VPHCS implements human rights project

The VisayasPrimary Health Care Services, Inc. is currently implementing a project, “Defending human rights, promoting justice, and preserving life in northern Cebu, Philippines.

The six month project which started last December is funded by the Unitarian Universalist Committee (UUSC). The project is implemented in the following areas, namely: Barangays Patao, Lipayran, and Kampinganon in the Municipality of Bantayan, and Barangay San Agustin in the Municipality of Madridejos,

These are areas in northern Cebu which were affected by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 and were beneficiaries of the two previous projects of the VPHCS supported by UUSC. There have been reports that residents of these areas have been witnesses and victims to the anti-campaign and extrajudicial killings of the present administration.

Since mental health is an essential component of health which VPHCS actively stands for, and the climate of fear, helplessness, and violence that permeate through their communities makes people mentally ill, this project is within the vision and mission of VPHCS.

The project aims to capacitate the communities to respond to human rights violations, defend human rights and promote justice.

A training for VPHCS staff and volunteers shall be held on the following topics, namely: a. bill of rights in the Philippine Constitution, b. arrests, detention and extrajudicial killings, c.investigation and documentation of human rights violations, making fact sheets and affidavits, d. presentation of the cases of human rights violations to human rights groups in government and non-government sectors for resolution.

The second objective aims to enhance the capacity of the people’s organizations, community health workers and members of the disaster preparedness committees toidentify human rights violations committed by public officers, persons in authority or their agents, military, police, paramilitary forces and their agents, to investigate and document human rights violations cases, and present these cases to human rights groups in government and non-government agencies for resolution.

A three- day training for 15 leaders of people’s organizations, community health workers and members of disaster preparedness committees shall be conducted on the same topics as the training for the VPHCS staff and volunteers.

One training will be conducted per area or a total of ten trainings for the four project areas. As an outcome, human rights violations are investigated, documented, and presented to government and non-government groups for action.

The third objective is to enhance the capacity of the people’s organizations to respond collectively to human rights violations. This shall be achieved by conducting public gathering in each of the ten communities where at least 50 residents per gathering will discuss openly about the effects of the government’s anti-drug campaign on their lives and the trained leaders will point out human rights violations committed and the gathering shall map out what they shall do in response.

A pose from the CHWs of barangay Patao after the basic health skills training level 2.