The Top Level Policy Dialogue on “State of National Emergency: It’s Implications for the Security Sector, Human Rights Defenders and Communities" was launched on Sept 22, 2016 at the La Breza Hotel, Mother Ignacia Street, Quezon City.
Atty. Marlon Manuel of the ALG gave the main presentation. The TLPD was prompted by President Duterte’s Proclamation No. 5, which declares a “state of national emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao” and was issued on September 4, 2016. To discuss the Presidential Proclamation further, he compared Proclamation No. 5 to ex-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Proclamation No. 1017 (which similarly declared a state of national emergency).
The presentation was followed by reactions from a Panel. The Panel of Reactors consisted of Atty. Eunice Sta. Maria of the Commission on Human Rights, Brigadier General Erick Parayno of the Civil Relations Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Atty. Dante Ariño of the Legal Division of the Philippine National Police.
During the Open Forum, there were questions asked on the legality of the proposed suspension of the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, and what the people can do should it actually happen, about Senator Leila Delima being relieved as Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, about the SOPs of joint police-military checkpoints and pat-down frisking, about “Operation Tokhang” and the growing numbers of extra-judicial killings which includes innocent civilians. A lot of the questions on “Tokhang” were answered by PSupt Sarah Abad, the Deputy Chief of the PNP Human Rights Affairs Office. There were also questions on the problem of jail congestion and lack of facilities for the rehabilitation of drug dependents.
The TLPD is an activity under the “Community-based Dialogue Sessions on Human Rights Promotion and Protection between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, and Civil Society Organizations and Local Communities” Project. It is a collaboration among the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (through the AFP Human Rights Office and the J7), the Philippine National Police (through the PNP Human Rights Affairs Office), the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF), the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), and the Alternative Law Groups (ALG), with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.