The House Committee on Human Rights chaired by Manila Representative Bienvenido Abante Jr. approved House Bill (HB) 77 or the “Human Rights Defenders’ Protection Act.”
The bill provides for rights and guarantees to fully safeguard the efforts and activities of human rights defenders (HRD) in promoting, protecting, and fulfilling human rights.
The bill seeks to ensure the protection of the rights of HRD such as
1) the right to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms;
2) right to form groups and organizations;
3) right to peaceful assembly;
4) right to seek, receive and disseminate information; 5) right to privacy, among others.
Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, author of HB 77, emphasized that the substitute measure was closely patterned after the “Model Law for the Recognition and Protection of Human Rights Defenders” developed by international human rights studies.
The bill substituted HBs 256 and 2484 which had the same subject.
The Technical Working Group (TWG) led by Lanao del Sur Representative Ziaur-Rahman Alonto Adiong agreed to make HB 77 the draft substitute measure.
The Technical Working Group (TWG) led by Lanao del Sur Representative Ziaur-Rahman Alonto Adiong agreed to make HB 77 the draft substitute measure since it was a similar version of the bills that were approved on Third and Final Reading in the 17th and 18th Congresses.
Adiong reported that 17 government agencies and civil society organizations attended the meetings, and that all position papers submitted and manifestations made were thoroughly reviewed during their first TWG meeting.
Abante also noted that no one among the members of the committee opposed the approval of HB 77.