March 16, 2017

MANILA – Rights of women, children, indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities were underscored during the dissemination forum on the results of the constructive dialogue between the Philippines and the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UNCESCR).

The forum held on March 6, 2017, organized by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), highlighted the concluding observations on governance-related concerns on combatting corruption, human trafficking, poverty, unemployment and underemployment; and other concerns pertaining to human rights defenders and the strengthening of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

As a way forward, the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) Undersecretary Severo Catura informed the body that the country will be embarking on the formulation of the 3rd Philippine Human Rights Action Plan, 2018-2022.

He said that the action plan will set out the activities and targets, including monitoring and reporting activities, covering the eight core human rights treaties to which the Philippines has committed to.

In addition, the PHRC will spearhead the institutionalization of the National Mechanism for Reporting and Follow-up (NMRF) to coordinate and track national follow-up and implementation of recommendations from human rights mechanisms like Universal Periodic Review, Treaty Bodies, and UN Special Rapporteurs.

Also, Cynthia Veliko of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) emphasized the importance of conducting regional and national consultations and engaging the various UN agencies working in the area of economic, social and cultural rights.

She noted that agencies like UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, ILO, WHO, FAO, WFP, UNHCR, and UNAIDS would be able to provide expertise and guidance during thematic consultations to ensure that international standards are considered.

Meanwhile, Atty. Jesus Torres of the CHR pointed out that the concluding observations did not elaborate concerns on cultural rights. He suggested for the next Philippine report to discuss this issue.

He shared to the body that the CHR’s current system of monitoring of and reporting on ESCR concerns is guided by the O-Pe-R-A Framework (Outcomes, Policy Efforts, Resources, Assessment).

The dissemination forum was attended by the members of the Technical Working Group on the ICESCR (TWG-ICESCR) and other relevant government agencies, along with representatives from the CHR and UNDP.

The constructive dialogue held September last year in Geneva, Switzerland discussed and validated the committee’s observations on the Philippines’ combined 5th and 6th periodic report. Reports and related documents can be accessed through: