MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) announced on Wednesday, February 5, that it will sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the implementation of a law that criminalizes the practice of “enforced or involuntary disappearance.”
Republic Act 10350 or the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012 is a domestic human rights instrument similar to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances. With this landmark law, the Philippines is the first Asian country to criminalize enforced disappearances.
The MOA will outline the roles and responsibilities of the 4 agencies. It will formalize a commitment that “victims of enforced or involuntary disappearance and their immediate relatives within the fourth civil degree of consaguinity or affinity are entitled to monetary compensation, rehabilitation and restitution of honor and reputation."
Free medical care and rehabilitation will also be provided for victims and families of enforced disappearances.
The MOA requires CHR to issue a resolution that will direct the concerned agencies to “immediately cause the expunging of a derogatory record or the sealing of these records and to rectify derogatory statements made by institutions on a victim’s person, personal circumstances, status and/or organizational affiliation.”
CHR will also be authorized to require concerned institutions to file a Return on the Order, spcifying the response of such agencies to the directive.
Also known as ‘Desaperacidos Law,” R.A. 10350 defines enforced disappearance as “the arrest, detention, abduction, or any other form of deprivation of liberty committed by government authorities or by persons or groups of persons acting with authorization, support or acquiescence of such persons in authority, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which places such person outside the protection of the law.”