Tag Archives: www.magph.org

[From the web] Why I support the Reproductive Health Bill? – www.magph.org

Why I support the Reproductive Health Bill?

I made this note as a mother, a wife, a doctor and a Roman Catholic. And I strongly support the Reproductive Health Bill or simply the RH Bill. The provisions in the Reproductive Health Bill would also support the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to improve maternal health and reduce maternal mortality and infant mortality rate.

Seated in the comfort of my office, a patient came in for consultation. As I was asking questions regarding the reasons of her visit, the patient told me that, “Doc. I missed my menses for 6 days, unsa may maayo nga tambal para padugo (what medication should I take to induced menstruation)?”

Having heard this, I asked, did you take a pregnancy test? She answered in the affirmative: “pero Doc. Dili pa man ni bata, dugo pa man ni (but Doc, this is not yet a baby, this is still blood).” Among the reasons of the women want to have an abortion who are in the same situation as my patient are purely economic reasons and some are very close in birth spacing in which the parents are not yet ready for another child.

As a daughter of devout Catholic parents of which my late mother is a Family Life Apostolate lecturer, the idea of being an accomplice in the conduct of abortion is a horrible act to do. I usually tell the women to please let the pregnancy push through then after this we will discuss measures on how to prevent another unwanted pregnancy.

As what former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Esperanza I. Cabral said, 560,000 to 858,000 had illegal abortion. Based on the statistics, it is said that 2,000,000 pregnancies are unwanted and 11 maternal deaths. These glaring numbers could be reduced by 1/3 if when massive information, education and campaign on family planning will be given priority.

The Reproductive Health Bill has been once again the center of debate and public discourse. The RH Bill, as stated in its introduction, guarantees universal access to methods of birth control and maternal care. The two consolidated versions of the RH Bill i.e. House Bill No. 4244 and Senate Bill No. 2865 are now pending in the plenary debate in Congress.

Verses in Luke 11:5-13 says: “Which of your fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?” And if your child asks for an egg, will you give a scorpion? Even you evil people know how to give gifts to your children, how much more then will the father in heaven give Holy Spirit to those who asked him!

It is our obligation, as parents, to provide good nutrition, proper education, a suitable home and genuine love to our children. It is not enough that we will give them life but if should be a life worth living. We might not give them everything they want but we give them the essential things they need. For how you provide them enough food or shelter if your finances are scarce and much more if you have a big family? I hope that I will not be excommunicated if I say that “if the prophet and the Messiah are to live today, they will surely not say “Go to the world and multiply”. Before, there are vast hectares of lands and resources to share but now, there are a lot of people with diminution of resources. Some teachings in my opinion change with time.

Being a mother, with three beautiful daughters aged 9-10 and 12 years old respectively, I welcome the idea that family planning will be thought to school children beginning Grade V to secondary education. This will give them the idea and information of their sexuality and how to preserve it. We, as parents, do not have adequate time to teach our children this because we too are both earning for a living. However, value formation should be given much attention.

Family planning whether natural or artificial has the same goal, that is, not to let the sperm and egg meets so that fertilization will not take place. But being married, one of the most enjoyable things to do is too have a sexually-gratifying relationship without thinking of having an unwanted baby. “A baby is a God-given gift so that he/she therefore should be loved, wanted, cared for without restraint.”

I am therefore supporting the vision which the RH Bill introduces that “every pregnancy be wanted that it would culminate to a healthy baby without compromising the health of the mother.”

Evangeline Revilla, MD
Municipal Health Officer
Maramag, Bukidnon
June 28, 2011

[Press Release] Medical doctors can help to stop torture – Medical Action Group

This June 26, the Medical Action Group (MAG) and its members composed of medical doctors and health professionals are one with the world in commemoration of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

“Even though torture is a crime , torture persists as deep-rooted practice in the country. And majority of the perpetrators go unpunished and most victims are usually from marginalized sectors who lack resources to access lawyer and doctor they are entitled to,” said Edeliza P. Hernandez, Executive Director of MAG that treat torture victims.

26 June is the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. On this day in 1987, the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment came into effect. The Philippines acceded to this Convention on June 18, 1986.

MAG said that effective medical documentation of torture can contribute in reducing impunity and obtaining redress. This in turn can be expected to help prevent torture in the future. Medical doctors can help stop torture by using the Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment commonly known as the Istanbul Protocol.

“Since medical doctors are often among the first persons to come into contact with a torture survivor after the incident. Our medical doctors play an essential role in preventing impunity by effective medical documentation of torture cases like the torture case filed last April 7 at the Regional Trial Court in Kidapawan by Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Region 12 against a police officer and his subordinates after it concluded that they mishandled two suspects in the October 2010 bus bombing in Matalam, North Cotabato,” MAG emphasized.

MAG urges the government to institutionalize the use of the Istanbul Protocol since it has been affirmed by the Supreme Court the value of the Protocol in proving claims of torture. ([G.R. No. 180906, The Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo, October 7, 2008] on the application of the writ of amparo)

The government’s obligation to provide redress for human rights violations like torture cases entails the duty to ensure full reparation and to provide rehabilitation for victims and their relatives.

“In this respect, through a combination of effective implementation of the Anti-Torture Act and the need for increased political will of our government officials are keys to prevent torture in the country,” MAG concluded.

Press release
June 26, 2011

[Featured site] www.magph.org

Since 1982, Medical Action Group (MAG) is known to be a service-provider to victims of human rights violations.

MAG continues to provide a holistic rehabilitative service, which includes but not limited to medical and psychosocial services, to documented torture survivors particularly political detainees and prisoners in the country. This is concurrent to regular jail visitation of MAG staff. The beneficiaries also include immediate relatives of torture victims.

MAG pioneers its work on medical documentation as part of “quick response team” or QRT by documenting alleged cases of torture and providing necessary health and medical services to victims of arbitrary arrest and detention. MAG has been assisting victim/survivor of human rights violations by providing medical records and documentation to the court for prosecution of alleged perpetrators and measures to protect the victim/survivor. It is a well-known fact that persons deprived of their liberty are subjected to torture before they were brought to a judicial authority. Hence the need of necessary protection to the arrested person during this stage is considered to be crucial to prevent torture. Indeed, MAG has developed its credibility from this line of work and formed a vast and reliable network of support groups, organizations, institutions and individuals to provide support to its programs and services.

On victims’ medical and psychological aspects, the interventions are proved to be effective.  The formation of support group system is crucial in establishing network regarding health and social welfare needs of victims as well as their relatives. The support group composed of victims’ relatives, friends and colleagues as well as groups of human rights defenders creates a sense of belonging, provides emotional support, initiates capabilities for self-management when it comes to decision-making in facing life after detention and trial, and makes it possible to vindicate the victims.

Through the combination of documentation, welfare assistance, rehabilitation, networking and lobby work, MAG has been able to influence a number of policies for the protection and defense of human rights in the country and access to justice in particular the campaign for the enactment of the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 9745) and popularization of the Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment otherwise known as the Istanbul Protocol in medical documentation of cases of torture.

The documentation work of MAG has resulted in some extent “fine-tuning” of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Anti-Torture Act i.e. Section 12, Right to Physical, Medical and Psychological Examination by facilitating a dialogue with concerned government agencies about documented cases where persons deprived of their liberty were not afforded prompt and regular access to a lawyer and an independent doctor from the outset of their detention, and victims’ right to request a second medical opinion by a doctor of his/her choice were violated.

MAG in 2009 facilitated the submission of the Joint Civil Society Report on the implementation of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to the UN Committee Against Torture 42nd session, 27 April to 15 May 2009. Followed by Joint Civil Society Follow-up Report on the Progress of the Implementation by the Philippines of the United Nations Committee Against Torture Concluding Observations last August 2010.

MAG is currently disseminating information of the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) Concluding Observations and Recommendations to the Philippine government and also involve in education campaign on popularization of the Anti-Torture Act.

Every year, MAG also conducts social and recreational activities for victims of torture and their relatives as part of their rehabilitation. On the commemoration of the International Day of Support for Victims of Torture and during Christmas season dubbed as “Paskuhan sa Kampo” (Christmas in Jail) are few of these activities where we mobilizes government agencies, civil society organizations, friends, concerned individuals and specialists.

For more information about MAG, please visit