Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Free the 43 Health Workers!

Telefax No: 711-08-05;
E-mail address:


For more information, please contact:

Emma Manuel
National President

Robert Mendoza
Press Relations Officer

We, health workers from different hospitals, clinics and institutions nationwide, strongly condemn the illegal arrest of 43 health workers in Morong, Rizal. We are angered by the inhumane treatment and torture of our fellow health workers at the hands of the supposed “protectors” of the Filipino people. We hold the military and police men under their commander¬in-chief Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo responsible for this open brutality against the health workers who are serving the Filipino people.
The 43 health workers were arrested under a false warrant during a health training on February 6, at 7:00 am by a composite team of 300 military and police men from the Philippine Army 2nd Infantry Division and Rizal Philippine National Police headed by Col. Aurelio Baladad and Supt. Marion Balonglong. They were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives. They were held incommunicado for more than 48 hours and bore signs of torture.

Two of the health workers are community doctors who are serving poor patients through medical missions and regular clinics. Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor and Dr. Alex Montes treated hundreds of patients in Rizal, Bulacan, and Metro Manila communities affected by Typhoons Ondoy & Pepeng last year. The doctors are members and staff of Council for Health & Development and Community Medicine Development Foundation that spearheaded the National Health Training.

Gary Liberal is a head nurse of the Operating Room of Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRRMMC) in Manila. He is the National Auditor of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW), the Union President of JRRMMC Employees Union, and is a board member of Operating Room Nurses Association of the Philippines (ORNAP). He has served as a nurse in JRRMMC for almost 18 years and was one of the instructors during the health training.

Lydia Obera, one of the 43 health workers, is a teacher by profession, and is a community health worker for more than 20 years serving in different non-government health institutions. She is a staff of the national office of AHW.
Drs. Merry and Alex, Gary and Lydia, together with others shared their knowledge, skills, and time to the community health workers, in response to the increasing need for trained health personnel in the countrysides. The 43 health workers are serving the most deprived and far-flung communities, long time neglected by the Philippine government.

With this illegal arrest & detention, the GMA government through its most rabid military and police officers are attacking not only the health workers but the poor Filipino people sick and dying in poor communities. They are depriving again and again the poor Filipino majority of the most needed services provided by these health workers. In time, they will face the wrath of the united Filipino people.
We call on all service-oriented, freedom-loving people in the Philippines and other countries to make a stand, resist the attack against the health workers, against our health and our rights.

Free the 43 health workers now!

Hold the GMA government accountable to these human rights violations!

Continue the struggle for better health for the Filipino people!

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Justice for the 43!