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

The UN Committee against Torture has expressed concern over the persistence of impunity for acts of torture despite the enactment of the Anti-Torture Act in 2009 in the Philippines. It noted that only one perpetrator has been convicted considering the rising number of torture cases compiled by the Commission on Human Rights six years after torture was declared a criminal offense.

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A minor died while another young boy and an adult farmer were seriously injured  reportedly as a result of unlawful violence they suffered  in the hands of soldiers in the municipality of Tipo-Tipo in Basilan. The incident happened on April 12, 2016 in the midst of the military  combat operations against  the Abu Sayyaf group that  were involved  in  the recent kidnappings and killings of civilian hostages in southern Philippines.

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The  United against Torture Coalition  (UATC) has called attention on the  non-conviction of torturers and the weak implementation of the Anti-Torture Act six years since it was enacted in 2009. The coalition raised this observation, among other issues,  during the 57th session of the United Nations Committee on Torture at  Palais Wilson in Geneva on April 27, 2015. 

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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.