The end of enforced
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10353, or the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act that was signed by President Aquino last December were jointly promulgated by concerned government agencies and private stakeholders at the Department of Justice last February 12, just a month after the law went into effect.
According to the DOJ, the IRR will guide government agencies “on how to promote, protect and fulfill the rights of victims of enforced disappearance”. It also requires the government to maintain an up to date registry of persons under detention and to regularly submit a list of detainees. Furthermore, 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. It also requires government agencies, including the police and military, to immediately reply in writing to a person or group inquiring about a disappeared person.
The landmark Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012 makes the Philippines the first country in Asia to criminalize the practice of enforced and involuntary disappearances and the expeditious promulgation of the IRR assures human rights advocates that our government is serious about this continuing issue that was supposed to end after the dictatorial rule of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. It is a source of embarrassment for the country that the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances that was established in 1980 has recorded 782 cases in the Philippines, of which 621 remain outstanding.
With Republic Act 10353 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations finally in place, we can be optimistic that that the abhorrent practice of government forces being involved in enforced or involuntary disappearances can be prevented from continuing further. If government agencies involved can fully comply with the requirements and ensure that the law is properly enforced, then maybe we can see this continuing issue finally come to an end.*