The second-year students of the USeP School of Law (SoL) organized a community extension activity titled “Strengthening Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law: A Training Workshop with Task Force Davao.” The workshop took place on May 31, 2023, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the Task Force Davao Headquarters, located in Sta. Ana Wharf, Davao City. This initiative aligns with SoL’s mission to promote peacebuilding activities through community conflict sensitivity capacity-building, training, and seminar workshops.
The primary objective of this training workshop was to enhance the knowledge and skills of Task Force Davao personnel regarding the principles and regulations of International Human Rights (IHR) and International Humanitarian (IH) Laws and their application in situations of armed conflict.
Dr. Roby V. Pagong, Director of the USeP Extension Division, expressed her gratitude to Col. Darren E. Comia, the Commander of Task Force Davao, for accepting the request to conduct this activity. Dr. Pagong warmly welcomed the participants and expressed hope that they would gain valuable insights from the workshop.
The morning session commenced with a lecture on the fundamental concepts and principles of human rights, delivered by Mr. Alfonso C. Balansag Jr., Information Officer III of the Davao Commission on Human Rights (CHR). This was followed by Ms. Mary Joy S. Bravo, Chief of the Investigation Division of CHR Davao, who presented the basic concepts and principles of International Humanitarian (IH) Law.
During the afternoon session, Francesca Lois V. Sarenas, LLM, a human rights lawyer and Faculty member of SoL, facilitated an integration session to synthesize the discussions from the two resource speakers. Participants then had a workshop where they were asked to reflect and discuss amongst themselves the practicability of human rights and humanitarian law standards vis-à-vis the conditions in their spheres of influence. In her closing remarks, Atty. Sarenas highlighted the importance of ensuring the applicability of laws to community contexts and the capability of those who are mandated to execute those laws, specifically noting those policies relating to human rights and humanitarian laws.
The activity concluded with “games” as creative assessment tools where the participants were made to present “tableaux” showing principles of humanitarian laws tackled during the earlier sessions. Another “game” focused on evaluating the level of knowledge of the participants on the topics earlier discussed.
Jesus Agora Villardo III, LLM, SoL-Extension Head and Faculty member, emphasized the importance of the activity as it is the final assessment of the students. He underscored the value of evaluating the students’ comprehension of the law, emphasizing the need to go beyond traditional exams and incorporate practical applications of legal principles into the assessment process.
Speaking on behalf of the class, Kate Derice Tancinco, shared her thoughts on the activity. She described the experience as truly enlightening, highlighting how it provided the class with a broader perspective on the practical implementation of the laws studied in class. Kate expressed her satisfaction with the overall outcome of the activity, recognizing that there were areas for improvement. Nevertheless, she emphasized that the class successfully accomplished their intended goals.