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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


"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.

"The Philippines has been plagued for decades by systemic impunity, evidenced by the current widespread practice of torture and extrajudicial executions in the country. Although in 2009, the country enacted a comprehensive Anti-Torture Act, which established a strong framework for the rehabilitation of torture victims and the documentation of their torture experience, these provisions of the Act have not been implemented. Together with MAG, the IRCT has worked to fight impunity by strengthening civil society and health sector partnerships to implement the Anti-Torture Act and to provide rehabilitation and documentation services to victims."

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Forensic Experts from the IRCT with the participants of the three-day training on Istanbul Protocol