By: NUP Melvin O. Ragasa
June 27, 2015, Quezon City. In line with the process excellence objective of Performance Governance System-PNP P.A.T.R.O.L. Plan 2030 which is improving public safety through community oriented and human rights-based policing, the Philippine National Police joined the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC), the Amnesty International Philippines (AIPH), Balay Rehabilitation Center (BALAY), Medical Action Group (MAG), the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND), with the support of different government agencies, in the annual “Basta! Run Against Torture” held on June 27, 2015, with the theme: “KRIMEN ANG TORTURE!”
PSSUPT DENNIS A. SIERVO, newly designated Acting Chief, PNP HRAO, leads the PNP contingent during the BRAT IX
“Just like in the previous B.R.A.T solidarity activities, once again, we have shown that we in government, particularly the police and military, can run shoulder to shoulder with civil society and human rights defenders. Gone were the days of anger and mistrust between the security sector and human rights activists. Today, we have demonstrated that we are now one and united as human rights advocates against any form of torture and cruelty”- such was the encompassing message of PDDG LEONARDO A. ESPINA, OIC, PNP, in a speech read for him by his representative PSSUPT DENNIS A. SIERVO, newly designated Acting Chief of the PNP Human Rights Affairs Office, as the global community commemorated the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
Now on its 9th year, BRAT focused on addressing the need to implement RA No. 9745 in its fullest extent centering on accountability and rehabilitation as the important aspects of the law, the need to focus on the adoption of a National Committee for the Prevention of Torture in the country to prevent acts of torture in places where persons are deprived of their liberty, and the need for solidarity and cooperation from all stakeholders in the fight against torture to finally put an end to the use of such abhorrent acts.
Participants assembled in front of the Commission on Human Rights on the 27th of June, 2015 from 6:30 am to 7:00 AM. Thereafter, a 15-minute program was held in front of the CHR. At exactly 7:15 AM, the solidarity run commenced and ended at the Liwasang Aurora inside the Quezon City Memorial Circle (QCMC).
A short program was again conducted at the main stage of QCMC from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM, wherein solidarity messages were given by the respective heads of the different government agencies. HON. JOSE LUIS MARTIN C. GASCON, newly designated Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights was also invited to give a message.
PSSUPT SIERVO, also a running enthusiast, espoused during the program that all PNP personnel raise their voices in unity and express solidarity with the Commission on Human Rights, other government agencies, and the Filipino people.
“This activity is more than just breaking sweat or hitting the pavement. It is a demonstration of our vision to end impunity and to fight all forms of torture. It is an expression of our desire, will, and commitment to respect, protect, and fulfill the rights of our people as a way of Life in the PNP”, he explained further.
Meanwhile, part of the program underscored the identification of the different acts that constitute torture and HRVs which were printed in a tarpaulin, wherein the heads of concerned organizations and different sectors of the government placed an “X” sign on those acts (using an spray paint), as a manifestation that all of us condemn any act of cruelty.
This also manifests the solidarity and cooperation of all stakeholders in the fight against torture so that the use of such abhorrent acts will be finally put to an end.
BRAT was a brainchild of Fr. Robert Reyes and the steering Committee members of the UATC. Said event was then supported by the members and secretariat of the Committees on Justice and Human Rights with fulfilled promises of passing the anti-torture bill in the House of Representatives.