NEW BOOK: “Security Sector Reform and Sustainable Development Goal 16: A Philippine Case Study"

Discover the pivotal intersections of security reforms, democratic values, and sustainable development.

Friedrich-Ebert-Stifting Philippines and Human Security Advocates have launched a new book titled "Security Sector Reform and Sustainable Development Goal 16: A Philippine Case Study.” Editors Jennifer S. Oreta, PhD and Mario J. Aguja, PhD uncover the long and winding path of security sector reform (SSR) in the Philippines. The book provides a comprehensive review of the reform efforts, while underscoring the challenges faced along the way, ranging from political control to issues of gender equality.

But what exactly is Security Sector Reform? Security Sector Reform (SSR) is the crucial work of strengthening and democratizing the institutions that are responsible for a nation's safety—namely its police forces, military, and intelligence services. Its essence is simple: to build a system that is not only effective but also deeply rooted in the principles of democracy, transparency, and human rights. This initiative extends beyond mere operational enhancements or modernization of equipment. It delves into the very framework that governs these security entities, seeking to align them with the broader objectives of social justice, good governance, and sustainable development. SSR is a comprehensive strategy that considers the security of the state and its citizens as interwoven with the quality of governance and the safeguarding of democratic values.

This is where Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16) comes into play.  Adopted by all United Nations Member States as part of the 2030 Agenda, SDG 16 specifically targets the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.

Building on the aspirations of SDG 16, “Security Sector Reform and Sustainable Development Goal 16: A Philippine Case Study" offers readers a comprehensive analysis of the Philippine security sector's transformation from the post-World War II period to the present day. It goes beyond the often-told tales of political influence and military coup attempts, examining how gender mainstreaming has become a critical component of SSR and how the imposition of martial law has had long-term institutional impacts. By connecting these elements to SDG 16, the book makes a compelling case that reforming the security sector is integral to achieving not just national stability but also broader global goals of peace and sustainable development.

Taking this point further, the book emphasizes that when it comes to oversight and accountability, every individual has a stake in the process. It highlights that grasping the intricacies of SSR is essential for all, not solely the domain of experts. Whether it's drafting legislation, advocating for the marginalized, or simply being an informed citizen, deep knowledge of SSR equips various stakeholders to contribute meaningfully to national stability and democratic governance.

So what does this mean for Philippine society? At its heart, the book poses a pressing question: What's at stake when the nation and its security sector are in flux? For legislators, civil society organizations (CSOs), and citizens alike, this work serves as a reminder that understanding SSR is not just the responsibility of experts, but of the society as a whole. Whether it's drafting legislation, advocating for the marginalized, or simply being an informed citizen, deep knowledge of SSR ensures that security intertwines seamlessly with democracy, human rights, sustainable development, and good governance.

Dive in and discover the intricacies of the Philippines' security sector reform narrative, authored by an array of experts including Prof. Jennifer Santiago Oreta, Ph.D., Prof. Mario “Mayong” J. Aguja, Ph.D., Mark Davis Madarang Pablo, Alexis Jerome “Aj” Tolibas, Colonel Ruel G. Rombaoa (Ret.), and Atty. Maria Cleofe Gettie C. Sandoval.


For Legislators: Having an important oversight function towards security sector governance, understanding the challenges and successes of SSR is fundamental. Equipped with insights and capacities, legislators must draft and guard policies and strategies that will ensure core security actors to be true to their mandates of serving the interest of the country, and in strengthening democratic processes. It empowers them to anticipate potential pitfalls and navigate the complex web of interests and alliances, thereby laying a strong foundation for a progressive and stable nation.

For CSOs: Civil Society Organizations, being the linchpin between the state and its citizens, need a profound comprehension of SSR to champion the cause of the marginalized and ensure that reforms are inclusive. An understanding of SSR allows CSOs to work together with core security actors and push for a security sector that upholds human rights and the rule of law. Armed with this knowledge, CSOs can also contribute to building trust between communities and security entities, crucial for the collective goal of peace and stability.

For Citizens: In an era of information overload, the citizenry's grasp of the intricacies of SSR is their shield against manipulation and misinformation. By comprehending the evolution and state of their country's security sector, they can discern genuine progress from political rhetoric. It enables them to recognize their stake in SSR, fostering civic engagement that holds power to account. This is not just about ensuring personal safety but also about empowering actors for sustaining democracy.

For Philippine Society at Large: The very fabric of the nation's social contract is intertwined with the state of its security sector. If ineffective, the SSR has the potential to destabilize foundational democratic principles, ushering in another era of distrust, inequality, and potential unrest. Conversely, a well-informed and effective SSR can be a beacon of stability, fostering trust, societal cohesion, and sustainable development. What is at stake is the essence of Philippine democracy, the integrity of its institutions, and the hope of future generations. In the delicate balance between security and freedom, an informed public, coupled with vigilant institutions, can ensure that the nation treads the path of sustainable growth, equitable justice, and harmony.


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