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Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370

The avowal of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to fully respect human rights will be put to the test with the refiling by Rep. Edcel C. Lagman of the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act as House Bill No. 77.

Lagman said that the “emergence of human rights defenders (HRDs) is both an indictment and symptom of the failure and neglect of the government to fully protect, promote, and fulfill human rights.”

He added that HRDs are surrogate defenders due to government’s default in its primary obligation as the principal protector of human rights under the Constitution.

Identical bills were passed on third and final reading in the House of Representatives during the 17th and 18th Congresses but were not acted upon by the Senate due to time limitations.

The Makabayan bloc legislators have previously files kindred bills.

The following are the rights and freedoms of HRDs as proposed in the refiled bill:

  • Right to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms;

  • Right to form groups, associations and organizations;

  • Right to peaceful assembly;

  • Right to seek, receive and disseminate information;

  • Right to privacy;

  • Right to develop and advocate human rights ideas;

  • Right to solicit, receive and utilize resources;

  • Right to access, communicate and cooperate with international and regional human rights bodies and mechanisms;

  • Right to effective remedy and full reparation;

  • Freedom from intimidation and reprisal; and

  • Freedom of movement.

The following are the obligations of the State and public authorities:

  • To respect, promote, protect and fulfill the rights of HRDs;

  • Not to participate in violating human rights and fundamental freedoms;

  • To facilitate the activities and work of HRDs;

  • To prevent and to ensure protection from intimidation or reprisal;

  • To penalize intimidation or reprisal;

  • To refrain from derogatory and unfounded labeling;

  • To ensure protection from arbitrary or unlawful intrusion or interference;

  • To conduct investigation, and to ensure effective remedy and full reparation;

  • To promote and facilitate human rights education; and

  • To adopt a human rights-based governance.

HB 77 also seeks the creation of a Human Rights Defenders Protection Committee whose members shall be appointed by the Commission on Human Rights and whose duties include, among others:

  • Protect HRDs from intimidation and reprisals;

  • Ensure accountability for acts of intimidation and reprisal;

  • Facilitate and promote inter-agency and inter-department coordination to prevent, protect from, investigate, and ensure accountability for acts of intimidation or reprisal;

  • Investigate all forms of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of human rights defenders;

  • Publicly acknowledge and promote the legitimate and important role, activities and work of human rights defenders; and

  • Consult regularly and work closely with human rights defenders in the implementation of the Act.




House Bill No. 77 (PDF)