Vancouver, B.C. (June 29) -- On the eve of the inauguration of the 15th Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, the Alliance for People's Health, a member organization of the international League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS), organized an information picket for the 43 detained health workers, collectively known as the “Morong 43,” in front of the Philippine Consulate in Vancouver .
Supporters and friends at the picket were from the Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPS-HR), a fellow ILPS member organization, the Philippine-based Ecumenical Development Forum/KASIMBAYAN, the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers Association (VESTA) and the Union of Fruit and Commercial Workers (UFCW). The speakers from the Alliance for People’s Health – Aiyanas Ormond, Martha Roberts and David Hendry-- talked about the health crisis in the Philippines and their medical missions and immersion in the Philippines where they met a couple of the health workers who are now detained. Martha Roberts was overpowered by her emotions as she spoke of the friendship and the commitment to render health care by the 43 health workers. Norma Dollaga, the Secretary General of the KASIMBAYAN led the crowd in the chanting for the 43 -- “Free, free, free the 43! Free, free, free the 43! No justice, no peace, Free the 43!”-- and highlighted the need for international solidarity. Erie from the Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights called on the new President to order the release of the 43 health workers and all political prisoners, including putting an end to government’s counter-insurgency plan which has created the evil climate of impunity and highlighted the latest six extrajudicial killings at the tail end of the notorious Arroyo regime.
The “Morong 43” were illegally arrested last February 2010, tortured and deprived of their political and civil rights. The “Morong 43,”which includes 2 doctors, a nurse, a midwife and 39 community health workers, continue to be detained unjustly by the military and the government. There are two pregnant women in the group; one of the community health workers had seizures in detention and had to be rushed to the hospital. The picket organizers and supporters ask the new Philippine President Aquino to immediately release the detainees to their families so they can continue to render the much needed medical service to the poor and impoverished in their communities.
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