President of the Republic
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
10 February 2010
Dear Madame President,
We are gravely concerned that despite a succession of investigations and reports from the UN bodies concerned with extrajudicial killings and the use of torture; despite the horrendous massacre last November in Maguindanao, perpetrated by a private army approved by your government, the climate of impunity in the Philippines continues.
On 6 February 42 health workers and doctors involved in a training seminar in Morong, Rizal were arrested by the Rizal PNP. We are informed that these arrests were made using bogus warrants, that the arrested health workers and doctors were blindfolded and taken to a military camp, Camp Pinpin, headquarters of the 202 Infantry Brigade of the AFP.
The military has claimed that these health workers and doctors are part of the communist New People’s Army. This follows a pattern familiar to anyone who observes the current wave of human rights abuses by the security forces in the Philippines, in which people are labeled as being communist rebels before being imprisoned, tortured or even killed.
The security forces appear to be expanding their targets of professional groups, perhaps because many of these groups have been critical of corruption and abuse of power by your government. Journalists, lawyers, human rights workers and now health professionals have all been targeted.
We call for:
- the immediate release of all those who have been unlawfully detained
- their safety to be ensured by the Government
- their confiscated property to be restored to them
- an investigation by the Commission on Human Rights Group and independent human rights groups into the conduct of this police raid
- a cessation of this pattern of “red labeling” leading to abuses by the military
Rev Canon Barry Naylor
Urban Canon and Parish Priest of the Abbey and Holy Spirit Team Ministries, Leicester
President – CHRP Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines