A Philippine Human Rights NGO providing Psychosocial Services and Rehabilitation to Internally Displaced Persons and Survivors of Torture and Organized Violence.

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Latest News

Human rights groups have welcomed the conviction of a police officer  implicated in the torture of  a detainee in the verdict made by the Municipal Trial Court in Angeles City, Pampanga  on March 29, 2016.  In his decision, Judge Ireneo  Panganiban Jr.,  has found guilty Police Officer 2  Jerick Jimenez of subjecting  Jerryme Corre to severe pain and suffering to make him admit to a crime in violation of Republic Act 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act.

The court decision is  the first of its kind since the Anti-Torture Law was enacted in 2009.  The judge had ordered PO2 Jimenez to be jailed for a maximum period of two years and four months. He also directed the convicted police officer to pay the victim P100,000.00 in moral damages.

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Balay Rehabilitation Center held a Seminar on Torture Prevention, Monitoring, Documentation and Reporting for Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Wardens and Health Officer Torture in Cebu last March 30, 2016. The speakers include former Commission on Human Rights Regional Director Atty. Alejandro Alonso Jr., officials from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology National Headquarters and representatives from Balay Rehabilitation Center. Participants composed of 55 BJMP Wardens and Jail Officers from different jails in the Visayas.

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Professionals  from different government agencies participated in a study session on torture prevention and rehabilitation organized by Balay Rehabilitation Center  in  Albay in Bicol province on February 23-24, 2016. The 2-day activity gathered 36 participants which included   healthcare providers, lawyers, and social workers from the regional offices of the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Public Attorney’s Office. Members of the Philippine National Police, the Department of Justice, and civil society organizations  in Albay province and Naga City  also joined the event.

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Balay Held HR Seminar for AFP Intel Officers

Balay representative, Mr. Carlos receiving a certificate of appreciation from Maj. Gen. Bambao for giving out a lecture about torture in the Philippine context and a discussion about the Anti-Torture Law of 2009Camp Aguinaldo Quezon City – a human rights seminar for Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Intelligence Officer was held. Balay Rehabilitation Center (Balay), represented by Mr. Ellecer Carlos, was also invited to discuss the newly passed Anti-Torture Act (RA 9745) of 2009. Ms. Loretta Rosales, chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), was likewise present in the said forum and discussed human rights violations situation in the Philippines from the immediate past to the present.

Balay, represented by Mr. Carlos, discussed the phenomenon of torture in the Philippine, tackling the root causes of torture in the country and the salient points of the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 (RA 9745) – definition of torture, the legal repercussions of any agent of the state that will violate this law and the various mechanisms of protection and education for civilians, groups and state agencies. In the end, Mr. Carlos emphasized to the intelligence community that torture must not be used in any circumstance. He also added that "torture is shameful and abhorrent" and that "torture is a taboo in our society and taboo it must remain".

First Ever

According to Maj. Gen. Francisco Cruz Jr. in that the said human rights forum is a first in the AFP's history. He also added that this forum is one of many steps that the leadership of the AFP is taking to create "a new breed of soldiers, one that operates on higher moral ground".

A Continuing Engagement towards Transformation – a Torture Free Society

In the end, we may see the human rights forum for its immediate value – the education of military intelligence personnel about human rights and, in particular, the right to be free from torture. However, it is also apparent that the activity is indicative of an opening within the ranks of the military and its leadership. An opening that is characterized by an acceptance of the human rights perspective and discourse as applicable and compatible to the field of military operations, and in this case, military intelligence. In addition to the adoption of a human rights perspective in military operations, the activity is also an implicit expression of commitment in making military intelligence and operations operate within the bounds of human rights.

In any case, Balay is hopeful that this activity marks the start of the transformation of the military – a military that will truly protect its citizens and respect and fulfill human rights. Indeed, the struggle for a torture free Philippines is still ongoing. While the forum is a sign for the hopeful, it is still paramount that we don't forget that torture is still pervasive in our society, and in this light, we must say: "FREE FROM TORTURE NOT FREE TO TORTURE!"