+63 2 273 4609


+63 928 905 5920

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



December 10, 2014
Press release

Human rights groups urge the government to lead the way in the protection of human rights defenders in the ASEAN region 

The Medical Action Group (MAG) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) urge the government to lead the way in the protection and defense of human rights defenders in the ASEAN region through enactment of a law on the protection of human rights defenders and conduct a comprehensive legislative audit in order to review and repeal laws which criminalize their work.

In a statement, “the Philippines should ensure that the leadership it shows in terms of promotion of human rights in the ASEAN is reflected in our national laws,” MAG and TFDP said.

Based on documentation of the MAG and TFDP, it is increasingly well documented that the use of laws to impede the activities of human rights defenders and to criminalize them is alarming.

“We have faced significant challenges on the field that in many cases, complaints by human rights defenders about alleged violations of their rights are not investigated or are dismissed without justification. For instance, the case of Antonio L. Tolentino, human rights defender and barangay chairperson of Barangay Hacienda Dolores in Porac, Pampanga, he is in detention since April this year due to lack of competent investigation into the charges filed by the private security agency employed by ,”  Edeliza P. Hernandez, MAG Executive Director said.

Human Rights Day 2014: Psychosocial Support in focus with launch of Report

To mark this year’s Human Rights Day, the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) together with the Medical Action Group (MAG) has launched the report ‘In Pursuit of Justice’, casting a light on psychosocial support for victims of torture in legal proceedings.

Psychosocial Support for victims of torture in the pursuit of justice is a key area within rehabilitation.

Fear of reprisals and re-traumatisation, no belief in the justice system and fear of stigmatisation from community or family members are some of the factors dissuading victims of torture from participating in legal proceedings against their perpetrators.

In addition, a trial is often an emotionally painful process during which the torture victim will require constant support from health and legal professionals to prevent re-traumatisation.

However, despite the potentially positive impact, the issue currently receives little attention. In general there is a lack of awareness of the degree to which torture can affect a victim’s testimony and therefore the impact that participation in legal proceedings can have on the victim’s psychological well-being.

By offering victims of torture specialised psychosocial support and access to justice programmes, centres can help them overcome the psychological burden of a trial, and also enhance the therapeutic impact of justice on the individual’s rehabilitation.

“On this Human Rights Day, the IRCT puts the spotlight on a critical yet neglected area within the fight against impunity and rehabilitation itself. The positive effects of psychosocial support to victims of torture in legal proceedings and to the fight against impunity cannot be ignored,” said Victor Madrigal-Borloz, IRCT Secretary-General.

The report is the result of a fruitful collaboration between our organisation and the IRCT, with the valuable contribution of torture victims and the professionals working to support them.

The report is now available for download at

A discussion in the light of World Mental Health Day, 10 October 2014


The Medical Action Group (MAG) has recently received a query from AB Communication undergraduate students of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) who are conducting a study on the health condition of mentally-ill inmates in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) as part of their academic requirements. An SMS and later a formal letter was sent and addressed to Dr. Amy Ng Abcede, Head of the Documentation and Services Program.

To make our response institutional, the MAG staff members have discussed and deliberated the issue and come up with the following insights.

We are posting this response in order to further encourage a discourse on the issue and clearly shape up MAG’s official position.


“Do mentally ill patients share the same rights and limitations as regular prisoners? Is it humane to keep them imprisoned if they are in a mentally delicate condition?”

This video is about the situation of human rights defenders in the Philippines and to raise awareness of the public about the Action, "Use of Evidence Based Approach to Human Rights Documentation and Monitoring for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and their Families, and in the Fight Against Impunity" or "HRDs Protection" European Union (EU) project.

This video highlights ongoing incidence of threats and reprisals on human rights defenders, many of which are allegedly perpetrated by State security forces and non-state actors, together with the impunity and lack of accountability in most cases, explicitly evidences the need for a stronger and more coordinated response from the government, the United Nations and other international human rights bodies.


Kindly cite or acknowledge the source of information if you intend to use this video in your human rights work. Information contained in this video may be freely quoted or reprinted, provided credit is given to the Medical Action Group (MAG) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP).

Watch the video through this link:

The writing of this publication entitled "Torture impunity, An analysis of the implementation of the Anti-Torture Law in the Philippines" was in collaboration with members of the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)- Philippines led by Amnesty International Philippines, Balay Rehabilitation Center, Medical Action Group (MAG) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) in cooperation with the University of the Philippines Institute of Human Rights (UP IHR), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT) or World Organisation Against Torture.

The report gives an overview of the challenges faced by human rights organizations and survivors of torture and their relatives, in seeking redress for acts of torture and ill treatment in the Philippines since the enactment of the Republic Act (RA) No. 9745 otherwise known as the Anti-Torture Act in
November 2009.

This report draws together the key results that came out of the series of workshops and a follow-up mission organized by its authors in June and July 2013 to assess the implementation of the Anti- Torture Law.

In particular, last section of the report, outlines the next steps that the UATC- Philippines and PAHRA will be working on in relation to this key area of work, and the key recommendations to the Oversight Committee of the Anti-Torture Law.

Information contained in this publication may be freely quoted or reprinted, provided credit is given and a copy of the publication containing the reprinted material is sent to the UATC- Philippines secretariat.

The activities related to writing of this report has been undertaken with support of DKA Austria. 

This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union and the Oak Foundation. Its content is the sole responsibility of its authors can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union or the Oak Foundation.