Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Leila De Lima paid a visit at the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) last week and met with DILG Acting Secretary Melchor Rosales and other officers under its wing to work on the strengthening of the Barangay Human Rights Action Centers (BHRAC).
Accompanied by Human Rights Education and Research Director Ana Elzy Ofreneo and the CHR's BHRAC personnel, Chairperson De Lima and Acting Secretary Rosales, along with other DILG Assistant Secretaries and representatives from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO), discussed various strategies for the maximum revitalization of the Program.
Among the matters that were agreed upon were the need to update the BHRAC Handbook, development of a specialized module/manual for the Barangay Human Rights Action Officer (BHRAO) and fasttrack their capability-building by requiring them to undergo training in laws applying to children, women, juvenile justice, anti-trafficking and basic forensics.
Strategies that were laid down were the reactivation of the BHRAC technical working group and designation of its members who will act as advisers in policy formulation; for the CHR to convene, separately, with the League of Provinces, League of City Mayors, League of Municipal Mayors of the Philippines and Liga ng Mga Barangay to inform them and get their respective opinions on the Program; revisit and review all previous Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) and come up with a comprehensive, consolidated MOA.
Fortifying these activities shall be a collective push for the institutionalization of the BHRAC Program by way of a study of existing proposed/filed bills in both Houses of Congress and subsequently submit a position paper and lobby for the same.
Created in 1994, the BHRAC is considered as the flagship program of the CHR--. Its main objective is to provide human rights assistance that shall reach out to Filipinos in the grassroots level. Normally, a BHRAO is elected by a typical barangay assembly to run the BHRAC. XXX