Monday, November 29, 2010

‘Morong 43’ taking care of health needs of fellow inmates


The 43 health workers arrested early this year in Morong town in Rizal for allegedly being members and supporters of communist rebels continue to provide health care assistance to the needy even while detained.

Senior Inspector Mary Jane Clemente of the Metro Manila District Jail said they were taking advantage of the skills of the health workers – dubbed as the Morong 43 – especially during emergency situations inside the detention facility.

“Nagagamit namin sila dito lalo na si Dr. [Merry Mia] Clamor, lalo na sa mga check-up at emergency cases pag may inaatake ng hypertension or asthma (They are useful, especially Dr. Merry Mia Clamor, during emergency cases like hypertension and asthma attacks) ," she told reporters.

Clamor, a graduate of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, is the director of the Health Education, Training and Services of the Council of Health and Education, a non-government organization involved in community health work.

Clemente said the presence of the health workers is a big help to them since the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) only has one roving doctor servicing all the 37 jail facilities in the National Capital Region.

“Isipin mo yun isang araw, isang jail. Isang beses isang buwan lang kami halos napupuntahan (We are visited by the roving doctor only once a month)," she said.

Visit from a congressman

The Morong 43, who were arrested in February this year, was visited by House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada in their detention center at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.

Tañada first went to the female cell where he was greeted by 21 of the 23 health workers detained there. The other two—Mercy Castro and Judilyn Oliveros—have been confined at the Philippine General Hospital after giving birth while in detention.

Tañada also went to the male detention cell where the other health workers were jailed.

The health workers were wearing yellow t-shirts with words “Free Morong 43" printed on them when they met with Tañada. They were not allowed to talk to the journalists who covered the visit.

Tañada said the health workers informed him they were helping their co-inmates with their health needs.

“They've been taking care of themselves and as a matter of fact I asked them if they've also been looking into the other inmates and they said they do, they coordinate with the BJMP and try to offer their services to the inmates here," he said.

The detained health workers gave the lawmaker a beaded bracelet that they made as a token of appreciation.

Free before Christmas?

“Hopefully something may happen before December or hopefully before Christmas. It would be a nice gift for the Morong 43 to spend Christmas at home," he said.

He expressed hopes that President Benigno Aquino III would not put the issue in the back burner considering the attention it is getting in the country and abroad.

“Parating pinag-uusapan ito dahil maraming repercussions itong kasong ito dahil maraming human rights organizations not only here but abroad who have been raising this issue, so I'm sure a lot of organizations are concerned," he said.

“We will be celebrating the International Human Rights Day (on December 10) and again we would like to reiterate our appeal that the Morong 43 be released from their captivity and if possible, appeal to the President and Secretary De Lima to withdraw the cases filed against them," he said.

Tañada cited the earlier pronouncement of De Lima that the evidence collected against health workers were illegally retrieved and would not be used or would not be admissible in court.

“The ball is in the hands of the executive if they want to proceed or withdraw the case," he said.

Human Rights

He said the release of Morong 43 would show that the Aquino administration respects human rights.

“The International Human Rights Day is just around the corner, it's 11 days from now and it may be one of the messages that the administration might want to make - to show that they respect human rights and one showcase is the release of the Morong 43," Tañada said.

The 43 health workers were detained on charges of illegal possession of explosives and firearms, under Presidential Decree 1866 as amended by Republic Act No. 9516.

“It has been more than nine months since these 43 health workers were arrested and detained using a defective search warrant. They were also interrogated without the assistance of a lawyer. On those counts alone, their case should be withdrawn," said Tañada.

Last week, he filed House Resolution 703 directing the Committee on Human Rights to exercise its oversight function and inquire into how two recently enacted laws -- RA 9851 otherwise known as the International Humanitarian Law, and RA 9745 or the Anti-Torture Law -- are being observed and adhered to by the concerned institutions.


He cited reports that the some of the 43 detainees were tortured into admitting that they were members of the New People’s Army.

The admission of five of the members of Morong 43 that they are NPA rebels was the reason why they were left in Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal and not brought to Camp Bagong Diwa.

Oscar Yaun, brother of registered midwife Yolanda Yaun, one of the Morong 43, agreed that the detained health workers received better treatment in Camp Bagong Diwa than in Camp Capinpin.

“Sa Capinpin daw kahit alas dos ng madaling araw ginigising sila paisa-isa, kinukuha, ini-interrogate, tatanungin ng paulit-ulit, paaaminin na NPA sila (In Capinpin they were interrogated even at 2 in the morning)," he told reporters.

He said in Camp Capinpin, visitors are allowed to see the detainees for only five minutes, but in Camp Bagong Diwa, the visiting time is longer.


For instance, Yaun’s mother, Consolatres, was allowed to see and greet her daughter, who will be celebrating her birthday Tuesday, even though Monday is a no-visitors day.

Clemente said they always try to treat the inmates well.

“Ang problema lang dito hindi maganda yung facilities namin, masikip pero nakakalabas naman sila para magpaaraw, meron din silang mga activities gaya ng badminton at volleyball. Magkakaroon din kami ng Christmas party," she said.

(Our only problem here is our decrepit facilities and cramped space. But the inmates have a lot of activities to enjoy here like badminton and volleyball. We’ll even have a Christmas party.)

She admitted that the security imposed on Morong 43 is tight because they are considered high risk or high profile inmates, which she said is the same classification of drug lords. - KBK, GMANews.TV

Related News

No comments:

Post a Comment

Posts with advertisement links will be rejected / deleted!
Justice for the 43!