By Marya Salamat
MANILA — After 18 years of working as nurse at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRMMC), a public hospital in Manila, Gary Liberal, 43, is now head nurse at its operating room. With his experience and good record, as the JRMMC itself attested to last Feb. 10, he has had ample opportunities to work abroad and earn a bigger salary. But he chose not to take any of them.
“For Gary, the need to serve his fellow Filipinos here has prevailed,” Emma Manuel, president of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW), told Bulatlat.
Gary is also union president of the health workers and employees at JRMMC, as well as auditor of the progressive nationwide Alliance of Health Workers (AHW). His colleagues at the JRMMC and fellow union leaders from other public hospitals praised his honest, capable services as a nurse and his calm, persevering leadership in public health workers’ campaigns.
Apart from being their much-loved colleague, Gary is also a board member of the organization of nurses in operating rooms, said John Paul Gubaton, another nurse from JRMMC and auditor of their employees’ union.
Last Feb. 5, after five days of straight duty, Gary ditched a comfortable Friday night’s rest in his own home to travel for more than three hours to Morong, Rizal, the site of an intensive health training for community health workers sponsored by the Council for Health and Development (CHD) and COMMED. In that training, he had a topic to deliver, called “Basic Life Support.”
Although Gary was scheduled to deliver his topic on Saturday, Feb 6, he requested the sponsors of the training to let him sleep at the venue Friday night so he would not be late the next day.
When he got down and saw soldiers prowling the resort of Dr. Melecia Velmonte that morning of Feb 6, he thought they were just passing by en route to a fiesta. But the military handcuffed him and the rest of the 42 others with him — resource persons like him, participants in the training, the staff and even the driver of the CHD.
Some 300 soldiers herded and brought them blindfolded to what turned out to be Camp Capinpin, a military camp where the 2nd Infantry Division of the army is based. There, they were interrogated, kept handcuffed and blindfolded for 36 hours and held incommunicado for days until furious public reaction forced the military to open their camp for brief periods to relatives of the detainees and to their lawyers.
The nurse who has been working for 18 years at the JRMMC with good service record as attested to by the JRMMC itself suddenly became a member of the New People’s Army (NPA), according to the military. He was there, the military alleged, not to train health workers how to save lives but how to make bombs.
At first, Gary and the 42 other health workers were accused of being members of the NPA’s military commission in training to make explosives. They were later charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives. When the charges didn’t fly, the military admitted they were health workers, indeed, but still accused them of working under the NPA’s “health bureau,” which the military said is the rebels’ version of the Department of Health.
It has been two weeks now since they were arrested and detained. “This is two weeks that Gary Liberal and the other detained health workers could have spent in service to the health needs of our people,” Manuel said.
“Our Operating Room Head Nurse and Union President Gary Liberal together with others have suffered long enough for two weeks just because they are serving the less fortunate,” said Gubaton, his colleague at JRMMC. Gary is currently on an “indefinite leave” from the JRMMC.
Monday, February 22, 2010
- Inescapable Conclusion
- The Doctor is IN (JAIL)
- Letter from Maquila Solidarity Network
- Joint Statement by Japanese NGOs concerning Human ...
- On Republic Act 7438
- Dr. Carolyn V. Enriquez, Letter of Support
- Lawyer bares sexual harassment of ‘Morong 43’ wome...
- Continuous harassment of health workers in other p...
- CHD: AFP is a shameless institution
- Reporter's Notebook: Morong 43
- Human Rights Advocates Deliver Petitions and Praye...
- Reynaldo Macabenta: A Loving Father, Devoted Co-Wo...
- Gary Liberal: Dedicated Head Nurse, Committed Unio...
- Health workers detained in the Philippines
- STATEMENT on the Morong 43 by the Concerned Health...
- Morong 43
- Madrigal slams AFP for giving awards to ‘Morong 43...
- HEALS condemn abduction of 43 Health Workers
- Charges against ‘Morong 43’ are outrageous
- FREE THE 43 HEALTH WORKERS!
- Position paper from Registered Nurses Dr. Jose Rei...
- Speech of Necta Montes condemning the illegal arre...
- PERMANENT PEOPLES’ TRIBUNAL appeal for the release...
- EU President's sister condemns jailing of 43 healt...
- STATEMENT: Nicanor Perlas and PANGMASA on Morong 4...
- APPEAL FOR DONATIONS
- ‘Morong 43’ wins first round battle
- 15 Feb News
- Laguna doctors troubled by arrest of ‘Morong 43’
- TO THE COURT OF APPEALS AGAIN
- CHRP Letter to Arroyo on Morong 43
- From Caritas New Zealand
- LET'S RAISE OUR NUMBERS FROM the BLOGESPEHERE TO ...
- COMMUNITY NURSES' GROUP demands release of illegal...
- Friends of artist Neil Doloricon call for the rele...
- This is Lydia Obera.
- LATEST ON THE 43
- Free ANGELA DOLORICON! FREE THE 43 HEALTH WORKERS
- Nurses call for the release of the 43 health worke...
- People's Health Movement: FREE THE 43 HEALTHWORKER...
- Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, Midwife
- Dr. Merry Mia -Clamor
- Dr. Alexis Montes
- RELATIVES on the 43 HEALTH WORKERS: they are conti...
- RP, most dangerous place for health workers too? -...
- Free the 43 Health Workers!
- The United Church of Canada Calls for the Immediat...
- The People’s Health Movement
- Statement of Support for the 43 Health Workers ill...
- Immediately Free the Victims! -CPA
- ILPS condemns arrest, torture, and indignities, de...
- Statement of Health, Education and Services for th...
- Taiwan Committee for Philippine Concerns (TCPC)
- Migrant Workers from South Korea calls for the rel...
- New Zealanders Denounce Abduction of 43 Doctors, H...
- Cebu-based CHD member organization calls for the r...
- Child rights advocates call for the release of Dr....
- ▼ Feb (58)
- QC-RTC Branch 226 pinagpaliban ang kaso ng Morong 43 vs GMA
- Pagdinig ng QC-RTC Branch 226 sa kaso ng Morong 43 muling ipinagpaliban
- Court hears P15M damage suit filed by Morong 43 vs Arroyo, former top military, police officials
- President slammed over inaction in ‘Morong 43’ case
- Joker Arroyo: Releasing ‘Morong 43’ simple justice
- DoJ chief gives Aquino revised memo on 'Morong 43'
- Palace vows to heed call of Morong 43 -- mb.com.ph
- 'Morong 43' on hunger strike to ask for release -- GMA News.tv
- 'Morong 43' go on hunger strike -- Asian Correspondent
- 'Morong 43' holds hunger strike -- Sun Star Manila
- ‘Morong 43’ goes on hunger strike -- ATN
- 'Morong 43' on hunger strike to ask for release
- Morong 43 go on hunger strike -- ABS CBN News
- AMID ‘MUTINEERS’ IMPENDING RELEASE Aquino asked: What about the Morong 43? -- Inquirer.net
- Morong 43 report under review -- Palace legal team