Statement of the Commission on Human Rights recognising and appreciating several legislators as human rights champions for their full support of the long-awaited and necessary passage of the CHR Charter Bill

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights recognising and appreciating several legislators as human rights champions for their full support of the long-awaited and necessary passage of the CHR Charter Bill

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) extends its heartfelt gratitude to our esteemed legislators who have tirelessly advocated for human rights in both the upper and lower chambers. They have expressed their support for the CHR Charter Bill, which seeks to strengthen, institutionalise, and broaden the Commission’s mandate and capacity as the country’s national human rights institution (NHRI), paving the way for the establishment of a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) to further promote, protect, and advocate for human rights works in the Philippines.

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez introduced House Bill (HB) No. 9790, also known as An Act Strengthening the CHR as an NHRI and for other purposes, in the House of Representatives (HoR) alongside Representatives Bienvenido M. Abante, Manuel Jose M. Dalipe, Ferdinand Alexander A. Marcos Jr., Yedda Marie K. Romualdez, and Jude A. Acidre. Representatives Gus S. Tambunting and Rufus B. Rodriguez have also expressed their support on this cause through HB 5060 and HB 8932 respectively.

Meanwhile, Senator (Sen.) Robinhood Padilla authored Senate Bill (SB) No. 2440, or An Act Defining the Powers and Functions of CHR as NHRI and for Other Purposes, and Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid filed SB 2487, with the common goal of strengthening CHR as the country’s NHRI. The passage of the NPM was also supported by Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri and Sen. Francis “Tol” N. Tolentino.

These bills seek to broaden the CHR mandate by explicitly including investigations into violations of not only civil and political rights, but also economic, social, and cultural rights. These bills demonstrate our government’s collective efforts to champion and advocate for human rights causes. They showcase our firm commitment to policy and legislative actions grounded in the principles of justice, dignity, and equality. These fundamental principles serve as the foundation for a nation that values the people’s inherent rights.

CHR Chairperson Richard P. Palpal-latoc emphasised the importance of the CHR Charter, saying, “This essential legislation is more than just the Commission’s framework– it represents a collective commitment to protecting and upholding the rights and dignity of every individual in the country.” This is what we stand for– serving everyone because they have an inherent right. As the Commission’s mantra states, “CHR ng Lahat” (CHR of all).

“With the passage of the CHR Charter, we can strengthen our mandate to provide vital legal aid services, establish mechanisms for strategic litigation to ensure access to justice for victims of human rights violations, and advocate for the crucial bills required to protect human rights defenders and uphold the principles enshrined in our Constitution,” he added.

Moreover, Commissioner Faydah Maniri Dumarpa expresses her gratitude to the legislators for their utmost support. She said, “I am grateful to our legislators for their unwavering dedication to advancing human rights through the adoption of the CHR Charter. Their commitment to this cause demonstrates a common goal of creating a more humane and just society, particularly for the vulnerable and marginalised. I hope that this is just one of many actions we will take as partners to support and protect human rights causes in the country.”

We recognise our lawmakers’ efforts to work with the Commission to further institutionalise its mandate in advancing the advancement of human rights in the country. Despite the limitations and challenges faced by the CHR in previous years, it was able to maintain its Status ‘A’ accreditation as an NHRI, demonstrating its unwavering commitment to human rights work.

The Commission believes that an enabling Charter will pave the way for full independence and the clear establishment of its role as a government watchdog, monitor, advocate, and educator. CHR hopes that these bills will pass swiftly, establishing a stronger vision for a just and equitable nation that champions the rights of all, particularly the marginalised, vulnerable, and disadvantaged sectors.###