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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Coordination mechanism to promote rehabilitation of torture victims formed

Representatives from government agencies and civil society organizations agreed to create a mechanism to fulfil the government’s obligation to provide rehabilitation services for  torture victims and their families.

They reached this decision during a forum initiated by Balay Rehabilitation Center and organized by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) held in Microtel, Quezon City last March 28.

The CHR was named as the  agency to lead the inter-agency mechanism with the DSWD, the Department of Heath (DOH), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) as core members. Other members of the mechanism are the  Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and the Human Rights Offices of both the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The creation of the inter-agency mechanism is a fulfilment of one of the requirements for the effective implementation of the Comprehensive Program for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and their Families (CPRTV) signed by the heads of the DSWD, DOH, and the DOJ in 2014. The Program is in line with Section 19 of the Anti Torture Act and Section 35 of its  Implementing Rules and Regulations which seek to  uphold the right to rehabilitation of  torture victims and their families.

The mechanism is expected to urge each of the concerned state agencies to come up with their respective guidelines or program  to effectively implement the CPRTV in their respective organization.  Moreover, it is intended to function as a platform to promote the  coordination and  referral, as well as the monitoring and evaluation of the cases falling under the rehabilitation program of each of the mandated agencies in the regional and local levels.    

So far, the DSWD, the DOH, and the BJMP are the government agencies that have issued their respective programs or guidelines on rehabilitation  in line with their obligation under the Anti Torture Act. Balay has been  working with these agencies in the last three years towards the effective implementation of CPRTV.