Ms. Maxine Tanya Hamada, I thank you for your kind introductory words and for your invitation to attend the launch of the new publication “Transformation: A Security Sector Reform Reader” published by INCITEGov.
I am very glad to be back in Manila and to see many old and new friends, in particular Secretary Deles of OPAPP as well as representatives of the Armed Forces of The Philippines, the NSC, the NDCP, our partners of the academic and NGO community and last but not least FES. The relationship between DCAF and the Philippines goes back a long time, and at this point of time we are very honoured that The Philippines has joined the Foundation Council of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces in May 2011, which makes The Philippines the second country in Southeast Asia after Indonesia to join DCAF.
Above all, I would like to congratulate the International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov) and the members of the Philippines Study Group on Security Sector Reform with the launch of their publication “Transformation: A Security Sector Reform Reader.” The reader is the harvest of the first years of work of the Philippines Study Group. As you probably know, the Philippines Study Group is a unique and thoroughly Filipino experience in which civil society organizations, members of congress, universities and think tanks as well as representatives of the security sector institutions have tackled the difficult but very important issues of SSR. The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation (FES) and DCAF have modestly contributed to the Philippines Study Group since its inception in 2007.
DCAF support for SSR in the Philippines
From our side, DCAF is very proud and pleased to support the Philippines Study Group on SSR as part of DCAF’s wider engagement in promoting good governance of the security sector in Southeast Asia. Within the Philippines, DCAF is currently engaged in four types of capacity building activities.
1. We support regional workshops of Inter-Parliamentary Forum on Security Sector Governance in Southeast Asia which brings together MPs, civil society, government and security officials of Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. The aim of IPF-SSG is to familiarize MPs and parliamentary staff with SSR/G. To date, two regional IPF-SSG workshops have taken place in the Philippines, i.e. one workshop on National Security Policy Development in Manila and another one Police Reform in Davao City.
2. As mentioned before, in cooperation with FES, DCAF has supported various activities of the Philippines Study Group on SSR. Our support consisted of giving expertise and advice as well as to give presentations on SSR/G to the members of the Philippines’ Study Group.
3. Co-hosted by NDCP at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, we have organized two seminars on SSR for senior officials of the security sector. The aim of the seminars is to train security sector officials on the concepts and practice of SSR with special attention to contextualizing SSR to the Philippines situation and to formulate recommendations for future policy.
4. We have been closely working together with the Institute for Strategic and Development Studies (ISDS) on various policy research and training activities, including ASEAN and SSR, the state of affairs with regard to SSR in Southeast Asia as well as regional training seminars for think tanks and research institutes in Southeast Asia.
Relevance of SSR for the Philippines
You may ask yourself why do we do this and why here in the Philippines. From the point of view of the over 60 member states of the DCAF Foundation Council to which the Philippines belongs, democratization and security sector reform go hand in hand. Without comprehensive, timely and effective SSR, democratic consolidation will be at risk; moreover, the absence or delay of SSR may even lead to democratic deconsolidation. Exactly because our citizens, not only in the Philippines but in all countries involved, request from its representatives in government and legislature, that they deliver security and stability which are conditions for a prosperous society with a vibrant democracy, we are committed to supporting SSR.
Based on our own experiences, we know that good governance of the security is more than the absence of military coups. It also requires that modernization of the security sector is going along with strengthening democratic accountability and civilian oversight including the respect for human rights and rule of law. It requires that civilian authorities, security officials and members of the public are aware of the proper roles of the civilians and military in domestic security, external security and reform of the security sector. In addition, it requires that the security sector institutions do not interfere with politics and public policy.
The SSR reader ends first phase of the Philippines Study Group on SSR
Against this background, the reader is an important milestone for the Study group. It touches upon very important and challenging topics such as democratic and civilian control of the security sector, peace process and SSR, private security companies, the experience of the military under Marcos Rule, democratization processes, SSR, defense reform and the respect for human rights and the rule of law.
DCAF has been part of the discussions of the Study Group and we have always been very impressed with the unequalled Filipino style, that is with motivation, commitment and above all the willingness of the members of the Study Group to share experiences with other members including representatives of civil society, legislature, security sector and government.
The reader is a milestone as it codifies this sharing of experiences and good practices. It signifies that the Study group has been very successful. All in all, in addition to the launch of the SSR Reader, the Philippines Study Group was successful in two other ways. First, President Aquino has made SSR one of the four pillars of the new national security policy which will soon be followed up by a national security strategy. Second, the former chair of the Study Group, Secretary Deles, has become the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, and in this capacity, Secretary Deles plays an important role in the implementation of SSR policy.
I would like to conclude with wishing the Philippines Study Group a successful future. It will be a tough challenge to equal the milestones that have been achieved in the recent past, but security sector governance and reform is too important to be left untouched, not only for us, but also for the society as a whole.