Monday, October 18, 2010

An open letter to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III

Dear President Aquino,

We, health professionals, hospital workers, friends and relatives of the forty three health workers who were illegally arrested on February 6, 2010 in Morong, Rizal and are currently detained in Camp Bagong Diwa appeal to you to immediately release our colleagues and relatives. Two doctors, a nurse and two midwives together with 38 community health workers were undergoing a First Responders’ Health training when they were arrested by the military through the use of a defective search warrant. They were held incommunicado for several days, tortured and deprived of their right to counsel. They were falsely accused of undergoing a “bomb-making” training.

The “Morong 43” are dedicated health volunteers who were always at the forefront of community-based health care. They provided much-needed health services in barangays where government services were noticeably lacking. They were in the frontline of community services including that of last years’ typhoon Ondoy. They were armed not with rifles and ammunitions but with stethoscopes, first-aid kits, and a burning desire to serve the poor.

The arrest of the 43 puts to risks health professionals and volunteer community health workers who serve the poor especially in far-flung areas of the country. For health professionals who may be considering the option of public service in the countryside, the incident is terrifying. For it is not only material comfort that one will be giving up when one chooses the selfless path of service to the poor, but possibly one’s life, as well.

We are one with international and local organizations coming from various sectors in the call for an end to the persecution of the 43 health workers and to continue the struggle for the people’s right to health.

Mr. President, we urge you to make true of your promise of genuine change.


Esperanza I. Cabral, M.D., * Alberto Romualdez M.D. (Former DOH Secretary)*Antonio S.Lopez, M.D. M.P.H., (Former Undersecretary, DOH) *Jaime Z. Galvez-Tan, M.D. M.P.H., (Professor UP College of Medicine) * Reynaldo Lesaca, Jr., M.D.( Medical Consultant, NKTI/Chairperson Emeritus of HEAD) * Frank Arcellana, M.D. (Surgeon , Founding Chairperson, Health Alliance for Democracy) * Teresita Irigo-Barcelo, RN, Ph.D. [National Pres, Philippine Nurses’ Association] * Leah Primitiva S. Paquiz, R.N. (Pres’ Ang Nars) * Jose C. Gonzales, M.D.( Director, PGH) * Orlino O. Talens, M.D.( Vice Chancellor for Administration, UP-Manila) * Dean Alberto Roxas, M.D. (College of Medicine, UP-Mla) * Dean Fernando Sanchez Sr. M.D. (Executive Director, APMC) * Jennifer Nailes, M.D. (Dept. Head, Family and Community Medicine, UERMMMC) * Dean Vicente O. Medina III, D.D.M. (College of Dentistry, UP-Mla) * Dean Nilo Capangpangan (College of Nursing, PLM) * Dean Gisella D. Luna, R.N. (Trinity University of Asia, St. Lukes College of Nursing) * John Arnel Amata, M.D. (Pres, Pamantasan Medical Graduates Association, Inc.) * Ramon Pedro Paterno, M.D. (UP Manila National Institutes of Health) * Armando C. Crisostomo, M.D. (Consultant, Department of Surgery, PGH) * Edelina P. dela Paz, M.D. (Executive Director, Health Action Information Network) * Romeo Quijano, M.D.( Chairperson, Health Action for Human Rights, Faculty, UP-PGH) * Eleanor M. Nolasco, R.N. (NARS ng Bayan) * Joseph Carabeo, M.D. (Pres., Community Medicine Practitioners’ & Advocates Association) * Ruth A. Castro (Pres, Association of Philippine School of Midwifery) * Emma S. Manuel, R.R.T.( National Pres, Alliance of Health Workers) * Eleanor A.Jara, M.D. (Executive Director, Council for Health & Development) * Julie Caguiat, M.D. (Community Medicine Development Foundation, Inc.) * Darby Santiago, M.D. (Chairperson, HEAD) * Benjamin Santos [Pres., All U.P. Workers’ Union Manila )] * Ezra M. Valido (Chairperson, Pangkalusugang Lingkod Bayan, UP Manila) * Jamie Lee J. Legaspi (PhiloMedicaScientia, PLM College of Medicine) * Gerard Tristan dela Cuesta (Chairperson, Health Students’ Action) * Maricris Tria (President, Central Student Council, Trinity Univiversity of Asia) * Antonio Catembong, M.D. (AHW - Isabela ) * Reynald F. Narbarte, M.D. (AHW - Quirino Province) * Sylvia C. dela Paz, M.D.,* Christine G. Pastoral, M.D. (MHO, Gregoria del Pilar, Ilocos Sur) * Joey V. Sabularce, M.D. (MHO, Patnanungan, Quezon) * Jay Pee Z. Cruz, M.D.( MHO, San Jose Romblon) * Pinky A. De Leon, M.D.( MHO, Magsaysay, Palawan) * Mary Ruth S. Politico, M.D.( MHO, Santa Maria, Romblon) * Venjune Tansiongco, M.D. (MHO, Alcantara, Romblon) * Frances Michelle G. Obias, M.D. (MHO, San Pascual, Masbate ) * Jeffrey James B. Motos, M.D.( MHO, Batuan, Masbate) * Cesarey B. Mestidio, M.D. (MHO, Bingawan, Ilo-ilo) * Liza Marie P. Bejemino, M.D. (San Jose, Negros Oriental) * Deborrah G. Liao (MHO, Gamay, Northern Samar) * Marcos M. Genebago, M.D. (MHO, Biri, Northern Samar) * Zaida K. Aminulla, M.D. (Sergio Osmena, Zamboanga del Norte) * Ceferino A. Lustre, M.D. (MHO, La Libertad, Zamboanga del Norte) * Rommel Bernabe Jr. M.D. (MHO, Binuangan, Misamis Oriental) * Angelo C. De Guzman, M.D. (MHO, San Jose, Dinagat Island) * Annie Lorraine C. Estrope, M.D. (MHO, Madrid, Surigao del Sur) * Quennie Dyan C. Raagas,M.D. (MHO, Claver, Surigao del Norte) * James A. Salisi, M.D. (MHO, Loreto , Dinagat Island) * Nickson E. Austria, M.D. (MHO, Dolores, Abra) * Criston Van C. Manasan, M.D. (MHO, Malibcong, Abra) * Sittie Aneza Camille A. Maglangit, M.D. (MHO, Montawal, Maguindanao) * Rae Roche Buna, M.D. (MHO, Villareal, Samar) * Mae L. Rollan, M.D. (MHO, Concepcion, Misamis Occidental) * Jinky G. Abarca, M.D. (MHO, Sison, Surigao del Norte) * Chriselle Icaringal, M.D. (MHO,General Luna, Surigao del Norte) * Maria Pura Rodriguez, M.D. (MHO, San Isidro, Surigao del Norte) * Jessie John Segundera, M.D. (MHO, San Benito, Surigao del Norte) * Paolo Medina, M.D. (MHO, Quezon, Quezon) * Juan Antonio Perez III, M.D. (MPH, Klinika sa Bantayog) * Charles Rainer Marquez, M.D. (EAMC) * Rizalito C. Ocampo, M.D. (De Los Santos-STI Medical Center) * Conor Jan R. Montes, M.D. (UERM) * Geneve Rivera, M.D. (HEAD Sec-Gen) * Gene Nisperos, M.D. (VC, HEAD) * Ronaldo A. Paraan. M.D., * Ulysses Dorotheo, M.D. (FPAO) * Ma. Concepcion C. Sison, M.D., * Elizabeth Paterno M.D., * Anthony Cordero, M.D., * Romeo O. Abiog, M.D. (FPARM, FPSA) * Andrew Bautista, M.D. (D.P.B., R.M.) * Ma. Therese Tolentino, M.D. (Pedia) * Robert Toentino, M.D. (Executive, Director Medical Mission) * Vencer R. Montes, D.M.D., * Gabriely Corpuz, D.M.D., * Gay B. Manodon, D.M.D. (St. Luke’s Medical Center) * Lindsay Dei R. Medina, D.M.D., * Christian Alexis R. Montes, P.T.R.P., * Jossel I. Ebesate, R.N. (Chief Nurse, PGH) * Virginia C. Ducusin, R.N. (Chief Nurse,, PGH) * Eden Bayrante, R.N. (Chief Nurse, Department of Out Patient Service, PGH) * Rita B. Sevilla, R.N. (Chief Nurse, Central Intensive Care Unit, PGH) * Ma. Cecilia E. Palomeno, R.N. (Head Nurse, Ward 7, PGH) * Nilo Encarnacion, Jr., R.N.* Yolanda Trapani, R.N. (Head Nurse, PGH) * Mary Grace Garcia, M.S., R.N. * Nilda Inciong, R.N. * Crystal J. Leynes, R.N. * Sean Herbert Velchez, R.N. (Philippine Orthopedic Center) * Gerardo P. Andamo, R.N.,* Ulysses P. Arcilla, R.N. (San Lazaro Hospital) * Juliet T. Sayo, R.N. (San Lazaro Hospital) * Eric Salenga (Faculty, College of Pharmacy, UP-Manila) * Angelita Galban (Faculty, College of Dentistry, UP-Manila) * Elenita L. Jamison, R.M. (Pres., Nursing Attendant Association, PGH) * Fredirick Ladera [Pres., Utility Workers’ Association (UWA) * PGH] * Guillermina Panizales (Chief Librarian, UP-Manila) * Mikhail Lew Ver (Superior Exemplar, Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity, College of Medicine, UP) * Ada Yao (Sister Superior Exemplar, Phi Lambda Delta Sorority, College of Medicine UP) * Robert Mendoza (P.R.O, AlHW) * Remedios Maltu (Pres. San Lazaro Hospital EA-AHW) * Remedios Ysmael (Pres., Tondo Medical Center EA-AHW) * Wilfred Mallari (Pres., National Orthopedic Hospital Workers Union) *

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Justice for the 43!