About the Commission

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is an independent National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) created under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, established on 05 May 1987 by virtue of Executive Order No. 163.

The Commission is mandated to conduct investigations on human rights violations against marginalized and vulnerable sectors of the society, involving civil and political rights.

CHR is an “A” accredited NHRI, fully complying with the Paris Principles adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1995. As an NHRI, the Commission upholds six fundamental characteristics — independence, pluralism, broad mandate, transparency, accessibility, and operational efficiency.

The Commission commits to deliver prompt, responsive, accessible, and excellent public ser vice for the protection and promotion of human rights in accordance with universal human rights principles and standards.



WHEREAS, the 1987 Constitution has been ratified by the people;

WHEREAS, the 1987 Constitution has created an independent office called the Commission on Human Rights; and

WHEREAS, there is an urgent necessity to constitute the Commission on Human Rights to give effect to the State policy that “the State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, CORAZON C. AQUINO, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby order:

SECTION 1. The Commission on Human Rights as provided for under Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution is hereby declared to be now in existence.

SECTION 2. (a) The Commission on Human Rights shall be composed of a Chairman and four Members who must be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty five years of age and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the elections immediately preceding their appointment. However, a majority thereof shall be members of the Philippine Bar.

(b) The Chairman and the Members of the Commission on Human Rights shall not, during their tenure, hold any other office or employment. Neither shall they engage in the practice of any profession or in the active management or control of any business which in any way be affected by the functions of their office, nor shall be financially interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract with, or in any franchise or privilege granted by the government, any of its subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries.

(c) The Chairman and the Members of the Commission on Human Rights shall be appointed by the President for a term of seven years without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired term of the predecessor.

(d) The Chairman and the Members of the Commission on Human Rights shall receive the same salary as the Chairman and Members, respectively, of the Constitutional Commissions, which shall not be decreased during their term of office.

SECTION 3. The Commission of Human Rights shall have the following powers and functions:

(1) Investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights;

(2) Adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for violations thereof in accordance with the Rules of Court.

(3) Provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all persons within the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide for preventive measures and legal aid services to the under-privileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection;

(4) Exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or detentions facilities;

(5) Establish a continuing program of research, education, and information to enhance respect for the primacy of human rights;

(6) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to promote human rights and to provide for compensation to victims of violations of human rights, or their families;

(7) Monitor the Philippine Government’s compliance with international treaty obligations on human rights;

(8) Grant immunity from prosecution to any person whose testimony or whose possession of documents or other evidence is necessary or convenient to determine the truth in any investigation conducted by it or under its authority;

(9) Request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or agency in the performance of its functions;

(10) Appoint its officers and employees in accordance with law; and

(11) Perform such other duties and functions as may be provided by law.

SECTION 4. The Presidential Committee on Human Rights, created under Executive Order No. 8 dated March 18, 1986, as modified, is hereby abolished. The Commission on Human Rights shall exercise such functions and powers of the Presidential Committee on Human Rights under Executive Order No. 8, as modified, which are not inconsistent with the provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

The unexpended appropriations of the Presidential Committee on Human Rights are hereby transferred to the Commission on Human Rights. All properties, records, equipment, buildings, facilities and other assets of the Presidential Committee on Human Rights shall be transferred to the Commission on Human Rights.

The Commission on Human Rights may retain such personnel of the Presidential Committee on Human Rights as may be necessary in the fulfillment of its powers and functions. Any public officer or employee separated from service as a result of the abolition of the Presidential Committee on Human Rights effected under this Executive Order shall receive the benefits to which they may be entitled under existing laws, rules and regulations.

SECTION 5. The approved annual appropriations of the Commission on Human Rights shall be automatically and regularly released.

SECTION 6. All laws, orders, issuances, rules and regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with this Executive Order are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

SECTION 7. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

Done in the City of Manila, this 5th day of May, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and eighty-seven.

President of the Philippines

By the President:

Executive Secretary

SourcePresidential Management Staff

Office of the President of the Philippines. (1987). [Executive Order Nos. : 1 – 170]. Manila : Presidential Management Staff.




The CHR was created as a response to the atrocities committed during Martial Law. When the 1987 Philippine Constitution was drafted, Article XIII on Social Justice and Human Rights clearly defined the creation of the Commission.

“There is hereby created an independent office called The Commission on Human Rights…
(to) investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights …”
(Sec. 17-18, Art. XIII, Philippine Constitution)

“I, Corazon C. Aquino, President of the Philippines… do hereby (declare) the Commission on Human Rights as provided under Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution to be now in existence…”
(Executive Order No. 163)

The 1987 Philippine Constitution primarily gave CHR the mandate to protect and promote the rights and dignity of every human being in the country. The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.
(Sec. 11, Art. II, Philippine Constitution)

The Congress shall give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social, economic and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequalities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common good.
(Sec. 1, Art. XIII, Philippine Constitution)


A just and humane Philippine society of persons equal in opportunity, living a life of dignity, and forever vigilant against abuses and oppression


As conscience of government and the people, we seek truth in human rights issues. As beacon of truth, we make people aware of their rights, and guide government and society towards actions that respect the rights of all, particularly those who cannot defend themselves — the disadvantaged, marginalized, and vulnerable.


To be the prime mover in strengthening respect, understanding, and practice of human rights as the essential cornerstone of peace, unity, and nation-building


CHR: Dignity of all


The CHR serves all persons in the Philippines, as well as Filipino nationals abroad. It provides services to both rights-holders, or the vulnerable sectors who are the Commission’s primary clients, as well as to the duty-bearers, or the police, military, and the other persons in authority.

Particularly, the CHR prioritizes the following rights-holders:

    • Women
    • Children
    • Youth
    • Persons Deprived of Liberty
    • Indigenous Peoples
    • Workers (Domestic and Migrant Workers)
    • Internally Displaced Persons
    • Persons Living in Poverty
    • Persons with Disabilities
    • Senior Citizens
    • Persons with Diverse Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE)
    • Other marginalized groups

The Commission also works to build and strengthen the capacities of duty-bearers including, but not limited to, frontline service providers; decision and policy makers; and actors in the security sector and justice system.

It works in partnership with all national government agencies; independent constitutional commissions; local government units; government-owned and controlled corporations; educational institutions; and civil society groups.

The CHR engages with the local and international communities for the protection and promotion of human rights.

  • Documentation and management of complaints of human rights violations
  • Monitoring of human rights conditions in detention facilities and penal rehabilitation centers
  • Provisions of independent forensics services and medico-legal services in aid of investigation
  • Continuing development of client-based human eights education and training programs and delivery of client-based education and training project for priority sectors
  • Human rights advocacy campaigns
  • Research, documentation, and publications
  • Issuance of human rights advisories, position papers, statements, and comments on existing and proposed pieces of legislation, local ordinances, and programs, and practices of government bodies
  • Formulation of policy guidelines, implementing rules and regulations on new and/or special human rights laws
  • Independent reports on the government’s implementation of Human Rights treaty provisions
  • Child Rights Center
  • Center for Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights
  • Center for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights
  • Center for Crisis, Conflict, and Humanitarian Protection

The Commission seeks to forge partnership and cooperative arrangements, protection and promotion of human rights.