants expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the presentation, and requested that a copy be shared with them.
A panel of reactors comprising of 10 key representatives from CSOs/NGOs, CHR, government agencies, and the academe shared their views and concerns on the provisions of the law relative to its effects on their work/mandate, advocacies, and engagements with various sectors. The reactors were: (1) Prof. Rommel Banlaoi (Department of International Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, Miriam College), (2) Mr. Senen Bacani (Chairman Emeritus of the National Cooperative Movement), (3) Atty. Mario Maderazo (Senior Lawyer, Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services), (4) Atty. Gian Miko Arabejo (Program Officer, Alternative Law Groups), (5) Ms. Rosemarie Trajano (Secretary-General, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates; Convenor, IDefend), (6) Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit (CHR CBD Project Commissioner-in-Charge), (7) Assistant Secretary Alexander Macario (Department of the Interior and Local Government/DILG), (8) Atty. Arjay Lim (Legislative Liaison Specialist, Department of National Defense/DND), (9) Atty. Elias Omar Sana (Technical Consultant, Department of Information and Communications Technology), and (10) Atty. Jonathan Pabillore (Office of the Solicitor General/OSG).
Highlights of the points raised by the reactors are as follows:
The open forum gave the participants an opportunity to ask questions and seek clarifications.
Finally, Lt. Col. Esquivias thanked the HSF for the successful partnership through the CBD project and all the participants for participating in the online dialogue.
HSF Resident Representative, Mr. Götz Heinicke closed the highly successful online CBD, the first of its kind hosted by HSF. He thanked the participants for the open, friendly and honest exchange/interaction as well as to the AFP HRO led by Brig. Gen. R. Acorda and the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the AFP for the excellent briefing on the ATL, not to mention his colleagues at the HSF Philippine Office for bringing different sectors together for this online event. He committed HSF’s continued support for future online activities in cooperation with its partners.