Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) slams abduction of doctors

and health workers in Morong, Rizal

 

Morong, Rizal

 

February 6, 2010

 

 

 

In a press conference yesterday, health and human rights organizations condemned the military's abduction of 43 medical practitioners and health workers in Rizal.

Those arrested were actually participants of a First Responders Training, a training sponsored by the Community Medicine Foundation, Inc. (COMMED) and Council for Health and Development (CHD) were illegally arrested by elements of the military and police in Rizal last February 6, 2010. As of this news report, the military has not allowed any of the relatives of the victims to see anyone of them. For partial names browse: http://karapatan.org/node/334

Category:  News & Politics

 

Picket rally at Camp Capinpin demanding the release of the 43 detainees

PHoto by Fr. Dionie Cabillas

 

Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) strongly condemned the illegal raid and abduction of 42 community health workers and doctors who were conducting health skills training in Morong, Rizal early today.
 

Around 300 soldiers and police of the Southern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Rizal Philippine National Police and headed by Colonel Aurelio Baladad and Police Superintendent Balonglong, respectively, forcibly entered the farmhouse of Dr. Melecia Velmonte around 6:15 this morning. The training participants were then lined up, frisked, blindfolded, and forcibly brought to Camp Capinpin, headquarters of the 202nd Infantry Brigade, AFP.

 

--- From statement of HEAD

 

   

www.nytimes.com

The families and colleagues of 43 health workers detained over the weekend denounced the Philippine government on Sunday and accused the police and military of framing the suspects.

 

43 suspected Reds nabbed in Morong training seminar
 

State forces on Saturday raided a resort in Morong, Rizal, owned by a prominent Manila doctor and arrested 43 suspected communist rebels attending a training seminar.

 

 

 
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Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD)
2/F Doña Anita Bldg, 284 E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon City
Telefax: (02) 725 4760 Email: headphil@gmail.com

Media Release
06 February 2010
 

HEAD Slams Abduction of Doctors and Health Workers in Morong, Rizal
 

Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) strongly condemned the illegal raid and abduction of 42 community health workers and doctors who were conducting health skills training in Morong, Rizal early today.
 

Around 300 soldiers and police of the Southern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Rizal Philippine National Police and headed by Colonel Aurelio Baladad and Police Superintendent Balonglong, respectively, forcibly entered the farmhouse of Dr. Melecia Velmonte around 6:15 this morning. The training participants were then lined up, frisked, blindfolded, and forcibly brought to Camp Capinpin, headquarters of the 202nd Infantry Brigade, AFP.
 

“We denounce the illegal raid and violent abduction perpetrated by the Rizal-PNP and AFP-SOLCOM against medical personnel,” declared Dr. Geneve E. Rivera, HEAD Secretary-General. “We hold the Arroyo government fully accountable for whatever happens to our colleagues.”
 

“The raiding team used bogus search and arrest warrants, and disregarded the rights of Dr. Velmonte, who owns the property,” added Dr. Rivera.
 

Velmonte is a renowned and respected infectious disease specialist and her farmhouse is the regular venue of health trainings, with participants coming from both the communities and the academe.
 

The health workers are volunteers who provide health services to poor communities, while the doctors are community-based medical practitioners working for different non-government organizations (NGOs). Their personal belongings, as well the training materials used, were all confiscated by the military.
 

HEAD believes that state security forces are doing everything to sow disorder and instigate turmoil that will be used as excuse to impose martial law and further vilify progressive organizations.
“The persistent attempts to link the participants to the New People’s Army are obvious efforts to discredit legal organizations that have been critical of the Arroyo regime.”
 

“The military and police remain the biggest violators of human rights in the country. We demand the immediate release of our colleagues!” concluded Dr. Rivera. ####


References:
Dr. Geneve E. Rivera
Secretary-General, 0920 460 3712

Dr. Darby S. Santiago
Chair, 0927 473 7700

 

Picket rally at Camp Capinpin demanding the release of the 43 detainees

PHotos by Fr. Dionie Cabillas

           
From the Facebook entries of Fr. Dionito Cabillas
           

From the Facebook entries of Dionito Cabillas

www.bulatlat.com

Philippines news, breaking news, special reports, blogs, opinion, multimedia

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Dionito Cabillas Itigil ang oplan bantay laya.

www.gmanews.tv

Kapuso, GMANews.TV is the official news website of GMA-7, the Philippines' no. 1 television network. It contains the latest breaking news and rss feeds from GMA News and Public Affairs, and video from GMA News programs 24 Oras and Saksi. ...

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 7, 2010 ABDUCTION OF COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS INCLUDING 26 WOMEN CONSTITUTES A SERIOUS VIOLATION OF THE MAGNA CARTA OF WOMEN- MAZA ...

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www.philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines - A consultant of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) yesterday cried foul over the military’s alleged illegal raid on her rest house in Morong, Rizal.

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Photos:17

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Kodao Productions

In this note:Mon Ramirez

In a press conference yesterday, health and human rights organizations condemned the military's abduction of 43 medical practitioners and health workers in Rizal and call for their immediate surfacing and release...

9 minutes ago · View note

 

 

www.gmanews.tv

Kapuso, GMANews.TV is the official news website of GMA-7, the Philippines' no. 1 television network. It contains the latest breaking news and rss feeds from GMA News and Public Affairs, and video from GMA News programs 24 Oras and Saksi. ...

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www.gmanews.tv

(Updated 5:55 pm) Forty-three suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were arrested on Saturday while allegedly conducting explosives training in a doctor's residence in Morong town, Rizal province, an Army spokesman said.

 

www.philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will conduct an investigation into the military raid on a rest house in Morong, Rizal, where 43 health workers and doctors were detained last Saturday on suspicion of being communist rebels.

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Dionito Cabillas Palayain ang 43 heath workers. Itigil ang panunupil.

www.youtube.com

Nagprotesta sa Camp Capinpin sa Tanay, Rizal ang ilang kaanak ng 43 health workers na inaresto dahil hinihinalang NPA sila. Plano nilang magsumbong bukas sa Korte Suprema. Nagpa-Patrol, Cecille Lardizabal. TV Patrol Linggo, Pebrero 7, 2010

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PRESS RELEASE – February 07, 2010
References: Lovella de Castro, Secretary General (0920-918-2174)
Roneo Clamor, Deputy Secretary General (0922-814-9751)

Karapatan denounces state terrorism fomented by Philippine state security forces
in the run-up to the May elections!

Human rights alliance Karapatan strongly denounces the terrorism being foisted on groups critical of the Arroyo regime’s policies and human rights violations in the run-up to the May elections. Karapatan condemns the recent illegal arrest of more than 40 health workers and doctors, including the wife of Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor, Dr. Mary Mia, who were conducting First Responders Training in Morong, Rizal early Saturday, February 6.
 

At 6:15 Saturday morning, at least 300 heavily armed elements of the combined forces of the 202nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army (202IBPA) and the Rizal Provincial Philippine National Police (PNP) forced their way into the farmhouse of Dr. Melecia Velmonte in Morong, Rizal where the training was being held.
 

According to initial information gathered by Karapatan, the health workers, 26 of whom are female, were made to line up, their photos taken, were frisked, blindfolded, handcuffed, and were forcibly brought to Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal. The victims were also interrogated by the soldiers, while another was taking videos of the whole process. Col. Aurelio Baladad, commanding officer of the 202nd IBPA, alleged that the victims are members of the New People's Army (NPA).
 

"The PNP and AFP conducted the operation based on a defective search warrant allegedly for illegal firearms addressed to the property of a certain Mario Condes, that was issued by Judge Cesar A. Mangrobang of the Imus, Cavite Regional Trial Court. But in the first place, Condes is not the owner of the property that was raided,” Clamor stated.
 

Clamor also belied the military’s claims that the healthcare workers were making explosives. “My wife, Dr. Mary Mia, is the director of Community Health Development (CHD) for Health Education and Training Services, and has been providing health services as a community doctor for a long time,” he said.
As of writing, no formal charges have been filed against the doctors and health workers, and they are still being illegally detained in Camp Capinpin. The victims’ relatives and lawyers were not allowed inside the camp Saturday afternoon.
 

"The arms and explosives supposedly found by the military and police in the house, even the election paraphernalias, were planted by the perpetrators during their so-called ‘search operations.’ The military were not supervised by the owner of the house, the have the victims and the residents are lined up outside the buildings,” Clamor, who joined the team that initially gathered data, said.
 

My wife and her colleagues should immediately be released, the military are illegally detaining them,” demanded Clamor.
 

Meanwhile, Lovella de Castro, Karapatan Secretary General added that training communty health workers have become a necessity because of the government's failure to address health care problems of the Filipinos.

◄◄

Picket rally at Camp Capinpin demanding the release of the 43 detainees

PHoto by Fr. Dionie Cabillas

 



"We should thank these doctors who chose to practice their profession in places where they are mostly needed. They train community heallth workers for free, as they are just being true to the oath of saving lives. These community health workers are also volunteers who just intend to provide medical services for the people," de Castro said.
 

Instead, under the counter-insurgecy program Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), these doctors and volunteer health workers are considered enemies of the state. "As Mrs. Arroyo's OBL 2 and term of office is coming to an end, the more they have become desperate. Civilians have fallen targets of military operations wherein all due process are taken for granted,” de Castro added.
 

De Castro called on the people to be more vigilant, and to watch out for the numbered days of GMA in power. "We in the human rights community will not rest until we have held Arroyo accountable to all her crimes against the Filipino people." de Castro concluded. ###

 

 

           
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Health workers, including the wife of Karapatan Deputy Secretary General,  illegally arrested in military raid in Rizal province, Philippines

UA No: 2010-02-01

 

(Initial report)

 

 

UA Date                      :           06 February 2010

 

UA Case                     :           Violation of Domicile; Destruction of property;

Divestment of Property; Illegal Search and Seizure;

Illegal Arrest; Illegal Detention; Threat, Harassment and Intimidation, Fear for Safety

 

Victim/s                       : 

Illegally Arrested and illegally detained (partial list)

§         Dr. Merry Mia, Health Education and Training Services coordinator for Council for Health and Development (CHD)

§         Dr. Alexis Montes

§         Gary Liberal, Registered Nurse (Jose Reyes Medical Memorial Center)

§         Teresa Quinawayan, Midwife

§         Lydia Ubera, health worker

§         Reynaldo Makabenta, health worker

§         Delia Ocasla, health worker

·         Jane Balleta, health worker

§         Janice Javier, health worker

§         Franco Remoroso, health worker

§         Ailene Monasteryo, health worker

§         Pearl Irene Martinez, health worker

§         Elen Carandang, health worker

§         Dany Panero, health worker

§         Rayom Among, health worker

§         Emily Marquez, health worker

 

Threat, harassment and intimidation; Violation of domicile

·         Dr. Melecia Velmonte

·         Bob Velmonte

·         Bernardo Landag

·         Two caretaker 

 

Place of Incident       :           Residential compound of Dr. Melecia Velmonte in Bgy. Maybangcal,

Morong,  Rizal

 

Date of Incident        :           06 February 2010

 

Alleged Perpetrator(s):        Joint elements of the 202nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army (202nd

IBPA), and Rizal Philippine National Police (PNP) headed by Colonel Aurelio Baladad, commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army based in Tanay, Rizal and Police Superintendent Marion Balonglong of the Rizal PNP.

 

 

Account of the Incident:

 

On February 1, around 40 medical practitioners and health workers participated in a First Responders Training, sponsored by the Community Medicine Foundation, Inc. (COMMED) and Council for Health and Development (CHD) at Dr. Melecia Velmonte’s Farm, a conference and training facility in Morong, Rizal.

 

Dr. Velmonte is a renowned and respected infectious disease specialist and a consultant at the Philippine General Hospital. Her farm is a regular venue of health trainings, with participants coming from both the communities and the academe.

 

According to initial reports gathered by Karapatan, at 6:15 am on February 6, 2010, around 300 heavily armed elements of the military and police forced their way into the farm of Dr. Melecia Velmonte in Bgy. Maybangcal, Morong, Rizal.  At gunpoint, the military forced the caretaker to open the gates. Inside, the soldiers fanned out to different directions. They also kicked the main door to get into the building.

 

When Dr. Velmonte and her son, Bob demanded for a search warrant, they were merely brushed aside by the military.

 

All medical practitioners and health workers, were ordered to line up at the garage, frisked, and handcuffed. The victims were also questioned and photographed by the military, while another took a video recording of the interrogation. The male victims were then blindfolded with old shirts brought in by the soldiers and secured with packaging tape. All of the personal belongings of the victims were also taken by the military.

 

When the participants were already handcuffed, it was only then that Police Superintendent Marion P. Balonglong showed Bob a search warrant for a certain Mario Condes of Bgy. Maybangcal, Morong, Rizal, charged with illegal possession of firearms. The search warrant dated February 5, 2010 and issued by Judge Cesar A. Mangrobang of Branch 22 of the Imus, Cavite Regional Trial Court, did not indicate the exact address of the Velmonte compound.

 

Bob asserted that the warrant did not specify their address, and that Mario Condes, who is subject of the warrant, is not even the owner of the house, but he was ignored by the authorities.

 

Outside the compound, were eight (8) vehicles.  Along with the four (4) 6 x 6 military trucks were two (2) Armored Personnel Carriers (APC), a KIA Pride car,  and an ambulance.  Some of the vehicles had no plate numbers while the rest of the license plates were either covered, or smeared with mud.

 

The health workers were forced into the military trucks and were brought to Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal, headquarters of the 202nd Infantry Brigade of  Philippine Army.

 

The military declared that the victims were members of the New People’s Army because of the explosives allegedly found inside the compound.  However, according to witnesses, the military conducted the search of the compound’s premises only after all of the victims, as well as the residents, were already outside the buildings. Witnesses also said that the military have brought in with them plastic bags with the GMA Kapuso logo printed on it.

 

Allegedly found were C4 explosives, a pistol with seven bullets, 3 grenades (one allegedly found under a pillow); beside the grenade were some improvised landmines. However, Bob said that they were not issued a receipt of the inventory of the said firearms and explosives.

 

The illegal search of the Velmonte compound ended at past 9:00 in the morning of Saturday, February 6, 2010.

 

The military and police arresting team were led by Col. Aurelio Baladad and Police Superintendent Marion Balonglong.

 

In the afternoon of the same day, Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor, husband of Dr. Merry Mia, Olive Bernardo, Karapatan Services Head, along with Karapatan counsel, Atty. Ephraim Cortez, Dr. Geneve Rivera and Dr. Edelina De La Paz, chairperson of Health Action for Human Rights (HAHR), went to Camp Capinpin to inquire about the victims.  They were not allowed to enter the camp premises. 

 

As of this writing, the military has not allowed any of the relatives of the victims to see anyone of them.  ►►►

 

 

 

     
     

Recommended Action:

 

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:

  1. The immediate release of the health workers who are illegally arrested and illegally detained at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal.

  2. The government to ensure the safety of the victims and that they are not harmed; their belongings be returned immediately to them.

  3. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into raid and illegal arrest of the health workers conducting health skills training in Morong, Rizal.

  4. The military to stop the labeling and targeting of human rights defenders as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state.”

  5. The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of these instruments’ provisions.

 

You may send your communications to:

 

 


 

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

President of the Republic

Malacañang Palace,

JP Laurel St., San Miguel

Manila Philippines

Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80

Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968

Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462

E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph

 

Gen. Avelino Razon, Ret. PNP

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)

7th Floor Agustin Building I

Emerald Avenue

Pasig City 1605

Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066

Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216

osec@opapp.gov.ph

 

 

 

 

Norberto Gonzales

Secretary, Department of National Defense

Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,

E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City

Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488

Fax:+63(2) 911 6213

Email: osnd@philonline.com

 

Atty. Agnes Devanadera

Secretary, Department of Justice

Padre Faura St., Manila

Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721

Trunkline  523-84-81 loc.214

Fax: (+632) 521-1614

Email:  soj@doj.gov.ph

 

Atty. Leila De Lima

Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights

SAAC Bldg., UP Complex

Commonwealth Avenue

Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188

Fax: (+632) 929 0102

Email: chr.delima@yahoo.com


Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below.

 

URGENT ACTION Prepared by:

 

KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)

National Office

2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., Brgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES

Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146

Email: urgentaction@karapatan.org

Website: www.karapatan.org 

 
           
     

 

News Release
February 7, 2010
 

Bayan condemns illegal arrest of 43 health workers in Morong, Rizal

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) condemns in the strongest terms the Gestapo-like mass arrest of 43 health workers including doctors in Morong, Rizal. The arrests were patently illegal. The entry into the premises of Dr. Melecia Velmonte was not covered by an search warrant. The alleged explosives found in the house of Dr. Velmonte were obviously planted there by the military and police.

This mass arrest of health professionals and health workers is unprecedented and is reminiscent of the Martial Law tactics of the Marcos Dictatorship. The so-called counter-insurgency program of the government has made everyone open targets for repression.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is also desperately trying the worn-out tactic of linking progressive partylist groups with the armed revolutionary movement. The AFP floats the blatant lie that along with guns and explosives, campaign paraphernalia of the partylist group Bayan Muna were also recovered from the site. This is obviously a vain attempt to discredit the widely-supported Bayan Muna in the upcoming May elections.

As narrated by Dr. Velmonte, those arrested were “health workers attending a training course organized by the nongovernment organization Council for Health Development (CHD).”

The CHD was at the forefront of relief efforts at the height of typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng, often deploying doctors and volunteers to flood-stricken areas.

Bayan demands the immediate and unconditional release of the 43 health workers and professionals. Up to last night, they have not been allowed to see counsel, doctors or family members. We have no idea of their condition. The AFP and the PNP say that the 43 are being subject to ‘interrogation’ yet they do not have access to counsel of their choice. This again is a denial of the rights of the detained, a clear violation of our laws.

Those responsible for these patently illegal acts must be held legally accountable for their actions.

We hold the Arroyo regime responsible for this renewed wave of terror and repression, less than a 100 days before the May elections. The notorious reign of terror of this government must end. Freedom-loving Filipinos must protest this latest act of repression and injustice. ###
 

           
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