It was in early 1982 when FLAG lawyer led by Sen. Jose W. Diokno and Dr. Mita Pardo De Tavera who had been in the forefront of the legal battle for the respect of basic human rights , urged physicians to form a medical organization that will assist in documenting evidences of cases of torture to political prisoners.
MAG formed the Philippine Action Concerning Torture (PACT) in 1986 to extend medical and psychological services especially to torture survivors.
It was through the assistance of the United Nations Volunteer Fund for Torture (UNVFT) to deliver more systematically victims and survivors of torture, thus MAG formed the Philippine Action Concerning Torture (PACT) in 1986 to extend medical, dental and psychological services especially to torture survivors. MAG is guided with the Principles of Medical Ethics, Declaration of Tokyo of the World Medical Association and other ethical codes of health care providers.
PACT, one of MAGs major program has been instrumental in raising awareness on torture cases.
MAG is among the non-government organization / civil society organization (NGO’s / CSO’s) in conducting medical documentation cases of victims of torture using the Manual on Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment known as the Istanbul Protocol is the first set of United Nation international guidelines for documentation of torture and its consequences.
Objectives of the PACT:
1. To provide immediate access of health services for the torture survivors including their families;
2. To monitor their health conditions;
3. To provide psychosocial treatment and rehabilitation; and
4. to document incident of torture;
This undertaking reinforced the cooperation and collaboration among the prosecutors and law enforcement officers. With torture as the focal issue, it also aims to forge partnership and close coordination to solve all forms of crime and violence. The training project covered all regions of the country and was conducted in six strategic sites – Manila, Baguio, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga and Davao. A total of 249 prosecutors, PNP CIDG Regional and Provincials Chiefs, PNP Human Rights Affairs Officers, PNP Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO), PNP Crime Laboratory Group (CLG) medico-legal officers, NBI Agents and Investigators and NBI Crime Laboratory Group (CLG) were given knowledge on Human Rights Concepts and Principles, Republic Act 9745 (Anti-Torture Law), Human Rights-Based Policing and Investigation, Physical and Psychological Evidence of Torture, Forensic Investigation of Alleged Torture Cases Using Istanbul Protocol, Interpretation of Medical Evidence and Human Rights-Based Prosecution.
At the end of the project term,
1. Law Enforcement Officers from the PNP and NBI and Public Prosecutors adhere to the standards set and work together for the effective implementation of the Republic Act. No. 9745 or the Anti-Torture Law.
2. Law Enforcement Officers trained have increased the level of awareness and understanding, reinforce their skills and appreciate the value of physical and medical evidence through an increased utilization of the Istanbul Protocol in documenting cases of torture.
3. Prosecutors trained have raise the level of awareness and understanding, reinforce their skills on presentation and appreciation of physical and medical evidence through an increased utilization of the Istanbul Protocol, in providing courts with effective proof of torture allegations by victims and compliant to the Anti-Torture Law.
1. Developed one (1) training module entitled Enhancing the Capacities of Law Enforcement Officers and Prosecutors for Effective Investigation and Increased Prosecution of Torture Cases Using Medical Evidence
2. Jointly conducted and managed (6) six training batches of public prosecutors and ilaw enforcement officers from all regions of the Philippines.
1. Memorandum of Agreement signed on November 15, 2012 at the Department of Justice.
2. The Joint Training of Law Enforcement Officers and Prosecutors
a. January 23-25, 2013 at Goldland Millenia Suites, Pasig City, Metor Manila (This training covered IV-A, IV-B, V, and NCR.
b. February 6-8, 2013 at Hotel Elizabeth, Baguio City (This training covered Regions I, II and CAR.
c. February 13-15, 2013 at Crown Regency Hotel, Cebu City (This training covered Regions VI, VII & VIII).
d. February 20-22, 2013 at Pryce Hotel, Cagayan de Oro (This training covered Regions X, XIII (CARAGA), and ARMM (Lanao del Sure ang Maguindanao)
e. March 6-8, 2013 at Garden Orchid Hotel, Zamboanga City (This training covered IX and ARMM (Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi).
f. March 13-15, 2013 at Apo View Hotel, Davao City (This training covered XI and XII).
“Challenges are that, one, very few doctors do document cases of human rights violations. Second, if they do documentation, there are deficiencies in their documentation, meaning they don’t document diligently. And third, some doctors don’t even participate in this kind of documentation, and they don’t even know that there is already a document called the Istanbul Protocol in the Philippines."-Edeliza Hernandez, Executive Director, MAG
"...linking poverty and torture, and we have evidence from the ground that proves a direct link."- Edeliza Hernandez, Executive Director, MAG, on Human Rights Brief, American University Washington College of Law, Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Volume 19, Issue 4 (Spring 2012 Special Edition), issue on the final Forensic Evidence Against Torture (FEAT) Conference held in Washington, D.C. in February 2012.