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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


May 10, 2016

Make Health a Priority

Now that the election is over and the Filipino people have already made a decision for a meaningful change, we, the Medical Action Group, a health and human rights non-governmental organization, call on everyone especially the new administration to make health a priority if elected to office and all the voters to consider health as the defining factor for rebuilding our nation
We urge the new administration to commit itself and demonstrate its political will to ensure the availability and accessibility of quality and affordable health care for each and every Filipino.

Health is fundamental to our personal well-being and ability to become productive members of society. The 1987 Constitution and several international human rights instruments explicitly recognize health as a human right as they provide obligations to the State to protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them. Universal health care is supposed to provide for the protection and promotion of the right to health and the adoption of an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development. This should mean that no one should be denied of adequate health care not even those without the means to pay.
Statement delivered by representative of the Medical Action Group (MAG) and the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)- Philippines on the situation of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CIDT) in the Philippinesduring the NGO briefing, 26th April 2016,  for the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) 57th session review of the Philippines on 27th and 28th April in Geneva, Switzerland.

The report submitted by the Government of the Philippines in relation to the Committee has been reviewed with care. We, the Medical Action Group (MAG) a national health and human rights non-government organization in the Philippines and a member of the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)-Philippines, and the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), note with great concern the following issues:

Prompt and effective medical documentation, and training of medical doctors

The anti-torture mandates detailed medico-legal examinations when there are allegations or other indications of torture and ill-treatment. However, there are insufficient legal safeguards for detainees including but not limited to restricted access to independent doctors and failure to notify detainees of their rights at the time of detention. Even when medical screening take place, they often fail to achieve their goal of identifying indications that torture has taken place. This means that full investigations are often not triggered despite clear indications that torture has taken place.

Furthermore, when there are clear allegations or other indications of torture, the medico-legal examinations carried out do not comply with the standards of the anti torture law nor the Istanbul Protocol.

MAG have observed that doctors often simply undertake a “cursory physical examination” without bothering to ask how an injury may have been sustained by the patient or not including in their report a finding that torture may have been committed. MAG particularly notes that some medical personnel experience pressure from authorities allegedly involved in torture cases. It cited incidents where police officials are present during physical and medical examinations and, in some cases, supervise the work of medical doctors themselves. There are no real safeguards in place to ensure that health personnel are not subjected to police intimidation, are able to examine victims independently of the police, and able to maintain the confidentiality of medical reports.

This Joint Civil Society Report on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in the Philippines, submitted by the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)- Philippines to the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) for its consideration during its deliberation of the report of the Government of the Philippines in its 57th Session on April 18- May 13, 2016.

The Medical Action Group (MAG) as member of the UATC- Philippines, with guidance and support from the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), contributed to the preparation and submission of the report.

To download the report, click the link:


Press release

February 24, 2016

“Make Human Rights the core of your governance.”- HR groups challenge candidates

Human rights groups today challenged all candidates in the 2016 national and local elections to support the Human Rights Agenda as their electoral platform.

Gathering in the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Quezon City, at a media forum in celebration of the 30th anniversary of EDSA, entitled “Human Rights from Aquino to Aquino: EDSA @30: A Civil Society Assessment of Gains, Reverses and Challenges”, about one hundred (100) human rights defenders led by the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) has launched the Human Rights Agenda 2016 in the lead up to the May 2016 elections.

“The Human Rights Agenda will be brought to the attention of all candidates and political parties in this coming May elections. This agenda also presupposes a range of human rights violations in the different branches of government that must be addressed in developing a National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) for the next administration,” Max de Mesa, PAHRA Chairperson said. “Furthermore,” he stressed, “we must progressively struggle for greater freedoms and fuller enjoyment of our rights.”

The changing landscape offers a significant opportunity for ensuring protection and promotion of human rights in the agenda of the next administration.



PLEASE COVER: Note to News Desk/Editors: We would be grateful if you would send reporter and photographer to the following event:


30th EDSA Anniversary #EDSA30


“Human Rights from Aquino to Aquino”


EDSA@30: A Civil Society Assessment of Gains, Reverses and Challenges

Human Rights Agenda 2016 for Election and Beyond

February 24, 2016 (Wednesday)

9:00AM Forum and 11:00AM Press Conference

University of the Philippines, College of Law, Malcolm Hall

Diliman, Quezon City