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 Trains Community Paralegals

Participants together with Louie Crismo, Balay Project Officer, posing after the 3-day training on basic paralegal skills.Antipolo – 22 young people from Bagong Silang, Caloocan participated in a training aimed at equipping them with basic paralegal skills. The youths who participated in the training are current partners of Balay in their program for torture prevention and rehabilitation of victims of torture in Bagong Silang. The group is composed of young people who have experienced torture and ill treatment from the police and young people who are not victims of torture but are perceived to be vulnerable to experience it.

During the training, topics such as the Anti-Torture Law (RA 8745), the Philippine Justice System, basic paralegal skills and fact sheet making skills were discussed. The 3-day training was organized by Balay Rehabilitation Center. The content and facilitation of the sessions was likewise done by Balay staffs.

Counter-measure

Balay's experience in working in Bagong Silang has revealed that at least one case of torture or extra-judicial killings (salvaging) happen every month. In lieu of this observation, the paralegal training conducted may be viewed as a response to these human rights violations (HRVs). Trained paralegals are intended to assist possible HRV victims or refer cases to authorities or organizations such as Balay. In effect, these trained individuals may also serve as community-based "watchdogs" – their presence as a deterrent to state authorities in committing such horrible acts.

Business of Saving Lives

At the start of the training, Mr. Ellecer Carlos, one of the facilitators, noted that "torture can happen to anyone". In this light, at the end of the training, it was emphasized to the participants that paralegal skills can someday "save your or somebody else's life". As one of the facilitators succinctly, paralegal work "is in the business of saving lives".

HRV Monitoring System

Aside from forming a pool of paralegals – individuals that may help victims of human rights violations – the training is also intended to create a pool of human rights violations monitors. The information collected by the paralegals, which shall also serve as HRV monitors, shall be used to gauge the human rights situation in Bagong Silang. This information is hoped to be used for research – describing the extent of HRVs in Bagong Silang as well as to come up with trends – and policy reform advocacy within the Barangay and City Government.