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PIA Press Release

Leyte hails successful launching of KAUGOP quick reaction team vs extra-legal killings

Tacloban City (May 1) -- Hosted by the Archdiocese of Palo under Archbishop Jose S. Palma, in partnership with the Ateneo Human Rights Center and the Asia Foundation, the Leyte Multi-Sectoral Quick Reaction Team on Extra-legal Killings and Enforced Disappearances was successfully launched on April 29 at the St. John the Evangelist School of Theology in Palo, Leyte.

The Multi Sectoral Quick Reaction Team was conceived in order to address Extra-legal killings and Enforced Disappearances at the local level through the establishment of a mechanism involving government agencies and civil society groups by way of coordination and mutual cooperation to facilitate immediate response to cases of ELKs and EDs.

The launching program commenced with a welcome address of Msgr. Bernardo Pantin, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Palo, followed by the overview of the MSQRT which was presented by Atty. Carlos Medina, Executive Director of the Ateneo Human Rights Center.

Messages of commitment were delivered by Most Reverend Jose S. Palma, Archbishop of Palo; Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla; Commission on Human Rights Director Paquito Nacino; the representative of the Department of Social Welfare and Development; and Atty. Damcelle Torres, Program Officer of the Asia Foundation.

Also present to give their message of commitment were PCSupt Rey Laņada, Police Region 8 Director; Col. Roberto Capulong, commanding officer of the 19th Infantry Brigade, 8th Infantry Division; Sister Rosario Obiniana, president of the Women Religious Association of the Archdiocese of Palo; and Mr. Noel Regulacion, representative of KAISAHAN.

The highlight of the launching activity is the signing of the MSQRT Memorandum of Understanding.

Prior to the launching activity, a training workshop on extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances has been scheduled to be conducted from April 28 to 29.

The training is intended to evoke awareness among partners on the local situation and principles of human rights in relation to peace and development; to develop among the participants an understanding of the remedies and challenges in addressing extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances as in providing a venue where relatives of victims and the general public can report cases involving extra legal killings and enforced disappearances, seek assistance, request immediate investigation, get legal advice, request protection or seek psychosocial services.

Finally, it seeks to raise public awareness and understanding of the phenomena of Extra-Legal Killings and Enforced disappearances in order to deter, minimize or prevent future incidents. (PIA 8) [top]

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