NDCP, FES, DCAF Hold Federalism and SSR Workshop

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The National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), conducted the 5th Security Sector Reform (SSR) Workshop.

The workshop with the theme “The Implications of Federalism for Security Sector Reform and Security Sector Governance in the Philippines” was held on 9-10 May 2017 at the NDCP Honor Hall.

The workshop featured subject matter experts (SMEs) from the academe, civil society, and government.  The SMEs include Assistant Secretary Jonas George S Soriano of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, Professor Aries Arugay of UP Department of Political Science, Professor Ronald Mendoza of the Ateneo School of Government, Professor Mario J Aguja of Mindanao State University, Professor Jennifer S Oreta of Ateneo Department of Political Science, Professor Edmund Tayao of UST Department of Political Science, and Professor Ramon Casiple of the Institute of Political and Electoral Reform.

SMEs from Europe, namely Dr Albrecht Schnabel of DCAF and Commissioner Patrick Gistelinck of the Brussels Police, also shared their experience about federalism in relation to security sector governance.

In his opening remarks, the NDCP President Rear Admiral Roberto Q Estioko AFP (Ret), noted the fruitful partnership among the three organizers of the Workshop, which started in 2008.

In his remarks, NDCP Executive Vice President Director Roland G Jungco emphasized that respect for freedom and human rights is the cornerstone of a just society, regardless of the type of political system.

Participants to the workshop included representatives from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), civilian government agencies, local government units, and civil society.

During the workshop, the participants discussed the political, economic, socio-cultural and bureaucratic challenges and opportunities of a prospective federal form of Philippine government for the security sector.  They also underscored the need for the government to come up with a proposed specific model in order for stakeholders to have more meaningful deliberations and put forward more concrete recommendations.

Questions from participants centered on the right balance of power between the federal government and the state/regional government across a wide array of governance areas.  Workshop participants also commented on the risks of shifting to a federal form of government against a backdrop of political dynasties.

–  Manmar Francisco