CHR, DOJ ink data sharing agreement to strengthen resolution of human rights cases

Published September 2, 2020, 12:11 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Tuesday virtually signed a Data Sharing Agreement (DSA) with the Department of Justice Inter-Agency Committee (AO35) Secretariat to strengthen their operations in resolving cases of torture, abuse, and other human rights violations.

The AO 35 Secretariat for the Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) on Extra-Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture, and Other Grave Violations and the CHR entered into the agreement to facilitate data sharing. In doing so, both agencies pledged to help each other by sharing vital information for the successful resolution of cases.

CHR Commissioner Leah Tanodra-Armamento said the DSA is necessary considering that the Data Privacy Act has taken into effect.

“The DSA clearly defines our respective roles, and at the same time, acknowledges and respects the internal rules of our individual institutions in the role of data sharing,” she said.

Tanodra-Armamento added that the provisions of the DSA “will further strengthen the operation between our institutions to serve, defend justice, and protect human rights.”

For the CHR, the DSA will not only help it in its own private investigations but will also add credence to its final investigation reports (FIRs) because these will help them attain resolution “and not remain in our archives.”

The IAC is chaired by Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Gueverra. Its members are Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, Department of National Defense (DND) Delfin Lorenzana, the Chairperson of the Presidential Human Rights Committee, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito Galvez Jr., Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief Gilbert Gapay, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Lt. Gen. Casmilo Cascolan, and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Officer-in-Charge Eric Distor.

CHR Chairperson Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon, Ombudsman Samuel Martires, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin, and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III will participate as observers and resource persons.