Philippines

In the Philippines, there are currently 2 instruments available. A draft was presented to the Senate in February 2018. It is an almost verbatim transcript of the Model Law; Secondly, there is the House Bill No. 10576, almost verbatim to the Model Law, going further in some aspects. The Protection Mechanism established is comprehensive. A reconciliation of the Senate and House of Representatives bills will ultimately constitute law in the Philippines.

An Act to promote and protect the rights of human rights defenders, 2018

Type of instrument: Law
Status: (as at 1 January 2022)
In process.

Comments on the instrument:
The draft law was presented to the Senate in February 2018. It is an almost verbatim transcription of the Model Law, aligning with all relevant provisions. The incorporation of specific provisions stepping out guidelines for the NHRI’s function as a Protection Mechanism to protect HRDs would be welcome. As the bill before the House of Representatives passed in January 2022, eyes are now on the Senate to pass this draft before it. A reconciliation of the Senate and House of Representatives Bills will then ultimately constitute law in the Philippines. It is critical that the final law resulting from the reconciliation process of the Bicameral Conference Committee ensures the highest protections for HRDs.

Does the instrument contain specific provisions easily used to restrict HRDs’ rights?

No

 


Comparison to the Model Law

Below is a short summary of the instrument as compared to the Model Law. For additional information and analysis by ISHR on the Philippines, click here.

Key elements of the protection mechanism:

Provision

Covered?

Analysis / articles

Definition of Human Rights Defender

FULL

3.b

Right to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms

FULL

4

Right to Form Groups, Associations, and Organisations

FULL

5

Right to Solicit, Receive and Utilise Resources

FULL

6

Right to freedom of expression and to seek, receive and disseminate Information

FULL

7, 8

Right to access and cooperate with NGOs, government organisations and international organisations

FULL

9, 10

Right to participate in public affairs

FULL

11

Right to Peaceful Assembly

FULL

12

Right to represent and advocate

FULL

13

Right to freedom of movement

FULL

14

Right to Privacy

FULL

15, 23

Freedom from intimidation or reprisal

FULL

17

Freedom from defamation and stigmatisation

FULL

18

State obligations regarding HRDs in the instrument?

Obligation to respect, promote, protect and fulfil rights of human rights defenders

FULL

19, 20

Obligation to facilitate the activities and work of human rights defenders 

FULL

21, 22

Obligation to prevent and to ensure protection against arbitrary or unlawful intrusion, interference, and intimidation or reprisal

FULL

24, 25

Obligation to investigate, provide an effective remedy and ensure reparation

FULL

16, 26, 27

Mechanism on the protection of human rights defenders established in the instrument?
No. Section 30 delegates the functions of a mechanism for the protection of human rights defenders to the NHRI, but no new mechanism is created, and no specific guidelines for its functioning are given.

Quick access

An Act to promote and protect the rights of human rights defenders, 2018

 

House Bill No. 10576, the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act

Type of instrument: Law & Protection Mechanism
Status: (as at 1 January 2022)
In Progress; Passed the House of Representatives on 17 January 2022.

Comments on the instrument:
The draft law is an almost verbatim transcript of the Model Law, going further in some aspects. The Protection Mechanism established through the law is also comprehensive, complying with the standards set by the Model Law. It would be welcome if some functions were detailed further. This draft is a consolidated draft resulting from two separate drafts that were presented to the House of Representatives. While this draft passed the House of Representatives, the Senate version now needs to pass the Senate. Once the draft law before the Senate passes the Senate, a reconciliation of the Senate and House of Representatives bills will ultimately constitute law in the Philippines. It is critical that the final law resulting from the reconciliation process of the Bicameral Conference Committee ensures the highest protections for HRDs.

Does the instrument contain specific provisions easily used to restrict HRDs’ rights?
No

Below is a short summary of the instrument as compared to the Model Law. For additional information and analysis by ISHR on the Philippines, click here.

A selection of fundamental rights for HRDs incorporated in the instrument (as compared to the Model Law):

Provision

Covered?

Analysis / articles

Definition of Human Rights Defender

FULL

4.b

Right to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms

FULL

5

Right to Form Groups, Associations, and Organisations

FULL

6

Right to Solicit, Receive and Utilise Resources

FULL

7

Right to freedom of expression and to seek, receive and disseminate Information

FULL

8, 9

Right to access and cooperate with NGOs, government organisations and international organisations

FULL

10, 12

Right to participate in public affairs

FULL

13

Right to Peaceful Assembly

FULL

14

Right to represent and advocate

FULL

15

Right to freedom of movement

FULL

16

Right to Privacy

FULL

17, 26

Freedom from intimidation or reprisal

FULL

18

Freedom from defamation and stigmatisation

FULL

11, 19, 29

State obligations regarding HRDs in the instrument?

Obligation to respect, promote, protect and fulfil rights of HRDs

FULL

22, 23, 31

Obligation to facilitate the activities and work of HRDs 

FULL

24, 25

Obligation to prevent and to ensure protection against arbitrary or unlawful intrusion, interference, and intimidation or reprisal

FULL

27, 30, 

Obligation to investigate, provide an effective remedy and ensure reparation

FULL

2.c, 21, 28, 32, 33, 34

Mechanism on the protection of HRDs established in the instrument?
Yes, in Chapter IV

Provision

Covered?

Articles

Cooperation with HRDs, civil society, and national and international human rights bodies

FULL

39, 42.c, 42.f, 42.h, 49.2.b

Training of mechanism’s personnel on HR and fundamental freedoms

FULL

40, 43

Periodic reviews with independent experts and CSO’s on the functioning of the Mechanism

FULL

42.i

Resources for adequate functioning of the Mechanism / transparency on resource usage 

FULL

49.2.f, 49.2.g, 51

Public acknowledgment of HRDs work and rights (promotion of UN Declaration)

FULL

42.e

Disseminate information on protection programmes for HRDs, Mechanism’s work

PART

42.l, 49.2.i

Development of protocols and guidelines based on best practice to protect HRDs

PART

42.l, 49.2.j

Assist investigations for prosecuting offences against HRDs

FULL

42.c, 42.l, 42.d

Granting of protective measures based off off a specific risk assessment

FULL

42.a, 42.b, 49.2.c

Review / appeal of Mechanism decision before courts or independent authority

NONE

 

Confidentiality and personal data protection

FULL

49.2.d

Actions to achieve structural changes (annual reports on the situation of HRDs, advising government on laws and policies related to HRDs)

FULL

42.g, 42.j, 42.k

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House Bill No. 10576