Posted on May 25, 2021
Civil society organizations (CSOs) intending to join the Local People's Council are no longer required to secure clearance from state security forces after the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued its revised guidelines.
Memorandum Circular (MC) 2021-054, issued on May 18, sought to clarify the establishment of CSO desks and institutionalization of People's Council in the LGUs, recognizing the concerns raised by the stakeholders.
"The issuance of DILG MC 2021-12 brought out several issues on the operationalisation of key concepts introduced in the policy. Hence, this amendatory issuance to address the issues raised by stakeholders and provide specific procedural guidelines," the circular read.
Section 4.1 of MC 2021-12 issued by the DILG on January 28 required CSO's to "secure clearances" from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) "for security reasons and to determine the legitimacy of the CSOs intending to apply for accreditation."
"The existing clearance issued by the AFP and PNP shall apply, but shall indicate that such CSO is cleared from any subversive and illegal activities," the circular read.
INCITEGov, together with 55 civil society leaders and groups, issued a statement on May 5 calling for the revocation of MC 2021-12, saying such provision "will constrict the civic space where civil societies can operate to keep the government accountable for its actions" and "will instill fear and discourage freedom of speech and assembly which the state is mandated to uphold and protect."
"The memo circular cannot but be seen as an attempt to silence dissent in the country, amidst the increasing incidents of red tagging, harassment and warrantless searches of CSO offices, and extra-judicial killings committed against human rights defenders, journalists and civil society representatives," it read.
INCITEGov sent the statement to the DILG and the Commission on Human Rights for consideration and appropriate action.
INCITEGov acknowledges with appreciation this move by the DILG to issue MC 2021-054 in recognition of the concerns raised by stakeholders.