Bukidnon dialogue with AFP, PNP, CSOs tackles human rights

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/24 July) – The Alternative Law Group (ALG) has announced the holding of a community-based human rights dialogue from July 26 to 27 here involving the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and civil society organizations (CSOs), the organizers said in a statement.

The dialogue, which focuses on the human rights situation in Bukidnon, is scheduled three years after the same group held a regional level dialogue in Cagayan de Oro in 2009. In that dialogue, issues per province were raised and plans were developed in addressing the issues, lawyer Normita Batula, ALG executive director, said in the invitation letter to participants.

The follow through dialogue, the ALG noted, “would like to review and update the result during the Region 10 Community-Based Human Rights Dialogue.” It will be held at Haus Malibu Guesthouse here.

The ALG organized the dialogue to explore the processes and mechanisms in maximizing government provided assistance and remedies in addressing human rights issues and to come up with a plan and sustainability mechanism in monitoring and addressing human rights concerns.

A day before the dialogue, the organizers have also scheduled community discussions on the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB) and the free and prior informed consent (FPIC) guidelines of 2012. The discussion also covers President Benigno Aquino III’s Executive Order 79 on mining, the first held in the province on the topic.

The ALG is a coalition of 20 non-government organizations, including Balaod Mindanaw.

According to the press release, the coalition and the member organizations “adhere to the principles and values of alternative or social development-oriented law practice” with distinct programs for legal assistance “that is primarily concerned with the pursuit of public interest, respect for human rights, and promotion of social justice.”

Among the topics covered in the dialogue include human rights concept and situation in the national and international scenes; presentation of 2009 Region X Community-Based Dialogue Session on Bukidnon issues and plans; and an assessment workshop and updating on the previous plans and sharing of Bukidnon human rights issues.

Organizers also scheduled a panel presentation on mechanisms and institutional processes on the protection and promotion of human rights, which includes resolution of human rights violations by representatives of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The dialogue also covers community-based human rights dialogue expansion to other sectors engaging the provincial local government through the Provincial Peace and Order Council, the Department of Agrarian Reform, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and the Department of Justice to include the prosecutors and public attorneys. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)