Gov’t hopes to end ‘disappearances’

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Families of the disappeared release balloons on Nov. 2, 2012, at the Bantayog ng mga Desaparecido outside Redemptorist Church in Baclaran, Parañaque City. A month after the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act went into effect on Jan. 13, 2013, the government has promulgated the Implementing Rules and Regulations, according to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. PHOTO BY JAYMEE GAMIL

MANILA, Philippines—To stop people simply disappearing into thin air, the government is now required to maintain an up-to-date registry of persons under detention and to regularly submit a list of detainees beginning in six months.

This is one of the requirements of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10353, or the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act, which was signed by President Aquino in December last year and went into effect on Jan. 13, according to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

De Lima led the promulgation last week of the IRR, which was completed in “record” time, or a month after the law went into effect.

The IRR will guide government agencies “on how to promote, protect and fulfill the rights of victims of enforced disappearance,” according to a statement from the Department of Justice.

The 18-page IRR states that detainees have a right to immediately access communication, to medical care and rehabilitation, to restitution of honor and reputation, as well as to seek and be awarded compensation (of not less than P10,000) for the victim and his relatives to the fourth degree.

The rules also require government agencies, including the police and military, to immediately reply in writing to a person or group inquiring about a disappeared person.

State prosecutors and judicial or quasijudicial officers and employees are also required to inform the family if a person brought for inquest is a victim of involuntary disappearance.

The rules also call for the maintenance of an official up-to-date register of all persons under detention or confinement, who shall be held in “officially recognized and controlled places of detention or confinement.”

The register should include the name of the detainee and description and the date, time and location where they were picked up, as well as the authority and reason behind the deprivation of liberty.

The victims’ families, lawyers, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and interested parties shall have access to the registers.

“The registry shall be available to the public (or those persons with legitimate interest),” the IRR states.

The information in the registers shall be reported to CHR regional offices twice a month—within the first five days and in the middle of the month.—Christine O. Avendaño

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  • kolambogan

    So many laws have been broken by the lawmakers including the authorities themselves, I just hope the new law will be implemented to the fullest by all concerned and applied without fear, favor and let-up even to those people who will implement the same if found wanting, or this will just be another law for the books without teeth.

  • ApoLapullapu

    No person should be arrested without warrant unless he is caught about to commit a crime, in the act of committing a crime, or has just committed a crime.  Arrest on mere suspicion without warrant must never be allowed and stiff penalties should be meted against those who violate this rule.

  • bogli_anakdami

    applicable ba yan doon sa mga traposakals, murderers & magnanakaws na tago ng tago sa flipland batas de gung gongs?… tulad ni pinky lacson at ng murderers na magkapatid na nawawala…

    too late na yan, di ba?

  • billy gunner

    well the govt can always gag the media (as always done by the present admin only difference is they pay for media blackout).

  • etomacq

    Pati nga Pondo ng gobyerno at mga voluntary donations ng ibang bansa sa Pablo victims e nag disappear! Ano pa ba bago sa Pinas???

  • disqusted0fu

    How can the government prevent enforced disappearances when the administration is too busy harassing their own opponents?! The newly signed laws by Pnoy are merely displays. They make the house look nice but they don’t have any substance. Laws nowadays are not properly enforced, some are rather used to persecute the administration’s political enemies.

  • buttones

    So, basically as it stands at the moment no up to date records are kept on people who are in detention- [Apart from one- GMA- and her records are] Brilliant, excellent well planned, and now some bright spark has suggested it could be a good idea with the Human Rights watch lot breathing down our necks…. After 67 years it might be a good idea- rock on….OMG we are a slow lot aren’t we,

  • JasonBieber

    Maybe this is a response to the UN’s remark that the PNoy Administration has not done enough for the human rights in Philippines.

    You hope this actually does what it’s supposed to do but sometimes laws and other things being approved only benefit those like PNoy and those under him but others who are against PNoy and those who are poor and less fortunate or basically the common folks don’t really benefit. 

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