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JULY 15, 2010 

























This case involves a project of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Asia, 
Inc. The ESCR Asia is committed to the understanding and articulation of Asian 
perspectives on human rights in general and economic, social and cultural rights in 
particular and also, in developing agreements on these principles and strengthening 
commitment to promote ESCRs, specifically in Southeast Asia and other Asian countries. 

Figure 1: HRBA Framework 

Upon inception of this 
project entitled "Legal Empowerment 
of the Poor" by ESCR Asia, Inc. as the 
proponent of the project by the UNDP, 
its Board of Trustees discussed the 
research outline or framework to help 
give direction to the project. As guide, 
the board of the organization agreed 
upon the common terms of reference, 
which was made truly rights-based. 
ESCR, Asia adopted as a general 
policy that the policy measure would 
be along the basic principle that legally 
empowering the poor meant going 
beyond formal laws and that 

empowerment meant participation in 
the decision making processes and governance concerns that affect them. Coupled with 
this policy is the condition set by ESCR Asia that the informal sector has special need in 
terms of capacitating itself on relevant vulnerability and corruption issues that affect their 
status in society 







: Origin 

This case is a documentation and analysis as to how the human rights-based 
approach (HRBA) was applied in the project, and not a case study of the project itself. 

A review of the policy studies on the Legal Empowerment Project of the ESCR, Asia, Inc., conducted 
through a case study method,. 

Thus throughout this case document, the project will be referred to as the "project case". 
It approximates the application of the approach in the project, the organization of the 
proponent, the method and process through which the approach was applied in the 
project, the various implementation, institutional and organizational issues and 
constraints encountered by the project in applying the approach, the success indicators of 
the approach in the project, both at the output and outcome level, the reaction of the 
proponent of the project as user of the approach, the lessons learned in applying the 
approach and incorporating as well the future direction, replicability and sustainability of 
the approach. 

Conceptually, HRBA has its legal basis rooted in the international human rights 
framework. Within the context of this 

Figure 2: HRBA Operational Framework 

Problems are rooted 
from the situation of 
vulnerable sectors 
expressly matched with I 
applicable human rights 

Outputs and outcomei 
of HRBA process art 
defined in terms of 
empowerment and 
realization of 

Source: Original Design 

Both duty-bearers and 
claimholders are 
capacitated on State 
obligations and humai 

framework the approach is conceived as a 

process to mainstreaming human rights in 

every stage and aspect of development in 

order to improve the quality of life of 

people across the globe. To understand the 

approach, its core elements as applied in 

this study must be comprehensively 

understood. These elements are: 1) a 

paradigm shift from needs to rights; 2) 

operationalization of human rights 

principles; 3) application of human rights 

standards; and 4) implementation of 

human rights obligations and entitlements 

by duty-bearers and claimholders. 

Essentially, the mainstreaming of human 

rights provides the objective standards for effectiveness of development, accountability 

and evaluative role as the criteria for improving the quality of life of the vulnerable and 

disadvantaged sectors. . While Figure 2 suggests the application of the HRBA core 

elements in the project or intervention processes. 

Success of HRBA is 
achieved when HR 
standards are evident 
in intervention results: 
policies, programs, 


2. Background of the Project Case 

In 2006, the UNDP sought the engagement of the ESCR, Asia to implement a 
project on legal empowerment of the informal sector in the Philippines. The project is an 
offshoot of the mission conducted by Dr. Naresh Singh of the United Nations High Level 
Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor. The mission was intended to develop 
sound policy recommendations to reduce poverty in the country through legal 
empowerment. Dr. Singh recommended to UNDP to undertake initiatives to address the 
four (4) crucial pillars of national and international efforts to give the poor protection and 

: UNDP Rights-Based Development Training Manual. UNDP. 2002. pp 16-17. 

opportunities. These pillars are (i) access to justice and the rule of law, (ii) property 
rights, (iii) labor rights and (iv) business rights. 

Under the Governance Portfolio of the GOP-UNDP, the ESCR Asia is expected to 
implement a legal empowerment project that demonstrates the use of HRBA in the 
designing and implementation of the project especially in the policy reforms along the 
four (4) thematic pillars of legal empowerment.. The project case seeks to attain the 
following purposes: 

a) To explore how the HRBA was applied in the various thematic policy 
papers of ESCR, Asia and in the draft Magna Carta, along the pillars of 
legal empowerment of the poor; 

b) To examine to what extent the approach was used in the participatory 
process involved in the formulation of the thematic policy papers; 

c) To draw up lessons on how best the HRBA can contribute to the 
enhancement of the development and governance goals for the informal 

3. Overview of the Project Case 

The project was designed towards the review and formulation of appropriate 
legislative, judicial and administrative measures and mechanisms focused on the four 
thematic agenda on the legal empowerment of the poor. 

In order to implement the project, the ESCR Asia envisioned the conduct of 
systematic focus group discussions and national conference with key sectors and partners 
in government, civil society organizations and basic sectors. Such consultations were 
designed to take off from the policy papers on the thematic agenda of legal empowerment 
of the poor, which would be prepared, consolidated and presented through various 
consultation fora among key basic sectors, government organizations and private sectors 
from the different parts of the country. The results of these consultations would 
culminate in the formulation of action plans and monitoring of commitments of the 
project constituencies. 

The project case accomplished significant gains in the aspect of the use of the 
elements and processes of the HRBA in the project. ESCR Asia was able to produce four 
thematic policy papers along the four (4) focus areas of the project, which further led to 
the drafting of the Magna Carta for Informal Sector in the country. Hand-in-hand with 
achieving this gain is the massive participation that was generated among the informal 
sector involving six (6) basic sub-sectors to include: vendor, small transport, home-based, 
fisher-folks and farmers. Raising of awareness on the different rights of the informal 
sector was also done through community -based approaches in at least .six strategic areas 
in the country. 

Under a purely developmental framework, such very intricate analysis and 
formulation made covering the thematic policies and Magna Carta could not have been 
possible. The issue of legal empowerment was given a face and an address with the 
enlistment and participation of the different sub-sectors of the informal sector all over the 
country,which were statistically unknown in the past. 

The twelve-month work and preparation of the project proved to be 
meaningful in bringing about a healthy and constructive engagement of both government 
and non-government frameworks in dealing with the human rights concerns of the 
informal sector. The application of HRBA was exhaustively done in terms of being able 
to mainstream human rights standards of the informal sector. The use of human rights 
advocates and practitioners in the writing up of the policy papers and Magna Carta 
through a consultative process proved to be the most appropriate method of HRBA in the 

Specific to this case, the human rights -related mandate of the ESCR Asia worked 
to its advantage. The operationalization of the HRBA parameters to include the human 
rights principles, normative content and application of obligations and entitlements 
proved to have been implemented with greater ease. Likewise the use of popular human 
rights materials that were designed and produced by human rights consultants and 
volunteer organizations tapped by ESCR Asia made significant contributions to 
facilitating the mainstreaming of the approach in the project. 

4. Historical Account of the Project Case 

At the outset, the ESCR Asia, Inc. made a conscious effort to promote and 
practice the use of HRBA in the project. It formulated a comprehensive right-based 
policy framework for the development of policy measures that entailed an exhaustive 
review of existing and pending legislations with those of the ICESCR and other relevant 
international and domestic labor laws. This was followed by a mobilization of networks 
of the informal labor throughout the country that participated in both the regional 
consultations and national consultation. The policy dialogues and consultations were 
aided by information materials in popular forms showing advocacies on specific rights of 
the informal sector. The documentation, analysis and interpretation of the various results 
of the policy consultations were supplemented by the inputs of the different law 
organizations in the country, concerned government agencies and academic and research 
organizations and media organizations involved in human rights advocacy work. 

The different strategies used to effect HRBA at every stage of the project included 
among others, the organization of rights-based constituency that was built into advocating 
the legal empowerment of the basic sectors. Representatives from different 

organizations of informal sector and sub-sectors participated in the various consultations. 
They represented the areas of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Policy and social dialogues 
were advocated between these organizations of vulnerable sectors with national 

government agencies and local government units that were focused on the needs and 
concerns of the informal sector using a rights perspective. 

Starting November 2006 to February 2007, the Board of Trustees of ESCR-Asia 
met at least three times to tackle the framework and appropriate design of the national 
consultation processes. The bottom-up-bottom approach (or grassroots-experts approach) 
was reaffirmed as the effective methodology in the drawing up of the four thematic 
papers. It was agreed that at least two focus-group discussions with grassroots and 
experts be conducted to enhance the major documents and to realize the objectives of the 

The basic sectors identified and covered from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao were 
those coming from non-corporate construction work, small transport, vendors, home- 
based, fisher folks and farmers. 

From January-March 2007, writers were identified and briefed - Atty. Glenda 
Litong for Access to Justice and Rule of Law, Dr. Amado Mendoza- Property Rights, 
Atty. Edmund Lao and Jeremy Inocian- Labor Rights and Reginald Indon- Legal 
Mechanisms for Empowering Informal Businesses. The writers employed not only 
review of existing literature on the topic but initiated interviews with key informants 
from both key government agencies, basic sectors and the academe. The first drafts of 
the papers were subjected to reviews not only through focus group discussions with 
experts and basic sector groups but also of the Review and Advisory Panel members. 
Relevant and pertinent case studies were also researched to substantiate the guidelines 
and terms of reference of each thematic paper. 

From March-April 2007, a 12-member Advisory Panel was formed and composed 
of well-known human rights advocates, legal luminaries, civil society leaders, academics, 
and former and current government officials who believe in the strength of legal 
processes/mechanisms and structures in addressing and crafting an anti-poverty agenda. 
The role of the Advisory Panel was defined. More importantly, given their expertise, the 
members were asked to further substantiate the contents of the draft thematic papers and 
to help advance the Philippine initiative in utilizing legal system to empower the 
marginalized section of society. Series of consultations were held from March to June 
2007 to orient and discourse on the LEP initiative, get feedbacks on the four documents 
as well as fortifying their respective commitments to champion the LEP agenda. These 
efforts paid off as members of the Advisory Panel proved to be very helpful in providing 
comments/inputs that further enhanced the contents of the four thematic papers and in 
putting forward viable proposals/policy recommendations. 

In April, 2007, after the creation of the advisory panel, ESCR-Asia deemed it 
necessary to conduct consultation activities with grassroots leaders concerning the 
design, content and time-frame of the envisioned national focus group discussions. 
ESCR-Asia met at least 14 major informal sector organizations in Metro Manila, 20 
regional informal sector leaders and organizations in Cebu City, 12 in Cagayan de Oro 
City and 8 in Zamboanga City between end March and April 2007. In these meetings, 

target participants (participating organizations, leaders) for the national FGD were not 
only identified but also of the purpose of the endeavor. For enlightened participation of 
at the local level, the executive summaries of the papers were also translated into Filipino 
and Cebuano and distributed to the IS leaders before the actual consultations. 
Highlighted in these materials are the various rights and concerns of the informal sector. 

The results of the deliberation of the Advisory Panel were also turned in for 
presentation in Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) in strategic areas. In order to address 
the problems and concerns of the informal sector to the roots, which is typical of the 
HRBA, the FGD design allowed much participation from the sector in order to solicit 
opinions and views of grassroots leaders, human rights advocates and other stakeholders 
on the thematic policy papers. Two national focus group discussions were held. In the 
FGD with Basic Sector Leaders (Cebu City, May 18-22), thirty participants from 
different parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao attended this four-day gathering. A news 
article capturing the highlights of the event came out in one local broadsheet in Cebu 
City. The same FGDs were run in Quezon City on June 1, 2007. Around forty select 
officials of government agencies, representatives from the private sector, leaders of non- 
governmental organizations, and church institutions, and academicians took part in this 
gathering. Feedbacks and recommendations of the participants in the two FGDs have 
been considered by the authors in coming up with the final version of their respective 
thematic papers. 

These FGDs were followed by a national policy conference at the Makati 
Shangri-La Hotel on July 25-26, 2007. Aside from the regular staff, ESCR-Asia 
contracted at least four people to assist in the preparation of the National Policy 
Conference held on July 25-26, 2007. Adopting the multi-stakeholder approach to the 
endeavor, at least 60 key government agencies, 50 basic sectoral groups, 20 diplomatic, 
20 from academe and 50 from non-government organizations and people's organizations 
were targeted to participate in the conference invitations, to include venue preparation 
and the development of an LEP kit took more than a month-preparation. A major 
breakthrough in social dialogue on the empowerment of the poor was the gathering of 
duty-bearers and claimholders that made up a multi-stakeholder representations from 
government, civil society and basic sectors from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao through 
a National Policy Conference (NPC) held at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel last July 25-26, 
2007. More than a hundred participants including some members of the diplomatic e.g. 
European Union, the Royal Norwegian Embassy as well as media attended the said event. 
During the National Policy Conference, the following government agencies pledged and 
committed to champion the cause of the poor: Asian Development Bank, Dept. of Labor, 
Mindanao State University (MSU), the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) and 
the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA). These were participated by the 
National Government Agencies and NGOs e.g. NEDA and ESCR-Asia, Phil. National 
Police (PNP) and ESCR-Asia. Presidential Management Staff (PMS) and informal sector 
groups participated in the event. 

After four months of revision, editing to include lay-out of the four thematic 
papers and the integrative paper, the policy resource book was finally published and 

launched last December 10, 2007, as a fitting commemoration of the Human Rights Day. 
It was attended again by both duty-bearers and claimholders of legal empowerment issues 
coming from select government agencies, informal sector subgroups (home-based 
workers, small fisher-folks, farmers, vendors, and small transport). The launching was 
matched with popularization of the human rights concerns of the informal sector through 
conduct of Regional Caravan of the Legal Empowerment of the Poor. To continue the 
nurturing of "champions" among the duty-bearers and the claimholders for the legal 
empowerment of the poor, ESCR-Asia designed and started the caravan to the regions. 
After the launching of the policy resource book in Manila, the Cebu City Administration 
was the first partner in the said caravan. 

5. Institutional/Organizational Issues and Constraints 

ESCR, Asia has, within its mandates and resources effectively managed a rights- 
based policy reform for the legal empowerment of the poor through a massive national 
and local consultation involving not only the major informal groups of the sector but even 
the different sub-sectors with appropriate geographical representations in the different 
islands and regions of the country. 

It encountered major organizational constraint in that of being a relatively small 
organization with few core staff to manage consultations, which have both national and 
local dimensions. Although the organization was able to tap some help from different 
non-government organizations, the entire consultation process involved in the validation 
of the thematic policy papers and the crafting of action plans at various levels proved to 
be a major constraint. 

6. Analysis of the Project Case 

As envisioned, the human rights orientation of project results is only made 
possible through a deliberate mainstreaming approach that was made possible based on 
the conceptual framework on HRBA. However, the real test of the effectiveness of 
HRBA is based on the human rights content of both the policy papers and the draft 
Magna Carta, which is examined thoroughly as follows: 

1 . Human Rights Content Analysis of the Four Thematic Policy Papers on Legal 
Empowerment of the Poor. 

Adopting HRBA to legal empowerment of the poor means understanding 
development not only as the economic, social, political and cultural process of achieving 
the realization of human rights and freedoms of the poor, vulnerable and marginalized but 
above all as the empowerment and capacitating of these people to make choices and 
decide what this process of expansion should look like. Such approach was tediously 
applied to this project. Both the content of and the process though which the policy 
framework evolved, were products of massive and substantive consultations. Content 
wise, the four (4) thematic papers were able to adequately produce a rights-based policy 

framework that could effectively serve as basis for subsequent legislative, judicial and 
administrative measures for the legal empowerment of the poor. These thematic papers 
address the legal empowerment agenda of: access to justice and rule of law; property 
rights, informal labor and legal mechanisms to empower informal businesses. Process 
wise, all the thematic papers underwent a tedious combined bottom-up and top-bottom 
approaches, which is typical of the HRBA. Interview and collection of experiences from 
key stakeholders form both government and civil society groups to include vulnerable 
sectors, were undertaken. Organization of panel of advisers representing different 
expertise and interests were made to comment is built into the consultation process. 
Broader consultations, from the local, regional and national levels, were likewise, 
considered, involving wider coverage of stakeholders especially the Philippine Informal 

This section of the case 
study highlights only some 
features that demonstrate the use 
of the HRBA. 

Box 1 -Access to Justice of the Informal Sector 

In the context of the capacities of the judiciary 
as the duty-bearer, the issues of access to justice and 
rule of law have always been "institution-oriented." 

Thus, its approach is basically "institutional 
reforms " that addresses the typical menu of problems in 
the Philippine Legal System. Identified under the Action 
Program for Judicial Reforms (APJR) are the perennial 
problems of: case congestion and delay, budget 
deficiencies; politicized system of judicial appointments; 
lack of judicial autonomy; need for re-engineering the 
human resources development system to support 
continuing capacity improvement in the provision of 
legal and judicial sendees; dysfunctional administrative 
structure and operating systems accompanied by 
deficient court technologies and facilities; and the need 
to improve public information and collaboration with 
civil society. 

The APJR touched on access to justice but the 
issues identified are again institutional in features. 
These are: delays in judicial proceedings; erroneous 
decisions rendered by lower courts; prohibitive cost of 
litigation; and inadequacy or lack of information about 
the judicial system. 

a) . Access to Justice and 
Rule of Law" 

On the thematic policy 
agenda entitled "Reducing Poverty 
and Ensuring Access to Justice 
through legal Empowerment of the 
Poor" the policy paper offered an 
alternative development paradigm, 
which defined "Poverty, aside 
from making people unable to meet 
basic food and non-food items, 
also results in the deprivation of 
rights, in vulnerability and 
marginalization, where the poor is 
unable to claim and assert what 
should be their due. " The paper 
also made more definitive 
qualification of the poor as those 
who do not have or are deprived of 
means by which they can secure 
livelihood to meet their daily basic needs and realize their basic human rights. 

Also the paper introduced rights-based definitions of three (3) critical concepts 
such as legal empowerment, access to justice and rule of law (including rule of law 

Atty. Glenda T. Litong. The Way Forward: a Policy Resource Book on legal Empowerment of the Poor in 
the Philippines - Thematic Paper I: Reducing Poverty and Ensuring Access to Justice through Legal 
Empowerment of the Poor. ESCR Asia. 2008. Pp. 50-122. 


orthodoxy). The use of the concept of legal empowerment is defined as the process of 
acquiring critical awareness about rights and law, the ability to assert rights, and the 
capacity to mobilize for change. As indicated in the paper, the six (6) key uses of the 
term empowerment as espoused by Oakley (2001) was considered as follows: 
empowerment as participation, empowerment as democratization, empowerment as 
capacity building, empowerment through economic improvement and empowerment and 
the individual. These five uses of the term empowerment in the thematic paper is very 
much compliant with the way empowerment as a human rights principle is defined, as 
that which views the development process as empowering in itself that implies building 
the necessary capacities in stakeholders, power to act for and on their behalf to claim 
their rights and to bring about necessary changes toward the full realization of all human 
rights 5 

The second concept of rule of law has been characterized in many ways: i.e. the 
rule of law prevails where the government itself is bound by the law; every person in 
society is treated equally under the law; the human dignity of each individual is 
recognized and protected by law and; justice is accessible to all. Under a rights-based 
framework, the human rights principles of legislative capacity and rule of law requires 
that the capacity of the legislature to enact laws that aim to uphold the inherent dignity of 
every person is important to the exercise and enjoyment and realization of all human 
rights. In which case, all persons are equal before the law, and are entitled to equal 
protection. Without a sound legal framework, the same as without an independent and 
honest judiciary, economic and social development collapse. Given this premise, the 
paper seeks to focus on interventions and initiatives that aim to improve rule of law in a 
particular context, as has been described as the "rule of law orthodoxy", i.e., a set of 
ideas, activities and strategies geared toward bringing about the rule of law, often as a 
means towards ends such as economic growth, good governance and poverty alleviation. 

The third concept on Access to Justice by the poor has been incorporated in the 
rule of law orthodoxy, where the former is considered a critical component of the latter. 
Thus the paper, posits that legal empowerment aims to create an environment that will 
enable the poor to overcome the constraints that prevent them from accessing the legal 
system, allow them to gain more control over their lives through laws that understand 
their context, ensure their rights and address their needs, and place them in a position to 
push for the law's enforcement. 9 

Atty. Glenda T. Litong. The Way Forward: a Policy Resource Book on legal Empowerment of the Poor in 
the Philippines - Thematic Paper 1: Reducing Poverty and Ensuring Access to Justice through Legal 
Empowerment of the Poor. ESCR Asia. 2008. p. 52. 

Maria Socorro I,. Diokno. Human Rights Centered Development: Theory and Practice. 2002. p. 125 

Institute of Human Rights, 2005. A Democratic Audit of the Rule of Law and Access to Justice in the 
Philippines. Written and presented by the Institute of Human Rights at the Philippines Social Science 
Center and PROCESS Democratic Audit Series, September 22, 2005. Unpublished paper.. 

Rights-Based Development.; Training Manual. UNDP. 2002. p. 36. 


Atty. Glenda T. Litong. The Way Forward: a Policy Resource Book on legal Empowerment of the Poor in 
the Philippines - Thematic Paper 1: Reducing Poverty and Ensuring Access to Justice through Legal 
Empowerment of the Poor. ESCR Asia. 2008. p.p. 55. 


On the basis of these rights-based definitions of the three concepts, the paper 
ventured into an analysis as to "How access to justice and rule of law respond to legal 
exclusion, marginalization and vulnerabilities of the poor so that legal empowerment of 
the poor may be achieved to reduce poverty?" 

On the matter of presenting the barriers of legal empowerment of the poor in the 
Philippines, the paper deliberately or non- deliberately achieved a rights-based analysis 
befitting of a HRBA from the perspective of the capacities of both the duty-bearers 
referring to government and claimholders referring to the poor. 

On the other hand, the capacities of the poor, vulnerable and marginalized are 
viewed differently under the purview of legal empowerment, which is taken in the 
context of their economic and social status in the Philippine society. Under poverty 
condition, these groups referred to as the claimholders in human rights parlance, are in no 
position to bargain or assert for their rights, thus the issue of equity in the context of 
access to justice. These claimholders continue to perceive the law as mainly for the rich 
and have likewise, expressed general distrust for the justice system. Hence the genuine 
perspective of the poor with respect to access to justice and rule of law include divergent 
concerns such as: lack of access to legal education by the poor and marginalized; lack of 
information on the part of the judges and other administrators of the justice system about 
the issues concerning the poor and marginalized and the specialized laws governing 
them; lack of adequate representation before the courts and the tribunals due to the lack 
of lawyers that handle their cases; lack of support mechanisms for the poor and members 
of the marginalized groups who are involved in cases; issuance and implementation of 
anti-poor policies and decisions; general discrimination against the poor and marginalized 
groups within the judiciary and justice system; structural and systemic problem within the 
judiciary and justice system that impede access to justice by the poor; gender insensitivity 
and bias of the courts and other government offices involved in the administration of 
justice; and inadequacies in structure and processes of the barangay justice system 
particularly the needed sensitivity and understanding of women's context and gender. In 
this respect, the paper also surfaced the vulnerable identities of women, indigenous 

The HRBA puts the poor, marginalized, vulnerable groups at the core of policy 
and the focus of capacity development strategies through a process that addresses human 
rights problems to the roots. This was achieved in terms of how the paper treated the 
issue of the Philippine informal Sector. The paper analyzes the current legal and 
regulatory framework of the informal sector to include: laws affecting the vulnerabilities 
in the informal sector particularly, women, children and indigenous peoples; laws 
governing sub-groups of the informal sector such as farmers and fisher-folks, small 
businesses and vendors, small transport; and other laws such as the labor code, social 
development and protection available to the informal sector. 

Using the HRBA framework the paper has effectively built a case for the 
Philippine informal sector as the primary target for legal empowerment in the country. 


Using the rights perspective, development can only be truly empowering if the human 
person is the central subject, active participant, owner director and beneficiary of 
development. 10 In this regard the paper finally posited its general observation that 
poverty denies the poor the status or personality before the law particularly in the case of 
the informal sector. The grant of legal personality to the poor is dependent on the 
recognition of the law of their existence and contribution as subject and objects of 

Finally, the paper considers some rights-based strategies under the legal 
empowerment framework. To legally empower the poor, a legislation framework has 
been considered to bring about real change in the lives of the Philippine Informal Sector. 
The legislation is expected to define the informal sector in context, causes of 
disempowerment and the rights of the informal sector with appropriate redress 
mechanisms. Its principles carry the fundamental principles of human rights. As 
described by the paper the legislation must spell out a holistic, integrated, comprehensive, 
non-discriminatory, and participatory and bottom up approach to addressing poverty in 

the context of the informal sector. 
It should surface the issues of 
inequity, inequality and unjust 
distribution of wealth and 
resources, as well as the factors 
that discriminate and emasculate 
the poor. 11 As further proposed for 
the road map, it is guided by the 
legal empowerment approach, 
which fundamentally carries the 
elements of the HRBA like the 
bottom up approach, the duty- 
bearer and claimholder analysis 
involving both government 
institutions and civil society 
organizations and consideration of 
national and international 

cooperation, which is a parameter 
towards achieving the right to 
development. These elements are 
embedded into the strategic steps 
proposed by the paper to include: 
role enhancement of other actors 
of development; listening to the 

Box 2 -Property Rights of Informal Sector 

Property rights were elucidated in the case in the 
light of the status of its enjoyment by vulnerable and 
disadvantaged groups like the peasantry, indigenous 
peoples, urban poor, fisher-folks, poor women and 
informal workers. 

As established under the legal nature of rights, 
properties are things over which a person or group of 
persons (or some juridical entity) has exclusive right. The 
case expanded this statement using the human rights 
perspective as "someone who has property rights, is 
referred to as a right holder - an element in the 
application of the HRBA. 

In the context of legal empowerment of the poor, 
the agenda of property rights point to the capacities of 
these vulnerable groups to claim and exercise their rights 
fully and responsibly. The paper cited the importance of 
those vulnerable groups knowing of such property rights, 
who are often unaware of the rights that protect them, and 
therefore vulnerable to abuses and exploitation 


Rights-Based Development.; Training Manual. UNDP. 2002. p. 14. 

Atty. Glenda T. Litong. The Way Forward: a Policy Resource Book on legal Empowerment of 
the Poor in the Philippines - Thematic Paper 1: Reducing Poverty and Ensuring Access to 
Justice through Legal Empowerment of the Poor. ESCR Asia. 2008. pi 02. 


voices of the poor, especially women; expanding the justice sector; public and civil 
society partnership; and adoption of indigenous and culturally based and appropriate 

i n 

b) . Property Rights 

Property rights were elucidated in the light of the status of its enjoyment by vulnerable 
and disadvantaged groups like the peasantry, indigenous peoples, urban poor, fisher- 
folks, poor women and informal workers. As established under the legal nature of rights, 
properties are things over which a person or group of persons (or some juridical entity) 
has exclusive right. The paper expanded this statement using the human rights 
perspective as "someone who has property rights is referred to as a right holder - an 
element in the application of the HRBA. In the context of legal empowerment of the 
poor, the agenda of property rights point to the capacities of these vulnerable groups to 
claim and exercise their rights fully and responsibly. The paper cited the importance of 
those vulnerable groups knowing of such property rights, who are often unaware of the 
rights that protect them, and therefore vulnerable to abuses and exploitation 

Under this thematic paper, the strengthening of the property right of the poor was 
given focus. The treatment of property right under this section was taken in the context of 
the situation of vulnerable and marginal groups, which is very much in keeping with one 
of the human rights principle of Attention to Vulnerable Groups. These groups are those 
who experience obstacles in the realization of human rights. They were mentioned as the 
special targets for strengthening property rights. 

. As may be deducted from the paper, the capacity of these vulnerable groups to 
assert property rights is dependent on their capacities to articulate their claims on these 
property rights. However due to social exclusion, these poor vulnerable groups are often 
at a disadvantage with respect to collective action that could help them capacitate 

As posited by the paper, there were legal measures adopted for the past twenty years like 
the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988, indigenous peoples Rights Act of 
1997, and community mortgage program in 1987, among others, but these were proven 
insufficient to ensure the property rights of the poor. As claimed by the paper, much is 
yet to be desired in terms of the effective implementation of these measures to include the 
resolution of existing conflicts of laws like the case of the IPRA and Mining Act. 

Thus, the role of the state in instituting policy reforms and enforcement of such 
laws and reforms that will strengthen the property rights of the poor was emphasized in 
equal importance with self-help efforts or a combination of the two. More defined duties 
and obligations of the state as the duty-bearer, also an element of the practice of HRBA, 
were identified in terms of policy reforms and effective program implementation. Policy 
reforms include: resolution of the conflict of, enactment of additional or remedial 

Dr. Amado Mendoza Jr. The Way Forward: a Policy Resource Book on legal Empowerment of 
the Poor in the Philippines. Thematic paper 2 - Property Rights and legal Empowerment of the 
Poor in the Philippines, pp 123-174. 


legislation, transformation of inferior or junior policy such as executive orders into full- 
blooded laws and the complete translation of national policy and laws into implementing 
rules and regulations, administrative orders and the adoption of appropriate ordinances at 
the local government levels from the village level, up to the province and autonomous 
regions. Effective program implementation calls for assured funding for crucial 
programs, simplification of registration and titling processes and harmonization of multi- 
agency programs and procedures. 

i a 

c) Labor Rights 

This thematic paper ventured into an in-depth analysis and assessment of the 
conditions of the informal sector from a rights perspective. Consistent with the human 
rights standards postulated under Article 7 on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of 
just and favorable conditions of work, as well as, the related provisions of Article 9 on 
social security to include social insurance, the paper presented the prevailing concerns of 
the informal sector that were drawn from different levels of consultation. The human 
rights principle of providing attention to vulnerable sectors was applied to the informal 
sector in view of these concerns of the sector: absence of government recognition, 
limited and voluntary social protection, uncertain tenurial status and uncertain safety in 
the workplace. The paper offered a very detailed and comprehensive understanding of 
the informal sector in terms of their labors rights and social protection, which differed 
among the sub-classifications as follows: geography, premises, gender, vulnerability, 
industry, and occupation, nature of employment and nature of means. However, across 
these sub-classifications, core issues directly affecting the informal sector as a whole 
were identified indicating the level of the sector's vulnerability. These are: 

• Institutional inconsistency in recognizing the existence and rights of the informal 
sector workers being mainly outside of the purview of the country's legal 
framework, jurisprudence on the informal sector has remained sparse and 
inadequate in recognizing the inherent labor rights of the informal sector workers; 

• Inadequacy of the prevailing working understanding of the phenomena of the 
informal labor, being labeled as informal somehow means being outside of the 
mainstream economic activities, even if such activities are not outside the bounds 
of the law; and 

• Inadequacy of some poverty alleviation strategies, requiring the need for 
strategies to shift its focus from merely alleviating the pain and despair of poverty 
to actually searching easy and means to reduce incidence of poverty by providing 
opportunities for poor families to escape the clutches of poverty. 


Atty. Edmund T Lao and Mr. Jeremy Inocian. The Way Forward: a Policy Resource Book on 
legal Empowerment of the Poor in the Philippines. Thematic Paper 3 - Towards Fulfilling The 
Constitutional Mandate of Social Justice and Human Rights in the Informal Sector. 175-260. 


Box 3 -Labor Rights of the Informal Sector 

A rights-based view was also used to assess the level of 
application of labor rights, labor standards and social 
protection to the informal sector. Specifically, the 
provisions of the Philippine Labor Code do not apply 
equally to Filipino workers. The application of the law 
varies from full application, limited application or to 
none at all as follows: 

Subsistence employees can enjoy only a limited 
application of the labor code because while 
theoretically they can avail of rights guaranteed under 
the code, they cannot effectively claim and assert their 
rights owing to their depressed, limited, temporary 
situation and the nature of their jobs; 

Own Account/Self employed informal sector 
can also enjoy limited application of training for 
overseas employment, health and safety laws, right to 
unions and strike. The rest of the other labor standards 
are not applicable to them. 

The paper has made 
reference to Litong et all (2002), for 
its rights-based view that "having 
ratified all pertinent international 
instruments relating to the right to 
work and the rights at work, the 
Philippines has the obligation to 
enhance domestic legislation, which 
would not only respect, promote and 
protect but also facilitate and fulfill 
these rights, both in favor of formal 
and informal labor." 

As a result of the assessment 
made on the conditions of the 
informal sector and as a result of the 
highly participatory consultations 
conducted, rights-based direction 

and intervention were formulated as follows: 

• Enhance the rights of labor of wage informal employee through vigorous and 
creative enforcement of existing labor rights and social protection and creating the 
conditions for compliance; and 

• Enhance the rights of labor of the Own Account/Self Employed Informal 
Employee through vigorous and creative enforcement of rights and creation of 
conditions for compliance as well as providing greater and expanded labor rights 
and social protection, to include labor relations, self organization, participation in 
policy making bodies and security of tenure. 

Finally, the paper calls for the bridging of the gap between formal and informal 
labor, not necessarily under the Philippine Labor Code that poses legal barriers to the 
informal sector. Social justice and human rights are the more apt approach to effectively 
strengthen the rights of the informal sector to labor and social protection. Overall, the 
paper proposed a multi-level process of consultation process involving government, 
private sector and civil society to address the policy issues and program implementation 
concerns of the informal sector for the crafting of various legislative, administrative and 
other related measures to include a road mapping for the comprehensive approach to 
strengthening the rights of informal sector and enhancing their technical and 
entrepreneurial capacities. On the other hand institution capacity building, microfinance 
services and funding support system at various hierarchical levels of government from 
the local to the national level should be pursued. 


d) Business Rights 

Legal mechanisms to empower informal businesses were also examined. Through 
consultations at the national and local levels, the policy paper opened for public discourse 
the policies, programs and services of the government, which it refers to as the duty- 
holder . Rights-based objectives were formulated in line with the empowering of this 
informal sector to that of: ensuring higher and equitable individual income and social 
protection for informal economic workers; and improving and sustaining informal 

businesses' productive and 
employment generation 

Box 4 -Business Rights of the Informal Sector 

The paper points to significant policies, 
programs and services for informal business 
especially relating to microfinance as a development 
tool for the poor, to include both the 
regulated/licensed and unregulated/unlicensed. 

However as one of the issue raised, the 
impact of all the policies, programs and services 
seems to have been fairly limited to growth oriented 
informal businesses, which demands more response 
from the government, as duty holder. As Article 2, 
par. 1 of Part II of the ICESCR stipulates "Each State 
Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take 
steps, individually and through international 
assistance and co-operation, especially economic and 
technical, to the maximum of its available resources, 
with a view to achieving progressively the full 
realization of the rights recognized in the present 
Covenant by all appropriate means, including 
particularly the adoption of legislative measures. " 

Challenges were identified in the areas of: 
expanding the business of livelihood and small growth 
informal enterprises; expanding and deepening the 
role ofLGUs; recognizing the need for greater 
informal business participation; and sustaining the 
growth of the microfinance sector. 

the entire population and of all individuals on 
meaningful participation in development and in the 
there from, 


These objectives are in 
keeping with Article 6 par. 2 of the 
ICESCR, which postulates that the 
steps to be taken by a State Party to 
the present Covenant to achieve the 
full realization of the right to work 
shall include technical and 
vocational guidance and training 
programmes, policies and 

techniques to achieve steady 
economic, social and cultural 
development and full and 
productive employment under 
conditions safeguarding 

fundamental political and 

economic freedoms to the 
individual. Also, these objectives 
operationalized the intent of the 
United Nations Declaration on the 
Right to Development which 
stipulates that development is a 
comprehensive economic, social, 
cultural and political process, 
which aims at the constant 
improvement of the well-being of 
the basis of their active, free and 
fair distribution of benefits resulting 

Reginald Indon. . The Way Forward: a Policy Resource Book on legal Empowerment of the Poor in the 
Philippines. Thematic Paper 4 - Legal Mechanisms to Empower Informal Businesses, pp.26 1-3 15 
15 Ibid, p 275 


All these challenges point to improving the access of informal business to 
productive assets and resources towards helping informal sector attain sustainable 
livelihood. Resulting from research and consultations, there are legal mechanisms to 
protect informal businesses but there is a need to effect good governance for the 
entrepreneurial poor to effectively access mainstream resources and services. Thus, to 
effect good governance, the government most especially the local government units 
(LGUs), as duty-holders must seriously address the specific needs and requirements of 
informal businesses and integrate them into the local project planning, implementation, 
monitoring and evaluation. When properly integrated, the entrepreneurial poor would 
contribute significantly to poverty alleviation and advancement of the quality of life of 
the informal sector. As observed the paper has successfully generated public discourses 
that were focused on the entrepreneurial poor, as the claimholder. 

2. Human Rights Content Analysis of the Draft Magna Carta 

As an offshoot of the project output, the proponent ventured into the formulation of the 
Magna Carta for Informal Sector, which was not originally identified as a deliverable of 
the project. The proposed Magna Carta, which emanated from the results and outcomes 
of the project, is essentially rights-based described. 

The Declaration of Policy of the proposed law bears the fundamental principles of 
a Human Rights-Based Approach as follows: universality, non-discrimination, equality, 
indivisibility, interdependence, accountability and participation, rule of law and 
progressive realization. Taken from the draft, the proposed law has the following 
declaration of policy, which substantively highlight the principles of a Human Rights- 
Based Approach (in bold and italicized phrases): 

a) To promote and improve the total well-being of the poorest-of-the-poor 
and the marginalized low level income earners who engage in economic 
activities under the informal sector; 

b) To nurture and protect the interests of the informal sector by providing 
them with adequate and timely social, economic and legal services, as 
well as mechanisms that shall protect their rights and promote benefits that 
ensure their dignified existence and economic advancement; 

c) To recognize, promote, protect and fulfill the rights of every worker in the 
informal sector including the right to self-organization, the right to decent 
work, just and humane working conditions, access to social protection, the 
right to represent their organizations in a continuing process of 
consultation and dialogue towards maximizing the provision of a 
comprehensive package of reforms, interventions, and services in 
accordance with their articulated needs and interests; 


d) To recognize the roles and contributions of workers in the informal sector 
and make them visible in the national and local statistics; 

e) To develop and enhance their entrepreneurial skills and capabilities so that 
they can become more productive and self-reliant citizens thereby 
ensuring participation in mainstream economic activities; 

f) To promote gender equality and protect women workers in the informal 
sector against gender-based discrimination, exploitation and abuse; 

g) To advance the women workers' social, political and reproductive rights 
and provide access to social protection and participation in decision- 
making bodies; 

h) To protect vulnerable groups in the informal sector such as children, 

elderly, differently- abled persons and indigenous people from 
discrimination, exploitation, abuse and harassment; 

i) To progressively eliminate child labor in the informal sector through the 

creation of more quality jobs for adults, effective enforcement of laws 

against child labor, improved access to universal education and 

elimination of cultural factors that tolerate child labor. 

If passed the proposed legislation will be able to fulfill the operationalization of 

this state obligation as exemplified in the following enumeration: (those in bold and 

italicized fonts reflect the desired intervention of the state): 

a) Putting in place policies and programs that will bring marginalized 
workers and economic units into economic and social mainstream. 

b) Pursuing structural reforms in all relevant levels of government by 
creating committees, special offices for development and protection of 
workers in the informal sector and supporting their representational rights 
through their organizations. 

c) Extending coverage of accessible and affordable social security and 
health care benefits to workers in the informal sector. 

d) Implementing minimum and simplified regulation to encourage the 
development of ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit among workers in the 
informal sector. 

e) Encouraging the organization, establishment, strengthening and expansion 
of the various business activities or enterprises under the informal sector 
in the barangay level preferably unified under a municipality, provincial, 
regional and national federation/association. 


Box 4 -Right Orientation of the Draft Magna Carta 
for Informal Sector 

The Framework and Principles bears 
statement and commitments on the following steps to 
be undertaken by the country as a state party to its 
obligations under the International Covenant on 
Economic, social and Cultural Rights. 

More pronounced under this item of the 
proposed law is the requirement under the 
Declaration on the Right to Development, which 
provides that States should take steps to eliminate 
obstacles to development resulting from failure to 
observe civil and political rights, as well as economic, 
social and cultural rights; and that States have the 
right and the duty to formulate appropriate national 
development policies that aim at the constant 
improvement of the well-being of the entire population 
and of all individuals, on the basis of their active, free 
and meaningful participation in development and in 
the fair distribution of the benefits resulting 

The Coverage of the 
proposed law highlights preference 
over the vulnerable group, which is 
a basic principle of a Human 
Rights-Based Approach. Using the 
approach, ESCR Asia successfully 
identified the most vulnerable 
among the informal sector. The 
coverage is inclusive of all the sub- 
sectors and groups under the 
informal sector who experience 
major obstacles, which is a 
criterion for achieving 

effectiveness of any development 
program. These vulnerable groups 
include the following: 

Micro-entrepreneurs : (i) 
vendors, whether with stalls or 
without including ambulant 
vendors, street vendors or those 
plying their goods and trades in 
streets and those engaged in sari-sari stores which conform with the total asset value 
requirements as mentioned in Section 4 (f) of this Act; (ii) marginalized farmers; (iii) 
marginalized fisher folks; (iv) home-based workers who are independent producers of 
goods or services and whose total asset value conforms with that mentioned in Section 4 
(f) of this Act; (v) small transport such as but not limited to non-corporate operators of 
small marine boat or vessel for transport, tricycle, pedicab, habal-habal, calesa, kuliglig 
or "trolley" whose total asset value conform with the requirement as mentioned in 
Section 4 (f) of this Act. 

Contracted/Self- Employed : (i) on call domestic workers; (ii) barbers, manicurists 
or pedicurists; (iii) drivers of tricycle, pedicab, habal-habal, kalesa, kuliglig, "trolley" or 
small marine vessel/boat; (iv) "barkers", fare collectors, dispatchers and other workers 
who share in the income of the non-corporate operators; (v) welders and mechanics; (vi) 
non-corporate constructions workers such as but not limited to carpenters, plumbers, 
electrician, mason or house painters; (vii) television, radio and air-condition technicians. 

The section of the proposed law on Special Allocations for Development 
Initiatives is an indication of the progressive realization of economic, social and cultural 
rights of the informal sector. The annual allocation of funds for development initiatives 
for the informal sector will ensure continual progress of the realization of the rights and 
freedoms of the informal sector. 


As proposed, the national government shall allocate at least ten (10%) percent 
of its annual national budget to be appropriated proportionately in accordance with the 
corresponding internal revenue allocation (IRA) of respective local government units 
(LGUs). Such allocation shall be annually added to the current IRA of LGUs. For this 
purpose, the Commission on Audit (COA) shall establish an Informal Sector 
Development Fund in every municipality and city for their supervision and management 
subject to accounting and auditing procedures. 

The Creation of an Informal Sector Development Council under the proposed law 
will provide the sustainability of the development initiatives for the informal sector. This 
will serve as the implementing mechanism through which policies, programs to improve 
the conditions of the informal sector could be maintained as well as the monitoring and 
evaluation thereof. 

The foundation for the integration of the informal sector and its mainstreaming 
into the national life will be guaranteed by the establishment and development of a 
centralized and sex-disaggregated database system to effectively guide policy 
formulation relative to the Informal Sector workers. This will guarantee the observance 
of the principles of a rights-based approach such as equity, non-discrimination, 
participation and empowerment. The databank shall be available for public use and shall 
include but not limited to the following: 

a) .Master list of workers in the informal sector classified according to 
geography (urban or rural based), premises (home based or non home 
based), gender (male, female), vulnerability (children, elderly or person 
with disability), industry (industrial, commercial, services or agricultural), 
occupation (fisher folks, farmers, construction, drivers, vendors, laborers 
or sales personnel), nature of employment (casual, contractual, seasonal, 
permanent/regular or pakyaw/commission basis/boundary system) and 
roles/functions (own-account/self-employed or subsistence/marginal 

b) List of government and non-governmental organizations which provide 
educational, socio-economic and legal services to the Informal Sector; 

c) Sex-disaggregated statistical profile of various Informal Sector workers 
based on age, location, type of work, average monthly income, number of 
hours worked, and other statistical information; 

d) Statistical data on informal enterprises, including capitalization and 
sources of capital, number and status of workers, average income; 

e) Database of the needs and problems of women and children in the 
Informal Sector nationwide; and 


f) Compilation of existing laws and programs affecting the interest and 

welfare of the Informal Sector. 

2. Human rights content analysis of the project process 

Again, through the operationalization of the HRBA, the case was able to draw out 

very specific indicators, which came 
about as a result of the project process, 
as follows: 

Box 5 -Human Rights Principles 


in the Project Process 

The vulnerable sectors among the 
informal sectors participated actively in assessing 
the conditions of the sector, review of proposed 
policy papers, drafting of the Magna Carta, 
which fleshed out their development needs and 
poverty conditions vis-a-vis the rights pertaining 
to their access to justice, property rights, social 
justice and human rights and access to legal 

Accountabilities among the participating 
government agencies were exacted in the 
identification and designing of policy measures 
and in the validation of these measures across the 

The empowerment principle both as a 
social and legal empowering process of engaging 
participatory and bottom up approach to 
addressing issues of poverty and powerless in the 
sector was also evident. It surfaced the issues on 
disempowerment such as inequity, inequality and 
unjust distribution of wealth and resources, as 
well as the factors that discriminate and 
emasculate the poor. 

1. The degree to which 
human rights principles and standards 
have been applied in the content of the 
outputs particularly in defining the rights 
that the legal poor must be able to secure 
through the Magna Carta and through 
the four (4) thematic policy papers. 

2. The degree to which the 
claimholders were involved in the 
project especially in expressing their 
views, opinions and contributions to the 
decision making on the contents of the 
policy outputs; demonstrating the 
exercise of an empowering participation 
in the process; and 

3. The degree to which the 
relevant State Obligations contained in 
the pertinent international treaty and 
domestic laws are expressly 

incorporated into the policy outputs on the informal sector. 

7. Project proponents' User Satisfaction on the HRBA 

The proponent found the application of the HRBA easy because, first, it is 
intrinsic or an inherent mandate of a human rights organization like ESCR-Asia. Second, 
the understanding of what HRBA is a lot easier to an HR entity than to an NGO or any 
entity not having the rights mandate. 

As expressed by the proponent, the HRBA is also an 'expensive' approach. 
Employing the "bottom-up" approach, ensuring participation, gender balance, non- 
discrimination, etc. does not only require skill, time but also resources. An example, one 
component of LEP Phase 2 was also the drafting of a rights-inspired Magna Carta for 
members of the informal sector. ESCR-Asia has to do an island-hopping consultation to 


ensure that the cultural nuances in drafting the proposed bill will be considered. 
Realities and needs of informal sector members coming from Luzon are different to those 
from Mindanao and the Visayas. Authentic HRBA requires 'fidelity' to the 
understanding that one cannot "shortcut" a process to be able to get the desired result. As 
the proponent claimed "no NGO, even if its mandate is rights-motivated cannot claim 
monopoly to the correctness of the application of HRBA. " The desired outputs and 
results of the plan are best indicators if the HRBA has been faithfully implemented. 

As noted by the proponent, the added-value is in ensuring that the planning is 
validated from the ground; that the plan garnered the affirmation of the field partners; that 
it took into great consideration to the real needs of the constituencies, thus creating 
confidence in the work implementation. LEP Phase 2 was a continuation of Phase One 
and merited the consultation of various informal sector groups. LEP Phase 3 project 
components were presented to the partners including getting their critique. It is easy to 
plan themes but emanating it from the partners/constituents is difficult. HRBA also 
builds mutual goodwill among the funder-donor, the implementor and the field partners. 
On hindsight, the HRBA also unleashes a principle in the Right to Development 
Declaration that: "That the human person is the subject, participant and beneficiary of 
development. " 

Based on the experience of the proponent, the following can be considered in 
ensuring effective use of HRBA: process documentation; faithful employment of at least 
the following principles: participation, gender balance, non-discrimination, budget 
allocation for validation, at least two-island consultation if project is nationwide; 
translation to Filipino or the equivalent language any English-driven/dominated project; 
and an orientation of what HRBA mean specially to the team implementing a project 

8. Lessons Learned from the Application of the HRBA 

While the mainstreaming process was highly predictable in terms of being able to 
generate human rights oriented process, outputs and outcomes in the project, HRBA 
proved to be very useful. The different stakeholders both duty-bearers and claimholders 
found ease in applying human rights standards as enunciated in the ICESCR. Under 
traditional process of purely invoking the relevant human rights treaties simply did not 
work as such process only proved to be an imposition. The HRBA was a more creative 
and innovative way of raising the level of awareness of both the duty-bearers and 
claimholders in the process. 

a. HRBA to legal empowerment of the poor is an inclusive and expansive 


Since the informal sector is continuously sprouting and growing as a consequence 
of economic disparities in the Philippine society, the proponent found it extremely 
challenging to reach out to the larger cross-section of the sector. As the HRBA typifies, 
the approach should allow for a bottom up and top bottom process that would allow 
interaction between the duty-bearers and claimholders. In addition, the lateral interaction 


across sectors proved to be equally challenging as attempts to cover the greatest number 
of the sub-sectors of the informal group through local and group representations proved 
to be inclusive. But much is yet to be desired, as time and resources proved to be scarce 
to cover as much areas where the informal sectors are. 

b. Creative use of Information and Education Materials 

Communicating the rights of the informal sector is by itself a great challenge. 
Considering the divergence of the informal sector, the proponent had to be extra creative 
in their approach to consultation. Simplified literature in the form of popular information 
materials had to be produced despite constraints in resources in order to effectively 
communicate the rights and concerns of the informal sector in a language and form that 
would be understandable to them. 

c. Social and Policy Dialogues for both duty-bearers and claimholders 

Mobilizing the support of both claimholders and duty-bearers to the cause of the 
informal sector through the thematic policy papers and the Magna Carta proved to be a 
greater challenge. The cooperative effort of various government and non-government 
organizations, as well as, the academe worked together in the mobilizing particularly of 
the representative claimholders among the informal sector. 

Overall, the process of mainstreaming human rights as enunciated in the 
conceptual framework and operational definition of HRBA effectively worked in this 
case. International human rights framework was mainstreamed into the national initiative 
for legal empowerment of the poor. This was made possible through the use of 
informative materials and other key mainstreaming interventions like dialogues, 
consultations and training. The results of the mainstreaming process look promising with 
the rights-based Magna Carta for the Informal Sector, which is now being pushed by 
different stakeholders, both duty-bearers and claimholders. 

9. Conclusion, Future Direction and Replicability 

This is one way of operationalizing HRBA, which is less structured. What makes it 
HRBA are the basic orientation and processes of the proponent, which is basically a 
human rights organization. The framework, designs, processes, materials and tools they 
used have basic HRBA orientation, which made it easy for them to effectuate the 
approach in this policy reform for the legal empowerment of the informal sector. 

a) Strengthening HRBA Practice 


Therefore, the application of the HRBA came about naturally, as every step taken 
by the proponent deliberately involved human rights champions and advocates. 
However, while the outputs produced by this project case are heavily rights-based, 
there is much yet to be done to institutionalize the HRBA process of the ESCR, 
Asia not only for its use but for the benefit of those who wish to learn from their 
experience. In order to improve the practice of HRBA by the ESCR, Asia, there is 
a need to enhance the documentation of their processes and tools. 

b) Replicability 

Definitely, with proper documentation, the project's application is highly replicable. 
This will contribute much to the practice of national legislation or local policy 
making where both the duty-bearers and claimholders would be heavily engaged in 
the substantive issues and concerns that affect the concerned sector using human 
rights perspective, process and tools. This experience of the ESCR, Asia is 
tremendously engaging, which has shown high commitment and passion for the 
advancement of the human rights of the informal sector. 

10. Implications in Development and Governance 

Overall, HRBA as illustrated by this project case, looks promising in terms of 
providing a model of human rights mainstreaming both in development and 
governance. Specifically, HRBA offers to both discipline its pragmatic framework, 
and process of applying human rights as criteria and guide in pursuing certain 
development objectives for vulnerable sectors like the informal sector. It suggests 
also, a very concrete way of transforming the orientation and perspective of 
governance actors in the context of human rights, as they are made more sensitive 
and perceptive of their respective obligations, responsibilities and entitlements that 
may effectively enhance development and governance goals. The initiative may not 
originate from the government. The initiative may come from the civil society as 
exemplified in this case. Meaning, any one of the governance actors who have the 
preparedness and readiness to do HRBA to respond to the situation or condition of 
the vulnerable sectors, may do the proper initiation to engage other actors in a 
rights-based approach to implementing viable development or governance 
interventions for the vulnerable sectors. 



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Appendix A 

Definition of Human Rights Terms 

The following definition of terms is adopted from the International Human Rights 
Framework and used for purposes of the study. Any and all references made to the use of 
the following terms in the study would be based on the explanation provided below: 

1. Human Rights -UNDP in its Human Development Report in 1960 defined 
human rights as the supreme, inherent and inalienable rights to life, to dignity and to self- 
development. It is the essence of these that makes man human. 16 There are two sets of 
rights namely: civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights. There is 
no such thing as prioritization or hierarchy of rights based on the human rights principles 
that human rights are universal, indivisible and interrelated. 

2. Human Development - UNDP in its 2001 Report explains that human 
development is the expanding choices for all people in the society, wherein men and 
women, particularly the poor and the vulnerable, are at the center of the development 
process. It also means the protection of the life opportunities for future generations... 
and ... the natural systems on which all life depends, thus creating an enabling 

1 7 

environment in which all can enjoy long, healthy and creative lives. This has been the 
concern of every society considering the persistence of global poverty and powerlessness, 
wherein achievements of societies with regard to basic human rights indicators or indexes 
are relatively low in developing countries. 

3. Development - As enunciated in Article 1 of the UN Declaration on the 
Right to Development, development is a comprehensive economic, social, cultural and 
political process aimed at the constant improvement of the self-being of the entire 
population and of all individuals on the basis of their active, free and meaningful 

1 Q 

participation in development and in the fair distribution of the resulting benefits. Over 
the past many decades, there had been continuous search into how development can be 
approached and achieved both as a process and an end, as well as the priorities that 
societies should look upon to make development benefits distributive and equitable. This 
is one priority agenda in the Philippines in relation to the human rights conditions of the 
vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors of the country. 

Human Development Report, UNDP, 1996 
17 UNDP Report, 2001 

Art. 1, Declaration on the Right to Development 


4. Human Rights Principles - According to Aurora Parong in her article on 
Principles and practices of Human Rights, the principles of human rights are embodied in 
international human rights laws such as the International Bill of Human Rights as well as 
other human rights declarations. 19 These principles are essential conditions to facilitate 
the definite enjoyment of rights and these principles originated from human rights norms. 
These human rights principles are universality, non-discrimination and equality, attention 
to vulnerable groups, equity, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness, 
accountability, people's participation, empowerment, good governance, independence of 


the Judiciary, legislative capacity and transparency. These principles work in various 
ways but basically serve as criteria of processes of achieving human development. Some 
of these principles are similarly viewed as a helpful guide in capacitating the different 
governance stakeholders particularly the principles of accountability, transparency and 
rule of law. These human rights principles are regarded as one of the core elements of 

5. National and International Framework - As explained in the UNDP 
Training Manual on the Rights-Based Development Training Manual issued in 2002, 
human rights are standards of human dignity rooted in every culture, religion and 
tradition throughout the world. Their inclusion in the UN Charter means human rights 
are no longer exclusively with in the domestic jurisdiction of states but they are 

7 1 

legitimate concerns of the international community. It also, consists of international 
human rights law consisting of customary law (including non-binding declarations and 
general comments, etc.) and treaties and the national framework as the Constitution and 
domestic laws. 

6. Human Rights Instruments - As described in the same UNDP manual, it 
says that human rights instruments refer to two types: Human Rights Treaties also known 
as conventions or covenants; and UN Standards also known as UN Principles, Rules and 
Declarations. These are instruments that address the status and level of enjoyment of 
rights of people in different societies, incorporating therein the universal response and 
standards of human rights observance. 

7. Human Rights Treaties - Based on the International Human Rights 
Framework, the idea that human rights should be enjoyed by every human being goes 
back to man's beginnings. But the protection and promotion under international law 

19 Source Book on Human Rights. National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP- 

NCPAG) and Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP). 2006. pp. 12-13. 

A Training Manual on Human Rights-Based Approach: Module II, Section I, 2002 




those human rights are still in infancy compared to the system of government. It is thus 
the intention of the international treaties to narrow the existing gaps between human 
rights aspirations and reality to ensure that each human being is accorded the dignity he is 
entitled to. Thus, as defined these treaties also known as conventions or covenant are 
formal legal texts to which states become parties and which create binding legal 
obligations. The following are seven fundamental human rights treaties ratified by the 
Philippines: International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial 
Discrimination (CERD); International Covenant on Civil, Political Rights (ICCPR); 
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); Convention 
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); 
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment for 
Punishment (CAT); Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); and Convention on the 
Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families 


(MWC). Each of these treaties have monitoring bodies serving as the oversight for the 
status of implementation of the treaties in different societies especially the UN member 
signatories, which carry human rights state obligations having signed the treaties. The 
various treaty bodies deliberate on the different country reports. Consideration of the 
country reports are followed by the issuance of concluding comments and observations. 

8. UN Standards - The UNDP Training Manual of 2002 defined UN 
Standards as UN Principles, Rules or Declarations that are passed by resolutions of a UN 
body, which is usually the General Assembly. Examples of UN Standards are the 
Universal Declaration on Human Rights and UN Declaration on the Right to 


Development. These are often negotiated over a period of time to which all members of 
the UN participate. These standards are arrived at by consensus of the UN members. 

9. Normative Content of Human Rights - In the same manual, normative 
content of rights is defined as the specific standards protected by such right or its actual 
meaning that can be used as objective standards of human dignity in the development 
process. These standards become important guides to be used in the dynamic process 
such as development because the normative content of human rights includes guidance 
for immediate and progressive realization. 26 These human rights and their normative 
bases are contained in the treaties, general comments and even, in periodic treaty 
concluding observations issued by treaty bodies. The application of human rights 
standards is another core element of the HRBA practice. 

23 CHRP. Principles and Concepts of Human Rights. Source Book on Human Rights. UP-NCPAG and 
CHRP. 2006. pp39-546. 



12 Ibid. 


10. State Obligations - Maria Socorro I. Diokno in her article published in the 
CHRP-UP_NCPAG Source Book on Human Rights in 2006 explained the different 
levels of state obligations. Originating from international human rights framework that 
requires a particular conduct now (immediately and also the attainment of certain results 
over time (progressively). Emphasis is given to the fact that human rights always imply 
human duties and responsibilities and most of these duties or obligations lay on the state 
because the State's political, economic and military power over its citizen is both the 
major threat to human rights and also its major guarantee and protection. State 
obligations are founded in the very text of the treaties. The concept of State Obligation is 
herein applied in the study as another core element of HRBA, as basis for establishing 
accountabilities at different stages and aspects of development or governance. 

11. Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) - UNDP in its 1995 report on 
Human Reports in Development described HRBA as a conceptual framework for the 
process of human development that is normatively based on international human rights 
standards and operationally directed to promoting and protecting human rights applying 
the integration of the norms, standards and principles of the international human rights 


system into the plans, policies and processes of development. This is popularly referred 
to as the mainstreaming of human rights either in development or governance, either on a 
national scope of development programming or mainstreaming in the context of project 
development. There is no single approach to HRBA only core elements that make up its 
practice or operationalization. 

12. Mainstreaming - As defined by Christopher Mc Crudden, mainstreaming 
means reorganization, improvement, development and evaluation of processes so that 
human rights perspective is incorporated by actors into policies and measures at all 
stages. Further, he explains that mainstreaming as contrasted with mere compliance, is 
intended to be anticipatory rather than remedial and to be extremely participatory in 
defining issue and how it might be addressed. As may be deduced from this definition, 
mainstreaming aims to complement and support compliance but does not supplant it. 
Taken from this definition, mainstreaming is the process of incorporating human rights 
principles and standards and other concepts and practices of human rights into 
development and governance interventions more popularly known as Human Rights - 
Based Approach (HRBA). 

13. Right to Development - As defined in the 1995 UN Declaration on the 
Right to Development, right to development is an alienable human right by virtue of 
which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and 
enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and 

11 Maria Socorro I. Diokno. State Obligations on Human Rights. Source Book on Human Rights. UP- 
NCPAG-CHRP.. 2006. pp. 48-53 


Human Rights in Development. UNDP. 1995. 

Edited by Colin Harvey, Human Rights in the Community: Rights as Agents for Change. Beritish 

Institute of Human Rights. Hart Publishing Oxford and Portland Oregon. 2003. pp 14-15. 



fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.' The right to development is founded in the 
Declaration of the Right to Development of 1985, which is the sound basis and 
framework for human rights-based approach to development. This declaration is used as 
the framework for the practice of HRBA to Development. 

14. Development Projects - For purposes of this study, development projects 
refer to time bound interventions to effect changes in the condition and quality of life of 
the people. In the context of this study, these are implemented to produce development 
outputs, which may contribute directly or indirectly in the attainment of development 

15. Governance Projects - Also in the context of this study, these are time 
bound interventions to effect changes in the capacities of governance stakeholders. These 
are projects that respond to enabling the governance stakeholders to overcome 
weaknesses and constraints towards achieving more effective performance of mandates. 
Under this study, governance projects focus on the capacity building of both the duty- 
bearers and claimholders of rights. 

16. Duty-Bearers - As discussed in the 2002 UNDP Training Manual, these 

Q 1 

are governance actors that have responsibilities in the realization of rights. In the 
traditional and legal approach based on the treaties, the state is often assumed to be the 
duty-bearer. There is a consideration that private sector or business is a non-state duty- 
bearer. For purposes of the HRBA, this concept of duty -bearer is loosely applied to 
mean all those who have the responsibility and the mandate to respond or assist in the 
securing of human rights entitlements for the claimholders. For the most part of this 
study, duty-bearers refer to government agencies. 

17. Claimholders - In the same manual, claimholders are referred to as 
governance actors that have claim or entitlement over the rights being secured. Under the 
HRBA, they may refer to people's organizations, basic sectors or any organization of 
vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors that are often unaware of their rights and how to 
claim them. It is assumed also that while they may have claim over human rights 
entitlements, they also, perform certain responsibilities in seeking the well-being, justice 
and equity for all, relative to individual obligations are concerned." 

17. GOP-UNDP Governance Portfolio is the joint cooperation program of the 
Government of the Philippines and the United Nations Development Programme 
(UNDP). The GOP is represented by the National Economic Development Authority 
(NEDA). Under the portfolio, there are implementing partners and responsible partners. 
The responsible partners are the direct proponents of projects, referred to in this study. 

Declaration on the Right to Development, United nations. 1985 

31 UNDP, Rights-Based Development Training Manual. July 2002. p.59 

32 Ibid. pp. 78-83 


Appendix B 





■ Determines both the essence and modes of conduct of development and governance 

■ Authority of government is based on the will and consent of the people; and 

■ Government is answerable to the people for its decisions and actions 

Attention to 
Vulnerable Groups 

■ Points to the essence of development and governance 

■ Greater importance given to the disadvantaged/vulnerable; and 

■ Measures taken up to help participate in the solution of their problems 


■ Determines both the essence and modes of conduct of development and governance 

■ Power to act for or on their behalf to claim their rights entitlements; and 

■ Capacitating them to contribute and participate. 


■ Determines both the essence and modes of conduct of development and governance 

■ Women and men equally enjoy and exercise their rights and freedoms; and 

■ Preferential treatment where there is impairment in the exercise of their rights and freedoms. 


■ Determines both the essence and modes of conduct of development and governance 

■ Fairness, justice and impartiality in the guarantee of rights and freedoms; and 

■ Equity demands that the poor should not be disproportionately burdened 

Good Governance 

■ Specifies modes of conduct in the pursuit of development by relevant stakeholders and actors 

■ Participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, efficient, effective, equitable and follows rule 
of law. 

Independence of the 

■ Specifies modes of conduct in the pursuit of development by relevant stakeholders and actors 

■ Final arbiter on human rights; 

■ Independence guaranteed; and 

■ Decision rendered with impartiality without influence or pressure 


■ Points to the essence of Development 

■ Human rights are intertwined: the absence of one right negates the presence of the other; 

■ Both sets of rights should be enjoyed: civil and political; and economic, social and cultural rights. 

Interdependence and 

■ Points to the essence of Development 

■ Enjoyment or exercise of one right is dependent on the other; 

■ No rights precede the other; and 

■ Rights are interlinked with one another. 


■ Points to the essence of Development 

■ Human Rights belong to all 

■ Human Rights are based on principles that dignity is inherent to all 

Legislative Capacity 

■ Specifies modes of conduct in the pursuit of development by relevant stakeholders and actors 

■ Human Rights must be guaranteed by law; 

■ Legislature must have the capacity to enact laws that uphold inherent dignity of person and the 
enjoyment, exercise and fulfillment of human rights. 

Rule of law 

■ All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection 




■ Without an independent and honest judiciary there is a big risk that development will collapse 


■ Determines both the essence and modes of conduct of development 

■ Entitled to human rights without restriction, prohibitions, exclusions or preferences. 

Peoples' Participation 

■ Specifies modes of conduct in the pursuit of development by relevant stakeholders and actors 

■ Participant and contributor at all level of economic, social, and political decision making; 

■ Informed decision; 

■ Voluntary, effective and full without threats and sanctions; and 

■ Participation mechanisms made available. 


■ Specifies modes of conduct in the pursuit of development and governance by relevant stakeholders and 

■ People to see openly into the activities of government; 

■ Full, free and public disclosure of decision, policies and processes of government; and 

■ Access to information especially in rule making activity of government. 


Appendix C 




Right to Life 

The supreme and inherent human rights from which no derogation is permitted, even in time of war or public 
emergency. Whereas it begins at birth according to International Law, it begins at conception in the 
Philippine Law. 


Article 3 of UDHR; 

Article 6 of ICCPR; General Comment 6, HRC (1982); 

Article 5(b) of ICERD; Article 6 CRC; and 

Section 1 Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution 

Equality and Non- 

This includes substantive equal protection of the law and enjoyment of all civil, political, economic, social 
and cultural rights. Its most important element is the distinction, exclusion, restriction, preference or 
prohibition of discrimination based on race, color, sex/gender, language, disability, descent, age, religion, 
political or other opinion, national or ethnic/social origin, property, birth or other status which has the effect 
or purpose of impairing/nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of human rights 



Article 7 of UDHR; 

Article 3 of ICESR; Article 3 of ICCPR; 
Article 8(1) of the Right to Development; 
Article 5 of ICERD; Article 9&15 of CEDAW; 

Section 1 Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution; and 


Article 7 of UDHR; 

Article 2(2) of ICESR; Article 2(1) & 20(2) of ICCPR; 

Article 6(1) of the Right to Development; 
Article 1,3&4 of ICERD; Article 
1,2,4&7 of CEDAW; and 

Article 2 of CRC. 

Political Rights and 

Right to Participate in 

Freedoms of Opinion and 

Freedom of Movement, 

Right of Peaceful Assembly 
and Association 

These may be exercised directly or indirectly, individually or collectively but must be free, genuine exercise, 
and voluntary. 

- Take part in the government directly or indirectly through freely chosen representatives; equal access to 
public services; and the will of the people as basis of government authority 

Bases : 

Article 21 of UDHR; Article 5 of ICERD; and 

Section 16 Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution 

Article 12 of ICCPR; 

Section 6 Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution; 

Article 20 of UDHR; Article 20&21 of ICCPR; 

Article 5(d) (ix) of ICERD; Article 15 of CRC; and Section 4 Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. 

Article 19 of UDHR; Article 19 of ICCPR; 
Article 5(d) (viii) of ICERD; Article 12&13 of CRC; Section 4 Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution 




- Freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas 
through any media and regardless of frontiers 

- Freedom of movement and residence within the borders of state, leave any country, including his own and 
return to his country and shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, 
consideration of national security, public order, public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of 

- No restrictions on the exercise of this right to peaceful assembly to include right to form and join trade 
unions for the protection of his interests except those in conformity with the law, in the interest of national 
security or public safety, public order, public health or protection of rights and freedoms of others 

Right to Social Security 

This is a right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or lack of 
livelihood in circumstances covering all risks involved in the loss of the means of livelihood or subsistence 
for reasons beyond a person's control 


Article 22 of UDHR; Article 9 of ICESCR; General Comment 5&6 ICESR (1994/1995); Article 8(1) of the 
Right to Development; 
Article 1 1 (e) of CEDAW; and 
Article 25 of CRC 

Right to Work 

This right covers: free choice of employment; just and favorable conditions of work; protection against 
unemployment; equal pay for equal work, just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family 
an existence worthy of 

human dignity; to form or join trade unions for the protection of his interests; equal opportunity to be 
promoted in employment; rest leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours, etc. 


Article 23 of UDHR; Article 6,7&8 of ICESCR; 

Article 8(1) of the Right to Development; Article 5(e)(i)(ii) of ICERD; Article 1 1 of CEDAW;' Article 32 of 
CRC; and Section 3 Article XIII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution 

Right to Health 

This is a right to access and enjoyment to health services and facilities, and to enjoy certain social conditions 
favorable to the highest attainable standard of health. Such right considers: availability in terms of functional 
health services, programs and facilities: accessibility in terms of information availability, physical and 
economic accessibility, cultural appropriateness and respectful of medical ethics and quality in terms of 
scientific & medical appropriateness. 


Article 25 of UDHR; 

Article 12 of ICESCR; General Comment 14 ICESCR (2000); 
Article 8 of the Right to Development; 

Article 5(e) (iv) of ICERD; Article 12 of CEDAW; Article 24 of CRC; and Section 1 1, 12, &13 Article XIII 
of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. 

Right to Food 

This covers availability, adequacy and physical and economic accessibility of food supply, and the stability of 
the supply. In addition, it is not limited to calories, proteins and specific nutrients. Likewise, it is linked to 
sustainability not only for the present but also for the future generations. 


Article 25 of UDHR; 

Article 1 1 of ICESCR; General Comment 12 ICESCR (1999); and 

Article 8 of the Right to Development 

Right to Housing 

This refers to the right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity. Its core contents include the legal 
security of tenure, availability of infrastructure, facilities, materials and services, affordability, habitability in 
terms of space, protection and safety against structural and health hazards, accessibility, location, and cultural 


Article 25 of UDHR; 

Article 1 1 of ICESCR; General Comment 4 of ICESCR (199 1); 

General Comment 7 of ICESCR (1997); Article 8 of the Right to Development; Article 5(e) (iii) of ICERD; 

Section 9&10 and Article XIII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. 




Right to Education 

Availability of Functioning educational institutions and existing programs in sufficient quantities; trained 
teachers; non-discriminating; physically and economically accessible; acceptable in terms of quality, cultural 
appropriateness; and flexibility and relevance. It also includes the right to free universal primary education, 
secondary higher, fundamental, technical and vocational educations. The government is also required to set 
up school system and to respect educational freedom, such as freedom of parents/guardians to choose the 
school for their children, and right of foreigners to set up schools. 


Article 26 of UDHR; Article 13 of ICESCR; 

General Comment 11 of CESCR (1999); 

General Comment 13 of CESCR (1999); 

Article 8(1) of the Right to Development; 

Article 5(e) (v) of CERD; Article 10 of CEDAW; Articles 28&29 of CRC; and Article XIV of the 1987 

Philippine Constitution. 

Right of Reparation 

This is an inherent right associated with an effective protection of human rights for the purpose of relieving 
and affording justice to victims. The victims can seek redress for human rights violations through restitution, 
compensation, rehabilitation, and non-repetition. 


Article 8 Universal Declaration of Human Rights; 

Article 2(3a-c) ICCPR; 

Article 5, Declaration on the Right to Development; 

Article 6, CERD; 

Articles 4 and 39, Convention on the Rights of the Child