News Release

PBBM forms ‘super body’ to further champion human rights protection in PH


President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has formed a ‘super body’ tasked to effectively implement his order for key government agencies to further champion human rights protection in the country.

The Chief Executive ordered the creation of a “Special Committee on Human Rights Coordination’ to carry out Administrative Order No. 22 which aims to enhance the mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines.

The special committee is chaired by the Executive Secretary and co-chaired by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary with Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretaries as members.

Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin signed AO 22 on May 8. It will take effect immediately upon its publication in the Official Gazette, or a newspaper of general circulation.

Prior to this, the President highlighted the significance of maintaining and intensifying the accomplishments of the United Nations for the Joint Program on Human Rights (UNJP) through institutionalization of a strong and healthy multi-stakeholder process for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines.

The UNJP is set to expire on July 31.

“It is imperative to sustain and enhance the accomplishments under the UNJP, which is set to expire on 31 July 2024, through institutionalization of a robust multi-stakeholder process for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines,” the President said in his AO.

The Philippines is a State Party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

This prompted the creation of the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) to comply with its obligations to international human rights groups. The PHRC is also tasked to formulate a National Human Rights Action Plan.

Consistent with the government’s efforts to strengthen mechanisms for promotion and protection of human rights mechanisms in the country, the Philippines also partnered with the UNJP to engage in capacity-building and technical cooperation in the areas of law enforcement, criminal justice, and policy-making in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the PHRC Secretariat will serve as the Secretariat of the special committee, which is tasked to provide the necessary technical, administrative, and operational support to the committee “in-charge of sustaining initiatives and accomplishments of the UNJP in the areas of law enforcement, criminal justice, and policy-making.”

Duties and functions of the special committee include efforts to conduct of investigation and accountability; data-gathering on alleged human rights violations by law enforcement agencies; expanding civic space and engagement with private sector; National Mechanisms for Implementation, Reporting and Follow-up; and human rights-based approach towards drug control.

It is also tasked to implement human rights-based approach towards counter-terrorism.

The Special Committee is also tasked to “monitor and ensure effective implementation of government policies and programs aimed at upholding and protecting human rights of persons deprived of liberty, particularly in guaranteeing that no one is subjected to torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of punishment.”

National government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned or -controlled corporations, and local government units and the private sector are directed and urged, respectively to render full support and assistance to the implementation of AO 22.

A copy of the AO 22 is accessible on the Official Gazette where other functions of the special committee are indicated PND