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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Members of  civil society organizations in conflict-affected areas in North Cotabato in Mindanao participated in  a study session on torture documentation and reporting organized by the Balay Rehabilitation Center on July 27, 2016.

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A ranking military officer was arrested five years after he was implicated in the torture of a baker in Basilan in 2011. The police served the warrant of arrest against Capt.  Sherwin William Guidangen in Maysilo Circle, Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong City on March 8, 2016.  He was charged for violating the Anti-Torture Act as well as for Maltreatment of Prisoner- an offense   punishable under the Revised Penal  Code.

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The United against Torture Coalition has expressed support to the policy of president-elect  Rodrigo Duterte to rid the ranks of the Philippine National Police  of corruption and to severe all  alleged  links of law enforcers with criminal groups in effectively  fulfilling their  mission to protect the rights and security of the public.

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Torture Prevention and Documentation Gained Inroads Among BJMP Officers

More than 100 jail medical officers and human rightsdesk  officers of the  Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) participated in a two-day seminar on torture monitoring, documentation and reporting on August 27-28, 2015. The activity was jointly organized by Balay and the Directorate for Inmates Welfare and Development (DIWD)  of the BJMP as part of their commitment  to prevent torture in places of detention.  The participants came from more than 40 jails managed by BJMP in the National Capital Region (NCR). The seminar was held in the BJMP National Headquarters (NHQ) in Quezon City.

DIWD Chief Carol Borrinaga and Deputy Director Dr. Irene Lim, Deputy Director presented the BJMP anti-torture policy to the participants and reiterated that torture prevention is congruent with the bureau’s mission of ‘human safekeeping’ of detainees. The participants discussed the  guidelines that they need to observe  and the forms that they will have to use in documenting inmates who may have already been tortured or ill-treated at the time that they have been  sent for safekeeping in jail facilities. They also learned how to interview torture victims and to report to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) any complaint of torture of inmates by custodial authorities.

Atty. Patricia Veramo  and  Dr.  Paul Borlongan, Legal Officer and Medical Section Officer of the BJMP respectively, provided iinputs on the anti-torture law and torture documentation. Balay's Program Coordinator, Kaloy Anasarias, and its Medical Forensic Consultant, Dr. Ben Molino, discussed how to identify the effects of torture and to handle the victims in order to obtain the torture narrative and provide immediate treatment and psychological first aid.

According to Balay, many cases of torture have remained unrecorded because mandated authorities are not keen on detecting possible torture victims and documenting them properly.The participants, many of whom have studied health-related science, before they joined the custodial service are deemed to  play an important role in documenting cases of torture, facilitating the victim’s access to rehabilitation services, and in ensuring the speedy disposition of cases.

BJMP Director Diony Mamaril congratulated the participants and the organizers for their efforts and    led the awarding of certificates to the participants.