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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BALAY and DSWD convened inter-agency mechanism for the rehabilitation of torture victims and their families in Zamboanga City

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Office-Social Technology Bureau (DSWD-STB) in partnership with BALAY Rehabilitation Center and Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) have convened an inter-agency meeting last July 19-20, 2017 in  Zamboanga City.

The meeting aimed to introduce the PagHILOM program to the local government units that are selected as pilot area for the program and to establish a mechanism for its implementation.

Representatives from Department of Justice (DOJ), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), Regional Human Rights Commission (RHRC), and DSWD Field Office IX were among the participants.  The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was also discussed to facilitate the effective implementation of the program.

The PagHILOM program was created by the DSWD-STB to operationalize the implementing rules and regulations as mandated by R.A. 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009. The program has chosen Zamboanga City to conduct its pilot implementation because of the prevalence of torture in the area. Based on the records of Commission on Human Rights IX, Zamboanga City has the highest torture cases documented from 2009-2017.

After the inter-agency meeting, the team visited Zamboanga City Medical Center to establish a referral mechanism. The psychiatric department of the said institution accepted their role under the program. Ms. Chris Palomo, head of the medical social services was appointed to be the case manager to handle torture cases admitted in the hospital.

The team has also scheduled set of activities to strengthen the program which includes a courtesy visit to the office of the City Mayor of Zamboanga City, the MOA signing, documentation and assessment of torture victims and case conferences.