Online proceedings for the IRCT General Assembly and 10th International Scientific Symposium - Delivering on the Promise of the Right to Rehabilitation

Time: 14:10 to 15:40 Download Poster

Penetrating transformative spaces to promote the right to rehabilitation in the Philippines

Presenter(s) and co-author(s): Mr. Enesto Anasarias ( BALAY Rehabilitation Center - Phillipines )


The civil society organizations in the Philippines succeeded in having an anti-torture law. It provides, among others, a rehabilitation program for victims and calls for the establishment of a parallel program for convicted perpetrators. The presentation will dwell on how the ‘service-advocacy continuum’ approach of Balay Rehabilitation Center and the United Against Torture Coalition has put torture rehabilitation in the social welfare, psycho-legal, and public health discourse in the Philippines. It will also investigate the factors that led the mandated agencies to acknowledge rehabilitation as a state responsibility and the challenges in bridging the gap between public policy and practice.


The presentation will first describe the contexts and magnitude of torture in the Philippines. It will explain how torture as a form of collective violence is perpetrated and perpetuated as a means to regulate or contain social contradictions. It will illuminate how the use of excessive inappropriate force has shifted from the analytical purview of the narratives of oppression and resistance into the wider discourse of authority-based violence with corruption, prejudice, and psychological embedding as law-maintaining rationalizations.

The strategies of civil society in penetrating political and legal spaces to influence policy actors and critical sectors will be then discussed as well as the the factors behind the paradigm shifts in the state-civil society relations. The 'transformative engagement' framework that guides the analysis and trajectories in CSO advocacy actions will show how the bio-psychosocial model of 'service-advocacy' continuum has made inroads in building partnerships with champions inside the state institutions and the security sector. The role of international lobby will be also mentioned.

Lastly, the salient aspects of the state-rehabilitation program will be featured as well as the results of the 'pilot case studies' initiated by Balay. Insights and lessons will be enumerated and discussed towards the end of the presentation.


The results will highlight the opportunities and potentials for the torture rehabilitation program in the Philippines to flourish. It will also show the inherent weaknesses in the development of the program in the areas of governance structure, competency, resources, and the instilling of victim-centered perspective and rights-based values and attitudes.

Some comparative insights in relation to the right to rehabilitation, access to justice, and impunity and the state-initiated rehabilitation program will be attempted; it will also explore some parallels and divergence with the rehabilitation program of some state-supported centers in Europe and Asia that Balay is in contact with.

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No conflicts to declare.

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