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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Tanghalang Balangay Debuts In Basta Run Against Torture V

Members of the Tanghalang Balangay performing in front of the participants of the Basta Run Against Torture V.Quezon City – Tanghalang Balangay, a community-based theater group composed of around 20 young people from Bagong Silang, Caloocan City performed during the program held after the actual run of the activity: Basta Run Against Torture V. The group performed in front of 500 (est.) participating individuals belonging to different civil society organizations and government agencies.

This was the group's first performance since their formation last June 2011. The group was formed through a theater workshop organized by Balay and facilitated by the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA). The formation of a theater group for young people is hoped to provide them with a meaningful endeavor – one that cultivates their talents and skills – as well as a therapeutic activity for torture victims and youths who are vulnerable to experience such experiences due to the compounded problem of poverty. On a larger view, the formation of a theater group is also hoped to be a mechanism to prevent young people from entering a life of violence and illicit activities which in turn greatly increases their risk of experience torture or cruel treatment from state authorities. As such, the formation of a theater group may contribute in the prevention of torture and rehabilitation of its effects through a therapeutic means and art.

Respect, Protect and Fulfill Human Rights

Tanghalang Balangay performed a 5 minute skit using action and movement to convey their message that human rights of each and every individual must be respected, protected and fulfilled. In a post-activity meeting, members of the theater group emphasized that "we are glad that we were able to present in front of the military and police. We want to convey the message to them that they are not supposed to be the one to violate our human rights. They are supposed to protect us."

Mixed emotions

During the post-activity meeting, members of the theater groups expressed that they had their worries right before the performance. As one member put it, "I was really nervous before the performance. Thinking of performing in front of the Police or the Military, persons who I know from personal experience abuse, beat and torture people, made me really worry [about us and our safety]." However, as the group performed, their worries disappeared and became more confident about themselves. The group also said that they were proud of what they did: having the courage to perform in front of the military and the police is no easy feat, says the member of the group.

In the end, Ernesto Anasarias, Executive Director of Balay Rehabilitation Center congratulated the group for a very good performance and for the courage to perform despite numerous difficulties and anxieties. According to Anasarias, the performance of the group is significant because of its implicit message to state authorities. A message that says that, the youth, as inheritors of the future, will not allow nor tolerate any human rights violations.

Kudos to the members of Tanghalang Balangay! May your art and performances serve to make the Philippines torture free.