Reacting to the filing of civil cases against then Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) by former detainees and members of the Morong 43, CHESTCORE expressed full support to their fellow health workers for pursuing their fight for justice to its end by making the Commander-in-Chief at that time of their illegal arrest and detention, accountable, even if they are now released.
CHESTCORE Executive Director Mia Liquigan-Rasalan said that with the many human rights violations committed under the GMA administration, she (GMA) must not get away with it even as she now hides under the cloak of Congress as Pampanga’s 2nd District congresswoman. Liquigan-Rasalan made this statement, as she recalls that the cases CHESTCORE filed with the Commission on Human Rights and the Joint Peace Panel of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in the ongoing Peace Talks, were committed since 2007, clearly a period under GMA.
CHESTCORE, a private organization promoting community-based approaches and strategies in health care in Northern Luzon since 1981, came out last March 17 in a press conference, exposing surveillance, intimidation and harassment reaching death threats by state forces on their office, their fieldwork and individual staff in recent months.
Among the staff, there is fear that their plight can similarly end up like those of their fellow health workers in Morong 43. Worse, some of them who have received death threats may also end up like Leonard Co, a fellow CHESTCORE staff back in the 80’s who was shot in Leyte in what government troops claim to be a crossfire . “But we can draw strength when fellow victims pursue their fight”, said Rayne Suyam, one CHESTCORE staff who has been in communities where the harassment happened, in talking about the Morong 43 filed case.
As they pursue their campaign calling for a stop to the harassment of community health workers, CHESTCORE said this is their contribution in the assertion of people’s right to health as well as in bringing GMA to justice for the many grave human rights violations marked by a record-high number of extra-judicial killings committed under her term.
They also challenged Pres. Aquino, to ensure that the wheels of justice will be quick and fair for Morong 43 and that he withdraw Oplan Bayanihan, a more deceptive anti-government program that replaced the dreaded Oplan Bantay Laya of the Pres. Arroyo.
CHESTCORE, together with the UP Student Council and the UP Kasarian Gender Studies Center, will be holding a forum entitled “Stop the Harassment of Cordillera Health Workers!” as part of the continuing campaign. This forum, which will feature testimonies of community health workers from CHESTCORE, from the communities and from Morong 43, will be on April 14, 2011, 8:30 – 12:00 noon at the College of Social Science Audio Visual Room (CSS AVR) of the University of the Philippines Baguio.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
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