BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance reinforcing Resolution No. 371, series of 2011 entitled “Urging all Barangays in the City of Baguio to Establish and Rationalize a Barangay Human Rights Action Center and to Train a Barangay Human Rights Action Officer (BHRAO” by directing all barangay officials in the city to create or operationalize the Barangay Human Rights Action Center (BAHRAC) with functional barangay human rights action officer in their barangays as mandated by law and providing the fund of P1,28 million to be taken from the savings of the city’s 2018 annual budget.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Faustino A. Olowan stated the purpose of the local legislative measure is to establish an effective institutional mechanism for every barangay which receives and refers complaints to human rights violations including the monitoring and to further realize the intention of Philippine human rights laws and other international agreements on human rights.
The ordinance mandated the creation of an Oversight Committee composed of the City Mayor as chairperson, the chairperson of the city Council Committee on Laws, Human Rights and Justice as vice chairperson with the Head of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) office in Baguio city, the chairpersons of the Committees on Public Protection, Safety and Peace and Order and Barangay Affairs as members.
The Oversight Committee will be tasked to periodically oversee the implementation of the measure.
Olowan proposed that the amount of P1.28 million will be appropriated and equally divided among the city’s 128 barangays for the initial implementation of the pertinent provisions of the measure, thereafter, such sums as may be necessary for the continued implementation of the ordinance shall be included in the annual budget of the local government.
Republic Act (RA) No. 9745 otherwise known as An Act Penalizing Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment and Prescribing Penalties Therefore was enacted to protect Filipinos from supposed human rights abuses among others.
Among the primary purposes of the law is to value the dignity of every human person and guarantee full respect for human rights, to ensure that the human rights of all persons, including suspects and detainees and prisoners are respected at all times and that no person shall be placed under investigation or held in custody of any person in authority or agent of a person in authority shall be subjected to physical, psychological or mental harm force, violence, threat or intimidation or any act that impairs his or her free will or in any manner demeans or degrades human dignity, to ensure that secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado or other similar forms of detention, where torture may be carried out with impunity are prohibited and to fully adhere to the principles and standards on the absolute condemnation and prohibition of torture as provided for in the 1987 Constitution, various international instruments to which the Philippines is a party and all other relevant international human rights instruments to which the Philippines is a signatory.
By Dexter A. See