Thursday, November 11, 2010


National Member Organization of Asian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) International
and International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA)

November 9, 2010

H.E. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III
Republic of the Philippines

Dear President Aquino,

Last November 6, 2010, members of the Asian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA)-Philippines, an association of socio-civic medical student organizations in the Philippines and national body of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA), joined different health and human rights groups in commemorating the 9th month of illegal arrest and detainment of the 43 health workers known as Morong 43. We were able to visit them in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, and we expressed to them our support in their cause and our aspiration to meet with them again, but this time outside the four walls of prison – a prison which none of them rightly deserve.

Today, we medical students of the Philippines strongly call the Aquino government to order the immediate release of the 43 health workers, who were illegally arrested and mistakenly tagged as rebels, in the previous administration’s pursuit to wipe out the insurgents and to achieve peace in the countryside. But peace cannot be attained without justice, and thus we look forward to your administration in correcting this detestable injustice and ushering our country towards genuine peace.

This atrocious act by the military under the Arroyo administration also posed a grave threat to the future of our people’s health. It cannot be denied that the government failed to provide our people with affordable and available primary health care services. It is health workers such as the Morong 43 who fill this immense health gap with utmost compassion for people and love for country, going to the most far-flung corners of our country, foregoing better opportunities in the metropolis and even abroad, serving the underserved. However, this incident of the Morong 43 could make a negative imprint on our young medical, nursing, and other health care workers who originally wish to stay in the community. Thus, we demand that the government release the 43 and hold the previous administration and the military accountable, as a statement to our youth that this nation will not do this again to health workers whose desire is to protect our people’s right to health.

Finally, the arrest, detainment, and even torture of the Morong 43 are clear violations of fundamental human rights. Thus, we demand that appropriate sanctions be imposed on those responsible for this deplorable act.

We expect real and immediate action from your government on this important health and human rights issue, not tomorrow but now.

For health and justice for all,

Ramon Lorenzo Luis R. Guinto
Co-President, Asian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA)-Philippines
Philippine Representative, International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA)
Doctor of Medicine Class of 2012, University of the Philippines

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Justice for the 43!