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.