Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why do we need Security Sector Transformation in the Philippines?

by Rommel C. Banlaoi
(This piece is lifted from the author' piece, "Comprehensive Understanding of Human Security:  Human Development, Human Rights and the Imperative of Security Sector Transformation in the Philippines" commissioned by the Institute of Autonomy and Governance as part of the training module on Security Sector Transformation in which the author is an avid advocate.)

In a society suffering internal armed conflicts, there are many challenges to human security.  Armed conflicts destroy lives and properties and put to waste many important resources needed for nation-building.[i] Armed conflicts also lead to various forms of human rights violations and create conditions not conducive for human development.  Armed conflicts create internally displaced persons, deter potential tourists and investors and disrupt the delivery of basic social services to the people.
The Philippines provides an excellent case of a society confronting complex human security challenges as a result of internal armed conflicts.[ii]   To address these complex human security challenges in the Philippines caused by internal armed conflicts, pursuing security sector transformation is deemed vital and urgent.
As a concept, security sector transformation presents a paradigm shift in security sector governance.  It recognizes the blurring of lines between internal and external security challenges that have been previously discussed.  It identifies the current and evolving role played by military and non-military players as well as government and non-government stakeholders in addressing the multifaceted security challenges faced by developing nations. The concept of security transformation primarily seeks to understand underlying conditions for the emergence of these security challenges and builds capacity to strengthen national and local leadership “in dealing with new security demands and to establish effective processes and structures commensurate with the new challenges.”[iii] 
The most important intention of security sector transformation is to make the security sector accountable to democratic processes and ensure armed forces to promote democratic norms and principles, which include respect for human rights, observance of international humanitarian law, and upholding the rule of law, among others. In other words, security sector transformation aims to implement effective governance of the security sector through democratic processes.  It also ensures that the security sector play an effective, legitimate, and democratically accountable role in providing external and internal security for their citizens.  It endeavors to prevent the illegitimate use of state violence against its own people and perpetuate human rights violations that are inimical to human development and human security. Most importantly, it intends to enhance the capacity of state in deterring groups or individuals to use armed violence for private ends and/or for partisan political purposes.[iv]
Security sector transformation is warranted in developing or weak states experiencing internal armed conflicts or facing the proliferation of private armed groups. It is usually implemented in states where there is weak or failed governance that encourages groups and individuals to arm themselves for protection (vigilantism) or for a living (entrepreneur of violence).  It is also pursued in countries undergoing the painful process of democratic transition and democratic consolidation where the rule of law is still fragile and weak.
Security sector transformation is an integral aspect of the overall process of democratization.  It aims to strengthen the democratic governance of the security sector so it can be an effective tool to prevent or resolve internal armed conflicts and to counter political violence, terrorism and criminal violence.
Poor governance of the security sector is often a source of internal armed conflicts and private armed violence as well as a great obstacle to peace-building efforts and the strengthening of the rule of law.  Security sector transformation is an important process for the promotion of justice, peace and over-all national development.
The transformation of the security sector is considered important for the success of internal armed conflict resolution and peace processes.  It is regarded as effective antidote to armed violence, criminality, insurgency and terrorism. Security sector transformation is also crucial to foster structural stability so that communities can live in a safe and security environment necessary for the enjoyment of human security.  Security sector transformation aims to ensure state security without compromising human security.  Security sector transformation endeavors to build the capacity of the security sector in order for the state to fulfill its role in advancing human security of its citizens.

[i]See “Human Security and Armed Conflict” in Philippine Human Development Report 2005 (Manila:  Human Development Network in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme and New Zealand Agency for International Development, 2005), pp. 1-64.

[ii]See Merlie B. Mendoza and Victor M. Taylor (eds), Challenges to Human Security in Complex Situations:  The Case of Conflict in the Southern Philippines (Kuala Lumpur:  Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network, 2010).

[iii]Heiko Borchert and Daniel Oriesek, Security Sector Transformation:  Why New Risk Demands for New Kind of Security Governance (USA: Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., 2004), p. 2.

[iv]Rommel C. Banlaoi, “An Overview of Security Sector Transformation” (Delivered at the Training on Security Sector Transformation for the PNP, AFP, CSOs and select LGUs of the 2nd District of Maguindanao  organized by the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) and the Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung (KAF)  at the Grand Men Seng Hotel in Davao City  on February 25,  2010).

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