Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Defining the Human Security Framework in the Philippine Context: A Synoptic Presentation of an Emerging Human Security Framework and Mechanisms

December 05, 2006 (Tuesday); 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Balay Kalinaw, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
University of the Philippines-Diliman

Teresita "Ging" Deles, Managing Trustee of International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov) delivers the keynote address


The changing global environment provided the impetus to re-examine the concept of security. With more emphasis given to the well-being of individuals and communities, the attention of nation-states is slowly being made to shift from “national security” to that of “human security.” This then necessitates the need to provide a framework for human security that should “comprise not only a working definition of human security, but also an account of the process by which individual institutions or nations can adapt and operationalize the concept to a form that is relevant to their own institutional abilities and cultural contexts”.[1]

In the Philippines, both state and society in general have yet to agree on a precise contextual definition of the elusive concept of human security. In the Philippines, the protection of “territorial integrity and sovereignty” of the nation-state remains the guiding principle of the security sector. This is reflected in the government’s foreign policy directions, as well as in its defense and economic strategies. It is in this context that the TWSC Policy Dialogue Series 2006 specifically aims to define human security, taking into consideration the existing development and national security framework from which stems the country’s policy responses to peace building, conflict resolution, and development.

In the attempt to contribute to defining human security in the Philippine context, the past four sessions of the Policy Dialogue Series facilitated the discussion by looking at human security in various dimensions–development, governance, culture, and violent conflict situations. The sessions sought not only to come up with an understanding of human security but also determined the roles that state and non-state actors play in promoting and protecting human security, identified the processes necessary to ensure human security, and put forward proposals to bring about a policy environment that is responsive to the promotion and protection of human security.

Basic Principles of the Proposed Human Security Framework

Emphasis on community security

While the results of the discussions affirm the interconnectedness of the various dimensions of human security, a major contribution of the Policy Dialogue Series 2006 to the human security discourse is the emphasis placed on community security. What was highlighted, though, is that the Philippines as a natural resource-dependent country places the issue of resource entitlement, specifically land ownership and stewardship, at the core of human security.

Across all discussion groups, human security is defined as the condition where people’s physical, physiological, social, and economic needs are guaranteed. It also encompasses ecological integrity to ensure that future generations are able to benefit from nature’s bounty. Another dimension of human security that was highlighted in the discussions was the capacity of people to participate in decision-making processes, whether as an individual or as a group (political dimension).

Plurality of understanding human security

However, understanding human security may vary depending on ground realities and requires different responses. It may mean absence of armed or non-armed conflict (community, household or individual levels) and the response would be to institute community-based conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms; it may mean disaster management and mitigation; it may mean provision of basic social services (education, health, sanitation, water, etc.) to enable citizens, as individuals and as a collective, to participate meaningfully in local development processes. In the case of indigenous cultural communities, it may be respect for their customs and traditions without leaving them out in decision-making processes that concerns development of these territories.

Processes, mechanisms, and actors

In the course of the dialogues, national government policies and processes were perceived as deterrent, if not a source of threat, to the promotion and protection of human security. The role of local government, communities, and community-based formations were seen as crucial in guaranteeing human security. Emphasis was also given to a bottom-up approach in governance to ensure human security.

Policy proposals

A number of proposals were put forward. Among these include a comprehensive review of existing development framework of the national government, specifically in the economic sphere; strengthening the roles of government institutions and local government units to engage non-state actors; and institutionalizing participation of nongovernment and peoples’ organizations in policy-making processes.


The fifth installment of the TWSC PDS 2006 seeks to:

1. Affirm the definition of “human security” as characterized by the various participants of previous RTDs;

2. Further refine the concept of human security, as well as the processes and the roles of the various players, to enable its operationalization in the different levels of policymaking in the Philippine context; and,

3. Come up with a declaration recognizing the need to mainstream the human security model as a policy framework in defining the national interest.

Forum Format

As the culminating activity of the TWSC Policy Dialogue Series 2006, the results of the first four installments of the series will be presented. Representatives of various stakeholders (national and local government agencies, nongovernment organizations, people’s organizations, the academic community, and other members of civil society) will provide their own insights to validate the proposed human security framework culled from the previous dialogues.

[1] Alkire Sabina. 2002. A Conceptual Framework for Human Security. CRISE Working Paper 2. Oxford: Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.

Please see this link for the news on the policy dialogue.


SERGIO CAO (Chancellor, University of the Philippines [UP]-Diliman):

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this forum entitled, “Defining the Human Security Framework in the Philippine Context,” organized by the Third World Studies Center (TWSC) of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP), UP-Diliman. This is the final installment in a series of policy dialogues on human security, which began in June this year. This event is also a gathering of colleagues and friends from the academe, government, and civil society, all committed to understanding, fostering and chartering a blueprint of human security in the Philippines at the local and national levels. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the UP-Diliman campus, a premiere state university that engages in education, research, and extension towards nation building. UP provides an environment conducive to an exciting and dynamic dialogue, discussion, and exchange of views.

Considering the unabated spate of violence and conflict that has beset the nation, human security is no doubt an urgent issue that everyone has to confront. Despite this, the concept of human security is quite elusive. In the Philippines, a precise and contextual definition is yet to be constructed. Consequently, modes of interface between government and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) to achieve human security are yet to be in place. Through a succession of fora, the TWSC Policy Dialogue Series of 2006 seeks to address this gap while taking into account the existing national security framework that embodies the nation’s policy response to peace building, conflict resolution, and development.

Today’s fifth and final policy dialogue is an integration of the learnings and insights of the previous policy dialogues. This is not simply a culminating activity. It is actually the beginning of a work in progress, fuelled by enduring partnerships and a lucid vision of a just society that would be instrumental to the improvement of the nation’s human security agenda.

We are fortunate to have very distinguished personalities in the realm of peace and human security who are involved in policymaking and advocacy–our keynote speaker for today, Ms. Teresita Quintos-Deles, former presidential adviser on the peace process who has now returned to the fold of civil society. We also have with us Honorable Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel, a leading peace advocate in the Philippine Congress. I wish to extend my gratitude to the two of you for gracing this occasion and taking time to lend your expertise, insights and experience.

CRISTINA PANTOJA-HIDALGO (Vice-President for Public Affairs, UP System):

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for this opportunity to convey a short message on behalf of UP President Emerlinda Roman:

These days we are daily confronted with dramatic television images of people in different parts of the world coping in different ways with problems having to do with human security. Even if we accept the fact that cable television has more than tripled our awareness of events in every corner of the world, and the fact that media tends to cover the bad news because bad news is more exciting and gets higher ratings, the number of conflicts all over the world–from struggles over ancestral holy lands to brutal genocide–is staggering.

The most recent images are coming from Lebanon, where the issues of civil war, prompted initially by sectarian conflict fought four decades ago, has not yet been resolved. My family and I spent a couple of years of our lives there, while my husband was an officer in the United Nations Children’s Fund. When the civil war was officially over, the fighting continued to rage all over the country and the capital city was literally divided into Christian East Beirut and Muslim West Beirut. So I am particularly moved by these images–moved by feelings of regret, compassion and fear. A fear, which was born many years ago in a rented flat in that city by the sea and that the same situation could take place in our country. I was also struck by the fact that some media covering the demonstrations taking place in Beirut today were referring to these demonstrations as “people power”. Even as the term has lost most of its impact here and has even acquired ironic connotations in the country where it was born, it lives on in the imagination and in the hopes of people all over the globe. In my gloomier moments, I am tempted to say that the Lebanese seemed no closer to solving the problems that tore them apart in the early seventies, problems which had their origins in medieval Europe. Just as we are no closer in solving the problems that led to the first People Power, simply because the human condition is what it is.

In the celebrated movie classic, “2001: A Space Odyssey” primitive man’s first invention was a weapon. But this cannot be true. To accept it as true would be to give up hope. And surely, our presence here this morning is proof that we have refused to give up. Academe itself is premised on the idea that man can learn. And the United Nations Development Programme, your sponsoring organization, is born on one of mankind’s tallest dreams, after one of mankind’s most cruel conflicts, is based on the idea that men can help each other, and that peace and progress is possible.

Your efforts to adopt a human security framework that takes into consideration all aspects of life and the needs of all the countries’ communities, which will hopefully lead to more enlightened policies at all levels, is immensely valuable. I can only describe it as an affirmation of faith. For this, I congratulate you warmly and assure you of my continued support and the University of which you are a part.


TERESITA QUINTOS-DELES (Peace Advocate, Former Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process [PAPP], and Managing Trustee, INCITE-Gov):

Recent events that have touched our people to the core highlight the continuing critical importance of the issue of human security in our national agenda. In the last few months, newspaper headlines have gripped the attention and emotions of our people. Our forum today takes place less than a week after the mudslide in Albay in the Bicol region; a day after the ruling on the rape case of “Nicole,” a Filipina raped by a United States serviceman; and, the week in which the House of Representatives scheduled a plenary voting on the proposed changes in our Constitution, without passing through the established legislative process of the Constitutional Assembly resolution. It is a good time to ponder on the meaning of human security where there is so much to remind us on the way the lives of Filipinos are daily being put to risk. It is a challenging time to assert that the welfare, freedom and safety of ordinary people count above all else, and that human security should be the overarching framework of Philippine governance, determining the roles and rights of both citizens and state.

In this light, we welcome this bold and what I can only surmise to have been a difficult endeavor by the TWSC, with the support of the Government of the Philippines (GOP)-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Conflict Prevention and Peace Building (CPPB) Programme and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), to expand the discourse towards defining the human security framework in the Philippine context. Today’s forum brings to a close a six-month effort that has centered on a policy dialogue series that sought to draw out diverse perspectives of multiple stakeholders on issues of human security. Indeed, the selected topics are potent factors in the definition of human security. We are eager to see the results of different perspectives and issues being melded into a human security framework appropriate to the current Philippine context.

In the past, the national government took the lead in taking the theme of human security to the center stage in Philippine governance discourse. Around the time that the 1994 Human Development Report first advanced the concept of human security, the Ramos administration convened the international conference entitled, “The Gathering for Human and Ecological Security (HES)” in 1995, under the auspices of the Department of Interior and Local Government, then headed by Secretary Rafael Alunan. The gathering was the culmination of the several months of multistakeholder consultations, which resulted in a covenant that embodied a national agenda to protect and sustain the security of people and the environment. This covenant combined with the Social Reform Agenda of the basic sectors1 to constitute the people-empowerment pillar of Philippines 2000. About a decade after the issuance of the HES covenant, however, we wonder how many programs it was able to launch and sustain.

Let me share with you more recent efforts undertaken by government to incorporate and institutionalize human security thinking into public policy. It is not publicly known, but a small group composed of representatives from both the security and social clusters of government met and worked closely together as the National Task Force on Convergence (NTFC) from mid-2004 to mid-2005. The PAPP served as the chair of the group in order to harmonize perspectives between the armed forces (referred to as the “right hand”) and the civilian agencies (referred to as the “left hand”) in defining and making operational a common framework for national security. The NTFC was convened as a result of the convergence effort through the Macapagal-Arroyo government’s banner poverty reduction strategy known as Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan (Linked Arms against Poverty). This brought the different agencies of government, including the uniformed personnel, to fast track the delivery of social services, livelihood, and infrastructure needs to poor and remote communities including conflict-affected barangays (villages). While the different agencies were learning how to work together and to complement each other’s mandate and resources on the ground, it became clear during the joint assessment and planning sessions that a divide continued to exist between military and civilian perspectives and paradigms. The language used was indicative; while civilian agencies peppered the reports with the language of “winning back, enhancing and transforming”, the reporters-in-uniform used the language of “eliminating, defeating and annihilating.” The NTFC was an attempt to provide a venue for mutual probing on the concepts and beliefs of the uniformed and civilian sectors to bridge and transform perspectives on security imperatives guiding the state. Readings were circulated, which interrogated national defense concepts and strategies and put forward constructions of human security, non-killing society, and even feminism. When the National Security Council (NSC) convened the national strategic planning process early last year, the product of the NTFC came to constitute a major input into the process, with members of the NTFC joining the working group. Unfortunately, we were not able to see the end of the process.

An outline of an incipient human security approach to development and peace can be found in chapter on the peace process (Chapter 14) of the 2004-2010 Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP). Chapter 14 sets forth the seven tracks to terminate all armed conflicts and bring the peace process to a just closure. The tracks consist of:

  1. Continuing and completing peace negotiations with different rebel groups;
  2. Support for local efforts to immediately reduce violence on the ground;
  3. Complete the implementation of all final peace agreements;
  4. Strengthening and enhancement of programs for the reintegration and rehabilitation of former combatants;
  5. Rehabilitation and development of conflict-affected areas;
  6. A catch-up plan for Muslim Mindanao and an affirmative action agenda for Muslim Filipinos; and,
  7. Support for interfaith, tri-people’s dialogue, and community-based healing and reconciliation.

I submit that Chapter 14 of the MTPDP constitutes the core of a human security agenda in confronting armed conflict. Sometimes, though, when I reflect on what has been said and done in the past year regarding the targeted defeat of the communist insurgency, I am led to wonder if Chapter 14 has been revised, if not completely deleted, from the MTPDP.

However, I cannot fail to mention two recent major initiatives involving international partnerships in the Philippines, which have greatly advanced the discourse on human security. The 2005 Philippine Human Development Report launched in October 2005 carried the theme, “Peace, Human Security, and Human Development in the Philippines.” In examining the causes and costs of the communist and Moro insurgencies, the report establishes some basic precepts in the understanding of human security. Quoting Arsenio Balisacan of the Human Development Network, the report “proceeds from a human development frame that is an understanding that human security is not just freedom from fear–a defensive concept–but also freedom from want and humiliation; that the insecurity of one is the insecurity of all and that, most important, human security is a right in itself.” The report provides concrete indices and figures to measure costs and causes of armed conflict and, more importantly, distinguishes between human development and human security. As the report notes, while human development is the process that widens the range of people’s choices, human security means that people can make those choices safely and freely. In other words, human security is the external pre-condition for human development.

The second initiative was the seminar workshop on human security as a framework for peace and development in Mindanao, sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) last September 2006 in conjunction with the visit to the Philippines of former United Nations Commissioner for Refugees and now JICA president, Ambassador Sadako Ogata. The seminar further clarified the concept by delineating the two pillars of human security–the pillar of protection and the pillar of human empowerment. Professor Solita Monsod of the School of Economics, University of the Philippines, presented the application of a human empowerment index as a weighted average of three sub-indices: social empowerment index, human economic index, and the political empowerment index. The social empowerment index is computed as the average of available indices on education, health, information and communication, and school mobilization outlook. The human economic index, on the other hand, is the average of available indices on income, credit, electrification, and employment. The political empowerment index is the average of available indices on voter turn-out, social expenditures, and women in power.

I have taken note of these latter initiatives to highlight the advancements which have been made and the possibilities in the discourse on human security. Human security is already moving beyond the formulation of basic principles and agenda, to designing operational constructions by which one can create, measure, and compare indices of human security, including its causes and costs. Without such operational tools, human security is bound to stay on the level of rhetoric and wish list. To make human security a reality, I think it is important to be able to correlate aspects, causes, costs, and benefits in concrete terms, so human security would truly matter in the policy debate as well as in the allocation and direction of public investments.

The Policy Dialogue Series 2006, which the TWSC has organized, aims to contribute yet another different layer to the operational understanding of human security. It seeks to clarify and analyze the nexus between human security and development, governance, culture, and violent conflict respectively by looking at particular illustrative cases. We can project a sharpening of understanding on specific stakeholders, actors, processes, institutional arrangements, and mechanisms. Can these features in fact be subjected to concrete measurement and comparisons so that the quality and quantity of social effort can be correlated to the concrete outcomes that can be achieved? As concepts are clarified and operational frameworks defined, we need to draw up more detailed and concrete pictures of what it would be like under a regime of human security. We need to imagine and project the concrete benefits for the greatest number of a working human security policy. This is necessary to make us fully convinced that such an overarching governance framework is possible to achieve. It is also important to convince others that such a framework is possible, and that it is to their own personal best interests.

Drawing up concrete pictures will not be all that easy. We still have to deal with the hard details such as: how do we grow the economy so that it could feed, nurture, school, and protect the population that is growing exponentially? How do we provide enough livelihoods that are meaningful, ecological, and profitable? What is the role of the military or the police? Can there be no military? What would be the policy on armed, non-state actors? What will be the meaningful ground among diverse ethnicities and contested identities? What if people continued to vote for the wrong candidates? What if they will not stand up for their rights? What is the policy on terrorism? What about state terrorism? Where does individual human security end and common good begin and vice versa? These are just a few random questions that I have drawn up around the issues that have been tackled by the Policy Dialogue Series.

We Filipinos know a lot about our desired development outcomes; we can draw up and formulate the most perfect agenda. In spite of this, we have found a great difficulty in implementing our agenda and, worse, we cannot sustain reform even in the most modest times. Through time, we have learned a little about the relationship between good governance and development outcomes. Without good governance, development outcomes are stalled, resources are wasted, and reform is waylaid. But it seems this is not enough because governance does not exist in a vacuum. Governance can be waylaid by politics, as has been repeatedly the case in this country. Our lesson is that we need to connect the dots between democratic politics, governance, and development outcomes. The important question we need to answer and understand is: what is the politics of human security? Who will gain, who will lose? Who needs to act, and who has the power to act? What are the motivations of the people who need to act? Indeed, we need to ask: can the politics of survival engender, nourish, and sustain human security for the Filipino people? What pressures can be borne on those who need to act? How can we draw a consensus among the greatest number on our goal of human security and how to get there?

We also need to seek answers to how we can engender democratic politics to enhance the practice of good governance to mobilize social effort at scale and duration to attain human security at the national level. To attain human security for “Nicole,” for those children who lost their parents in the rubble at the foot of Mount Mayon, for all political activists and media practitioners, to those who live out in the streets. That is the question we need to respond to. Knowing the development outcome, knowing our definition of human security is not going to be enough. To make it happen, we have to understand and analyze it. We have to have a handle on the politics of human security.

JOSEPHINE DIONISIO (Deputy Director, TWSC, CSSP, UP-Diliman and Project Leader, TWSC Policy Dialogue Series 2006):

“Human security” is such an elusive term. We should first locate its context. The end of the Cold War is one important context wherein questions were raised regarding the continuing utility of the traditional conception of security, which revolved around national or territorial security. Proponents of the human security argued that security should be viewed in terms of people and framed in terms of security concerns, which they require in their daily lives. This concept of human security was first introduced publicly in 1994, through the UN Human Development Report. Currently, an on-going debate about the role of the nation-state in promoting human security is one of the key aspects in trying to define the concept of human security. Some argue that nation-states have a potentially limited, if not an impeding, role in some cases, in the promotion of human security. Others, on the other hand, would argue that a strong democratic state serves as the best guarantee for the promotion of human security. The UN Development Report in 1994 argued that the world can never be at peace unless people have security in their daily lives.

The publication Madness in the Multitude: Human Security and World Disorder identifies three meanings of human security. One meaning revolves around the rights-based approach, which is anchored on the rule of law and, therefore, focused on treaty-based solutions to human security concerns. It seeks to strengthen the normative legal framework at the international, regional, and national levels. International institutions are viewed as central to developing new human-rights norms and for bringing about convergence in different national standards and practices.

Another meaning of human security comes from the humanitarian conception. It focuses on safety of peoples as the paramount objective behind international interventions. It sees war as one of the principal threats to human security and draws an important moral distinction between the concepts of “combatants” and “noncombatants.” It is also of the view that people should be protected from violent threats and that the international community has an obligation to assist them, as in the practices of the International Committee of the Red Cross and other NGOs. It also sees the need beyond the provision of emergency and humanitarian relief in war-torn societies and conflict settings by addressing the underlying causes of conflict and violence. For instance, the United Nations, among many other international organizations, became involved in post-conflict peace-building efforts as a result of formal peace settlements. This perspective also sees the importance of adopting an integrated approach to human security that would simultaneously address the deeper causes of conflict such as economic despair, social injustice, and political oppression.

The third meaning that could be associated with human security is derived from the view of sustainable human development that is largely associated with the 1994 Human Development Report where human security is defined in terms of economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community, and political security. This is what is referred to as the post-Cold War peace dividend. Real threats to human security resulting from diseases such as AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency syndrome], drug trafficking, terrorism, global poverty, and environmental problems are traced to fundamental problems of inequality and lack of social justice in international relations, also referred to as the freedom from want dimension of human security.

From these many meanings, the book also identifies the main threats to human security, appropriate mechanisms and processes for dealing with these threats, and the international institutions and governance structures required to address them. In all of these, attention is primarily on the individual human person and their daily lives rather than the state or the abstract definition of national interest, which was inherent in the conventional definition of security as national security.

In the Philippines, attempts have been made to define human security. During the Second Annual Conference on Alternative Security in the Asia-Pacific Region in July 1998, then-Senator Wigberto Tañada, in his keynote address asserted that human security could not be achieved as long as economic and political sovereignty are curtailed and undermined. Speaking in the context of the economic crisis resulting from the 1998 Asian financial meltdown, Senator Tañada contends that the economic sovereignty of the Philippines is undermined as a result of misguided liberalization, deregulation, and privatization. For him, the government’s way out of the worsening economic crisis is to attract foreign investors by amending the constitution to allow foreign ownership of Philippine resources. In the end of the worsening crisis, only transnational corporations (TNCs) come out as winners. He argues that what is needed is an alternative development paradigm that places the interest of the people before the market requirements of a few TNCs and the prescriptions of a few international financial institutions. His framework of human security may be summed up in six points. First, development and security spring from an ideology of nationalism and not foreign subservience. Second, human security enhances rather than marginalizes life. Third, it treats gross national product growth as a means rather than as an end. Fourth, it encourages grassroots participation in crafting policies and responses that shape their lives. Fifth, human security is not simply freedom from war but based on the resolution of problems. Lastly, human security focuses not on weapons but on basic human dignity and the daily concerns of people.

Another attempt to craft a human security framework was undertaken by former Ambassador Howard Dee together with Professor Ernesto Garilao, both of whom represent Tabang Mindanaw. This was prepared specifically as a reaction to the 2005 Philippine Human Development Report. Based on results of the 1992 nationwide consultations conducted by the National Unification Commission, which traces injustice against indigenous peoples2 as the main cause of armed conflict, Tabang Mindanaw’s human security framework is anchored on justice-based development approach. It is based on the principle that inequities persist due to unresponsive institutions and passive, indifferent, and unempowered citizenry. Therefore, to resolve these problems, there must be local and multisectoral ownership of causes and solutions, and local leaders must be equipped with skills to create new institutional arrangements.

The basic principles of this human security framework are the achievement of justice and equity and placing people at the center of governance, which should focus on the removal of unjust structures and situations that foment conflict. Human security of indigenous peoples can be pursued through: (a) community empowerment to strengthen IP organizations and leaders for self-determination and self-governance; (b) development rights for the protection of ancestral domain and for integral human development for them to become self-nourishing; and (c) peace and security for the attainment of the freedoms that come with human security for them to be self-sustaining. In the context of Muslim Mindanao, the peace-building framework is the establishment of “Sanctuaries for Peace.” Key components would be (1) distributive justice that provides livelihood, water, health and education to reverse the injustices that have caused social marginalization, and (2) restorative justice, which is the process of cultural and spiritual healing and peace education to remove deep-seated religious and cultural prejudices.

Human Security in the Philippine Context: Dimensions, Processes and Mechanisms, and Actors

Based on the four dialogues, human security in the Philippine context would have six interrelated and not mutually exclusive dimensions:

  1. Sustainable, non-interventionist development for all based on justice, equity, and nationalism;
  2. Meaningful participation of multiple stakeholders in responsive, transparent, and accountable governance;
  3. Promotion and protection of cultural diversity, cultural integrity, and self-determination;
  4. Promotion and protection of community based on inclusiveness, solidarity, and mutual accountability;
  5. Unconditional respect for human rights and international humanitarian law and the commitment to continued demilitarization; and,
  6. Commitment to serve the needs and to promote the interests of the most vulnerable and marginalized sectors and to effectively regulate elite interests, whether local or foreign.

We would like to highlight that the explicit bias of the proposed human security framework is for the vulnerable. One important dimension of human security based on the dialogues is that human security is not only to provide individual security but, more importantly, community security. In the Philippine context, the concept of “fellow being” is an important element in how we understand our own personal, individual security.

We were able to identify the processes and mechanisms that would allow us to come close to achieve human security. One is the promotion of a stakeholder-based development. In the dialogue on the Philippine mining policy, one of the more important points that were raised was the pursuit for a development that strives to balance economic, environmental, and social needs and recognizes vulnerable and marginalized sectors as major stakeholders in development.

There was a debate on how to define national interest as an abstract concept. Although specific communities may not constitute the entire Filipino people, they should be recognized as major stakeholders. The debate also emphasized that we cannot just decide based on the expressed needs or interests of a single community because we need to think about the national interest.

What was stressed in that session was the inclusion of the stakes of communities that are adversely affected by the misguided mining policy in the cost-benefit analysis. It is not a matter of putting mining companies in the same field as indigenous peoples, peasants, and laborers as stakeholders. The stakes of most vulnerable sectors are large–not because they are vulnerable. They are major stakeholders because you could quantify their stakes and the costs that development intervention entails in their lives. Stakes, costs, and benefits of development should be accounted for in all stages of the development process, with the specific bias for the most vulnerable and the distribution of profits to all stakeholders. More importantly, there should be stronger regulation of actors in the development process, specifically those who hold capital.

Another mechanism would be the rule of law, which has two dimensions. One is upholding existing laws, but continuously reforming these laws towards greater justice and equity. We have many laws with good intentions. The problem, however, is that many of these are lost in the implementation process. They distribute or allocate rights in a lopsided manner, which allows too much discretion on the executive to decide on resource use. Another challenge is that many of these undermine the principles of human security.

Ensuring the continuity of stakeholder-based leadership and capacity building at the barangay level for democratic and human security-based governance is another mechanism to achieve human security. Continuity of leadership does not refer to the leadership of the local chief executive. Rather, it is having an active citizenry and a conscientious local government bureaucracy, which is able to implement and pursue a plan for development for their local community.

The problem is that programs change with the change in leadership. It was stressed that this mechanism is collective and stakeholder-based. To achieve human security, capability building should be done at the basic level of the barangay, as this mediates the individual, the household and the national level. In some cases in the Philippines, the most basic level of decision making may be the tribe or clan instead of the barangay, so this is the level where capacity building should take place.

Another mechanism would be to reform the educational system to make way for continued learning for all and from all. All of us need to benefit from the reform of educational system that seeks to enhance solidarity and respect for diversities, specifically from indigenous knowledge and practices.

What role would national government have in the promotion of human security? Specifically, the national government’s role is to create the enabling conditions to mainstream best practices. There were instances when national efforts emanating from the national level not only conflicted, but also impeded efforts in the local level. National government should allow local autonomy and local self-reliance to flourish to support continued innovation at the level of the local government unit to promote human security-based good governance.

Another mechanism would be to promote a culture of solidarity. Philippine society should be more flexible. It should resist homogenization, and instead accommodate different cultures. In such pursuit, the Philippine government should institutionalize the promotion of inclusion rather than exclusion, and the promotion of the idea that it is more important to have solidarity amidst differences. It was pointed out in the discussions that we do not need to be the same to be able to achieve unity. The more important thing would be to accept, celebrate, and recognize our differences and have the ability to support an effort even if you do not share the interest of a group.

Integrating the perspective of indigenous peoples in policymaking is another mechanism to achieve human security. Policymaking is anchored on the principle that land is life. Thus, human security should cover security of tenure in the ancestral lands, the value of cultural integrity and cultural diversity, and the right to self-determination. These principles apply to all communities, whether of indigenous peoples or not.

In violent conflict situations, constructive engagement, which is already being pursued, with de-escalation of violence and saving human lives as end goals, should be given focus. There should be respect for human rights and all humanitarian laws, aside from the provision of relief and other humanitarian services especially to women and children in conflict-affected areas. While the conflict-prevention and peace-building concept of human security in other countries is in the context of post-conflict situation, the Philippine case looks at the pursuit of human security in the context of on-going conflict.

The next question would be: who should pursue and act in favor of human security? Again, we have recognized the important role of a responsive government. There should be clearer ways by which sharing of accountability and responsibility between local government units (LGUs) and national government agencies may be achieved to strengthen local autonomy and local self-reliance. National capability in providing policy support and quality assurance in social service delivery should also be strengthened to facilitate the mainstreaming or replication of good practices, as well as critical analysis of bad practices in human security-based governance. The capacity especially of barangays should be strengthened to engender responsive, transparent, and accountable governance. Participation of vulnerable and marginalized sectors in local governance should be reinforced through the implementation of local sectoral representation, as provided by the Local Government Code (LGC).

Second is the role of a vigilant civil society. NGOs, the church, and academic institutions should all be involved in the pursuit of human security by continuing their policy advocacy in different arenas and at different levels. Vigilance should be exercised to promote and protect existing democratic spaces and to create new ones. Academe and civil society organizations including the church should provide expert advice and share resources for all of us to learn from indigenous knowledge and practices and to provide assistance in mediation, documentation and relief services to conflict-affected areas and peoples.

Another actor would be organized individuals as active citizens. We need to start voting for accountable governance and to continue, to be vigilant in resisting exclusionary practices. We cannot afford to abdicate our right and responsibility in policymaking and policy implementation. The major contribution, for instance, of academic institutions and the church is to harness active citizenship.

Accountable governance is not limited to government alone. Accountability and liability from the corporate sector should be regulated and exacted to create conscientious businesses. We need to assert that they have to conduct business in the context of human security.

We should also recognize transnational organizations and institutions as actors in our local-national pursuit of human security. Specifically, some of those mentioned would be effectively governing transnational capital, by forging solidarity with other countries and transnational organizations and institutions with similar advocacies. Forging solidarity at the transnational level is an important means to ensure our continued pursuit of human security.


VERONICA VILLAVICENCIO (Executive Director, Peace and Equity Foundation):

How does the framework respond to the basic definition of freedom from fear? Without some of the points raised, for instance, responding to conflict or mediation, the synthesis sounds like it is a governance framework.

Second, where does the state figure in the framework? As Ms. Deles said, there has to be a link that we have to establish between democratic politics, governance, and human security.

RAYMUND QUILOP (Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, CSSP, UP-Diliman):

How does this framework relate to the national security definition of our NSC? It, since the time of President Fidel Ramos, has also defined national security in its broadest sense to include seven elements, which include political stability, economic prosperity, cultural harmony, and the environment, among others. Apart from this, we also have the National Internal Security Plan (NISP), which also talks of the holistic approach–the left-hand and the right-hand approach. This is actually where some of the confusion of the Armed Forces is coming from because they themselves are in a debate regarding their proper role to play. Should they just focus on dealing with the armed component of the insurgency, or should they perform the tasks that are supposed to be performed by civilian agencies of the government? How different is our human security framework from that of the national security framework of the government? How does this framework link with, or contradict, the national security framework of the government?

DAVID CRUZ (Office of the Governor, Provincial Government of Laguna):

When we speak about stakeholders or actors, why do we not include the military? Regarding the definition, how does the most ordinary citizen view human security? In terms of the components, social security and the impact of natural disasters were not mentioned. These are more a common experience rather than the conflict with the Left or with the Muslim secessionists.


Fear, as expressed in the different dialogues, is defined in different ways and has many sources. A lot of the inputs that we have presented today came from representatives from military, and police officials from the local level. We were not fortunate enough to have representatives from the national level. From their inputs, we strived to show the economic and cultural aspects of human security. We also looked into human security in the context of violent conflict situations.

The main thesis that we have drawn from the various dialogues is that the quality of our lives–our human security–is a function of the way we govern ourselves. Human security has to be created through the collective effort of the people, which translates to participatory governance.

Having said that, how do we address natural disasters? According to Professor Randolph David of the Department of Sociology, natural disasters, from a sociological point of view, are not simply natural. Disasters have socioeconomic indicators. The intensity of natural disasters is again a function of the way we govern ourselves.

The state has a lot to say about human security. The problem is how the state implements its security policy. While the state broadens the definition of national security to include all aspects of human security, journalists and activists are being killed and the Chief Executive has articulated to wage an all-out war against dissidents. In the proposed human security framework, an all-out war policy is not an option. The commitment is for continued demilitarization and to never resort to violent or military solutions to conflicts.

What is the role of the military? Do we supplant or contradict national security? We believe that we complement national security but certainly there will be aspects that will contradict. With continued demilitarization, the military option is the last resort. The reality, however, is that there a holistic human security approach, the dominant frame remains to be violence and all-out war.

ZENAIDA BRIGIDA PAWID (Convenor, Cordillera People’s Forum):

From a perspective of an indigene, when we talk of policy we talk of something that mandates or governs everybody. When we talk of inclusivity, we mean all the stakeholders. But the truth is we are talking of one stake.

My reaction to the framework is that it sums up the wish list of marginalized and small groups as what should be the framework of government. We have been saying the same things repeatedly but government is not listening. Unless there is an attempt to redefine the state and governance, the framework is a careless use of convenient words.

When you say governance, you include civil society as if it is given that civil society is part of government. It is not and it never is. When you talk of policy, it is as if we are saying that it is the policy that everybody must follow and gives mandate and governs a certain state, but it does not.

The policy is the national policy, particularly in the three forums that were held. The “responsible government” that is supposed to respond to what the basic sectors or the marginalized groups have been saying has never been in attendance.

What we have here is a wish list, which we like hearing. How do you get that to the second phase, wherein we will be able to engage with government? Until we are able to re-draw the whole diagram so that you do not have neat circles pointing in the same direction, until we are able to show the reality of the matrix of the power positions and decision-making processes, I do not think we will ever go anywhere with that.

The second comment is: Can we attempt to demystify the discourse? Instead of promoting concepts such as those in the human development index, can we use the terms that people use? Only when it is translated in the language of the people will we be able to react.

Third, the intention of dividing the dialogues into four divisions–development, culture, governance, and violent conflict–is not to classify the major stakeholders but to make the dialogue more manageable. All of these themes are holistic by themselves. But when you put them in diagrams, it seems like there is an attempt to interrelate all of it and there is a danger of mixing them all up.

IWAN SOETHJAHJA (President, Health All Development International Foundation):

The presentation gives us a view of human security in detail, but it is quite fragmented. One of its weak spots is the proposed indicators of those changes. It seems as if we expect that things will happen. We need to handle human security as a whole, and to examine its roots to develop a solution.

Security is related to all sectors, in the same way that insecurity will be experienced by all sectors. The correction of insecurity and development should take place in all sectors. A holistic response is required and not just directed to one or just a couple of sectors. How do we ensure the security of all sectors? My opinion is to use a common appropriate goal where we can develop mechanisms to achieve it. How do we implement this goal? This positioning of a common goal as the center point of development will produce the proper policies and regulations of government, nationally and internationally. It would also provide direction to all sectors to develop the right living conditions and develop security for all.

Which is the most appropriate sector that will push the system forward? After thorough analysis, health development as a system is much better compared to the current system we are using, which is the economic system. Why? Because equity in health is possible compared to equity in wealth, which is never possible. Health is the only sector that is holistic and balanced. Health is the most effective sector to provide guidance to all other sectors.

How do we implement this? We are proposing to adopt a bottom-up approach wherein communities are involved in decision-making processes. In this manner, people can act, both to change the system, as well as develop the community to become more self-reliant for the long-term.


The human security framework, as proposed, would complement the national security framework if we are looking at national security from a very narrow point of view, which is only composed of the military dimension. However, as I have pointed out earlier, this view of national security is no longer the case. They have the seven elements of national security, which practically includes almost everything that the proposed human security framework here addresses. How different is this proposed human security framework from the government’s existing policy since the time of Presidents Ramos, Joseph Estrada up to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo? Again, if you look at the NISP, it is actually very good on paper. The roles of different sectors and actors of government, including civil society, are actually laid out in that plan. In fact, they have a very good specification of how specific agencies of the government, including civil society groups, should come into the picture. Maybe one of the reasons this plan failed to materialize, and as noted in the presentation a while ago, is the failure of implementation.

One last point regarding the entire framework: We have laid down here the different actors and the roles we want them to play, and what they should do. However, we failed to lay down how these actors are going to do those things.

ELOISA ROGADO (Department of Social Welfare and Development [DSWD], Region IV):

Since the national government is a major actor in the human security framework, maybe the TWSC can disseminate this proposed framework to all government agencies as a reference. Then we can tie it up with the existing policy or framework of each government agency and check out areas of complementation in another series of forums.


As Ms. Deles mentioned earlier, the discussion should not stop in the level of principles or on the framework itself. I agree with Ms. Pawid that the ultimate test of validity or the workability of this framework is if and when it becomes real for the stakeholders. She is also correct to point out that it should be translated into as many languages as possible so that more people will be able to provide their inputs to make the framework appropriate to the Philippine context.

With regard to the added value of the proposed framework, we intend to complement the existing national security framework. Its main contribution is its explicit bias, not only in favor of the marginalized and the vulnerable, but also against foreign intervention. Probably, that is where it would have a ticklish, sensitive relationship with the existing national security framework of government.


I think the issue is not whether this model complements or duplicates the existing national security framework. The issue, as mentioned earlier, is on implementation. What is the problem? Is it in the definition? Is it in implementation? We had representatives from the police at the local level and from the military from the field who expressed their respective views on this. However, as we have mentioned, representatives from the national government were not able to attend our forums. The national government has different definitions, but is an agreement reached? How will their definition evolve? Did they include the stakeholders in formulating it? What is apparent in the course of the dialogue series is that human security concerns are felt more in the local level.


I would like to see this go to the next level wherein we look at the generated discourses among government and the basic sectors that are in discord. Government is very good in saying that they will consult the basic sectors, but they do not include them when they craft their policies or programs.

With regard to the added value of this entire process, I see the University as being the most capable of facilitating a dialogue, for instance, between the marginalized sector or the basic sector or the people from the grassroots with the NSC. You cannot get them to dialogue. Since they use different languages, they do not understand each other. They will have different perspectives when they start talking of security.

The mediator makes the dialogue possible. The dialogue should not be conducted as a large-scale consultation, but in a focused manner. My recommendation is for the TWSC to continue to bring this proposed framework to where it is most useful—in the grassroots.

FLEURDELIZ TORRES (Director, Department of Education and ChildHope-Asia):

In the beginning of this forum, we asked the usefulness of this proposed framework. Where do we go from here? It was mentioned that the NSC has already done something regarding this. In my view, a framework is really just a framework, unless it is inclined towards policy guidelines.

We should not confuse framework with plan of action. We are talking about the framework here, as well as the possibilities of how to implement it. Implementing a plan of action will be the second part of what we are doing.

There really is a need for consultation and participation of all the sectors concerned. The reason why the existing national security framework is not really known or acceptable to everyone is because there was really no consultation.

JOSEPH LUMANOG (Office of Party-List Representative Christian Señeres, BUHAY Partylist):

In my opinion, it would be good to explicitly emphasize monitoring in the human security framework. In this regard, we can recommend some policies and look forward to implementing them. I think we should institutionalize feedback mechanisms so that we can monitor the actual implementation of these policies. From there, we project what to do in the future. Also, explicit emphasis on monitoring will be very useful in the processes and mechanisms of human security. In so doing, we can hold all stakeholders and actors–not only the state but all of us–accountable and responsible for our actions.

I would like to add a point on the media’s involvement. In our very complicated world today, the media has a unique role in bringing into public consciousness the different issues. If we want to make this a dominant discourse not only among government and NGO circles, but also for the general public, we need to bring in the media. I believe the media can help in mainstreaming the human security framework.

As a community, we want to be inclusive as far as NGOs, civil society organizations, and private institutions are concerned. Sometimes, as far as the language also indicates, the discourse tends to be esoteric. The common people cannot understand what the human security framework is. The goal must be to mainstream the human security framework so that the broader masses can understand and appreciate what we are talking about.

REV. DELBERT RICE (Kalahan Educational Foundation):

I would like to speak from the standpoint of the local community where I come from. People in the community do not expect our town mayor to administer the municipality well. Instead, they expect him to give out scholarships to the children.

Meanwhile, civil society is not demanding the congressmen legislate properly. Instead, they are asking the legislators to build bridges, waiting sheds, and health centers without budget for health workers. This is the ultimate confusion and we cannot have security as long as we are so confused.

In my opinion, it is civil society’s job to demand that public officials fulfill their proper functions, whether in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Council) or Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal Council). We will never have a good government if civil society does not perform this function.

FR. ANTONIO ANCHETA (Social Action Center-Ilagan, Isabela):

I would like to comment on the role of academic institutions in promoting good governance and participation. We can encourage our students to participate in venues for participation that the Local Government Code provides. In doing so, we can gauge whether the academe is helping out in implementing participatory local governance.

NERISSA NAVARRO-PIEMONTE (Commission on Human Rights):

The framework somehow provides very general concepts and suggests very specific or limiting aspects. For example, one of the mechanisms proposed is the promotion of a culture of solidarity. Is it only solidarity that you would like to promote? Should we not be promoting a culture of human rights and peace? We are speaking here of removing biases and accepting difference. Perhaps we should look into the possibility of building a culture of human rights. Respect for human rights and respect for international humanitarian law should be carried out in the processes and mechanisms. I do not find these in the proposed model.

In terms of actors, which actors are doing what? As a final comment, to provide more meaning to this exercise, we should also review or assess the gaps in the implementation of the national security framework. In this manner, we can propose to government that this is another framework. We have a lot of frameworks to digest and to mainstream in planning in government and civil society. Perhaps we can start by looking, first, at what has failed and what we can do to lessen or fill in the gaps. The value-added of what we are doing is to show government the gaps in the existing frameworks, which contribute to the failure in implementation.

SERGIO VILLENA (Project Management Office, GOP-UNDP CPPB):

Before we talk about implementation, monitoring, and the role of the media, one recommendation is to identify or at least point us to the direction of who will be the champions of this framework both from government and civil society. Will it be Assisi Development Foundation? Will it be the OPAPP or any other security sector agency? Will it be DSWD, or a consortium of government agencies actually involved in the components of human security?

GEORGE FACSOY (Upland Development Institute):

What has been discussed is very ideal. However, human security involves different levels. I agree that we have to reach the grassroots when it comes to the framework. We, in the Cordilleras, are guided by the three principles of ili (home territory), bodong (traditional peace pact system), and paniyaw (indigenous notions of evil). These principles define our security.

The problem arises when there are intrusions of policies and frameworks from outside the community. While some say that the LGC is a good starting point, this should be viewed in the context of indigenous peoples’ communities. This will enrich the framework when we look at it this way. People from government and the academe may understand this language, but people from the grassroots do not have any idea what you are talking about.

I hope that you will be able to go to the grassroots, and from there develop a consolidated framework from both government and civil society. Our framework, which uses a top-to-bottom approach, may be good in paper, but eventually we are going to have problems in implementing it in the community level. Laws and policies crafted by the people from Congress are not understood by the people they are supposed to represent.


The framework that we presented today is a result not simply of a review of existing literature, but of a process whereby we attempted to involve sectors to incorporate various perspectives. True to our mission as academics, we facilitate sharing and growth of knowledge. We recognize that the proposed framework still needs to be refined further and translated into action.

In as far as identifying the champion of this proposed framework, the TWSC as an academic institution can facilitate the dialogue for us to come up with the framework. We engage all of you here to at least consider this framework, and other existing frameworks on human security and national security. We have prepared a resolution for us to recognize the need for a human security framework and its eventual mainstreaming. This is one way of expressing our will to own up to the effort to mainstream the proposed human security framework. The TWSC commits to do its best to further modify the framework based on all the inputs you have raised.

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