VOICES FORWARD: NPC joins exit conference with UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression

PASAY CITY, February 2, 2024 – The National Privacy Commission (NPC), along with other government agencies, joined the Exit Conference of the United Nations Special Rapporteur (UNSR) on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Ms. Irene Khan, held today at the Department of Foreign Affairs. The conference marked the culmination of Ms. Khan’s 10-day official visit to the Philippines, which commenced on January 23, 2024.

In her exit briefer, Ms. Khan commended the Philippine government under the leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., for its renewed relationship with international entities such as the United Nations, and its “great willingness to engage with special procedures,” adding that these “progress should advance further.”

The UNSR also shared her recommendations to the representatives of government agencies at the conference, proposing to create a safer space for civil organizations, journalists, human rights defenders, and media workers to perform their work without fear through policy reforms and legislation.

Privacy Commissioner Atty. John Henry D. Naga acknowledged Ms. Khan’s insights and recommendations, and expressed his gratitude for giving NPC an opportunity to showcase its initiatives and accomplishments in the sphere of freedom of opinion and expression.

“The Marcos Administration, through the NPC, is committed in protecting the personal data of our citizens and providing a conducive environment for our friends in civil groups and media to share information and express themselves freely,” Commissioner Naga emphasized.

During her visit, Ms. Khan engaged in various dialogues with government officials, civil society organizations, and media representatives to examine, in the spirit of cooperation and dialogue, the situation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in the country.

The NPC was the first government agency to host Ms. Khan during her visit. The Privacy Commissioner emphasized NPC’s efforts in data privacy and protection and its importance in relation to the free exercise of opinion and expression.

Ms. Khan shall present her full report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2025.