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MAG envisions a society where fundamental human rights are upheld and protected at all times in accordance with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights


Justice for Dr. Perlas, Protect all medical doctors

We, the Medical Action Group (MAG), health and human rights organization, is saddened by the news on the death of 31-year old Dr. Dreyfuss Bolivar Perlas, the Municipal Health Officer (MHO) of municipality of Sapad, province of Lanao del Norte, under the government’s Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) program.

According to reports, Dr. Perlas was shot dead while riding his motorbike in Barangay Maranding Annex, Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte, on Wednesday night, March 1. Based on reports, he came from a medical mission in Sapad town and was on his way home to Barangay Maranding where he was renting a house.

Dr. Perlas, who chose to serve the poor, was a native of Batan town in Aklan province. He was a biology graduate of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Los Baños in 2007 and earned his medical degree from the West Visayas State University in Iloilo City in 2011.

We are extending our sincerest condolences to Dr. Perlas’ family. His death was a great loss to the health and medical community, and to the communities of Lanao del Norte.

MAG deplores this act of violence. We take note that injustice takes place in this country on a daily basis and the “culture of killing” has reached the health sector.

Dr. Perlas’ death is more than another number or name in the long line of medical doctors who risked and ultimately lost their lives in defending people's right to health. His death is but one chapter in the story of many medical doctors who empowered whole communities.

There has been increasing recognition that attacks on and interference with health care violates the right to health. We take note that violence and threats against health workers, along with interference with access to health care, impedes the ability of people from receiving the health services they need. Targeted attacks on health undermine and sometimes destroy health systems and infrastructure, force health workers to flee areas where they are most needed.

We call on the government to ensure that alleged perpetrator on the killing of Dr. Perlas is effectively and promptly investigated and, ensure that families of Dr. Perlas receive adequate compensation. Likewise, we urge the government to strengthen preventive measures to enhance and promote the safety and protection of all medical and health personnel particularly those in remote communities and in situations of armed conflict where majority of DTTB doctors are deployed.


"Edeliza Hernandez, the executive director of the Medical Action Group in the Philippines, an organization that documents cases of torture and provides treatment and rehabilitation, estimated that there were 200 political prisoners in detention centers in the country, and said that most of them had been tortured. “The government has soldiers watch us while we inspect prisoners,” she said."


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"Depriving people of proper health care for whatever reason is tantamount to torture and violates national law and the country’s international obligations, a former health secretary said.

“Health services are always available but not always accessible. Denied health services also a form of torture," Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan said at the launch of the Medical Action Group’s project, “Heal not Harm: Preventing Torture in the Philippine Health Care Setting,” which will disseminate information, document and identify areas of torture and illegal detention in the Philippine health setting.

The project is sponsored by DKA, or the Catholic Children’s Movement of Austria, Tan said, and is also intended to support the DOH’s “Guidelines for the Implementation of Section 19 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 9475,” or the Anti-Torture Law."

Written by Balay Rehabilitation Centre and the Medical Action Group (MAG) with the technical
support of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims



Funded by the European Union under the IRCT’s Data in the Fight against Impunity (DFI) Project.

This report has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The Danish Institute against Torture (DIGNITY) also provided support in the data collection and in other torture prevention and rehabilitation advocacy activities particularly undertaken by Balay Rehabilitation Center. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union nor DIGNITY.

Address Illegal Drug Use through Health Interventions

We, the members of the Medical Action Group (MAG), a health and human rights organization composed of medical doctors, health and allied medical professionals and workers, medical & health sciences students committed to the promotion and protection of the peoples' right to health, welcome the government’s firm resolve to eliminate the widespread use and trafficking of illegal drugs in the country.

As health professionals, we recognize the adverse effects of illegal drug use especially on the youth. We are also fully aware that illegal drug use and trade have destroyed the lives and future of individuals as well as families and communities.

We believe that illegal drug use happens in almost all communities and associated with substantial health and social problems. It is primarily a public health issue with poverty at the root of this serious and widespread phenomenon. MAG stresses the importance of providing treatment and rehabilitation, ensuring access to essential health goods and services, education and decent employment as the necessary conditions to eliminate this drug menace. Rehabilitation is a companion measure to the government’s intensive anti-drug campaign. With the massive number of surrenders, we can’t ignore the need for health interventions. While there are several barriers exist to the provision of health services such as the lack of treatment and rehabilitation centers nationwide due to funding problem and the available services are mainly out-of-pocket, making them unaffordable to the majority in need, concerted efforts should be made. As of now, government-run treatment facilities [1] are found only in the National Capital Region (NCR), Caraga Region and Regions I, IV-A, V, VI, VII, X and XI. All in all, there are only 42 drug rehabilitation centers nationwide that can cater for only 5,000 patients. Of the 42 drug rehabilitation centers, 14 are state-run while the rest are privately operated. The community and family can definitely help through the establishment of community-based programs, drug after care or local support interventions for out-patients.