Protest picket at the Philippine Consulate General:
Community health service is NOT a crime: Release the 43!
February 18, 2010
Speech of Necta Montes, niece of Dr. Alex Montes, one of the Morong 43
|Bruce Van Voorhis of the HKCAHRPP|
Today, February 18, members and supporters of the HKCAHRPP picketed
the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong to condemn the illegal
arrest and detention, torture and harassment of the 43 community health
Participating in the protest picket were the Asian Human Rights
Commission, Asia Monitor Resource Centre, United Filipinos in Hong Kong,
Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, Association of Indonesian Migrant
Workers, Mission For Migrant Workers (HK), Asia Pacific Mission for
Migrants, Kowloon Union Church, Philippine Independent Church Hong Kong.
Other groups were the World Student Christian Federation of Asia Pacific
and the Asia Pacific Students and Youth Association (ASA).
|Photos courtesy of HKCAHRPP|
Hong Kong Coalition for the Advancement of
#10 Banuyo St.Brgy.Amihan, Project 3, Quezon
Necta Montes-Rocas. niece of Dr. Alex Montes, one of the Morong 43, talks about the doctor and condemned his illegal arrest and torture Necta is the secretary general of WSCF AP (World Student Christian Federation of Asia Pacific
Secretary Gneral of WSCF AP (World Student Christian Federation of Asia Pacific
Niece of Dr. Alex Montes, one of the Morong 43
Magandang Umaga po sa inyong lahat! Good morning to all of you! Thank you for giving me this chance to express my indignation on the illegal arrest, detention, and torture of the 43 health workers in the Philippines.
My name is Necta Montes, I am a niece of one of the illegally arrested health workers, Dr. Alexis Montes. My uncle was accused by the Military of being a member of the New People’s Army and taking part in a plan to assassinate General Jovito Palparan, also known as the Butcher of Activtists and a favorite general of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Not able to find substantial evidence to prove these ridiculous accusation against my uncle and the 42 health worker, the Military charged them with Criminal offences and illegal possession of firearms. Using the guns and explosives they themselves, the Military, have planted as evidences during the raid and arrest they conducted last February 6.
My family and the families of the 42 illegally arrested health workers strongly deny and condemn the Military for spreading malicious accusations and making-up false charges against our loved ones. We are enraged by this incident and angered by the physical torture and the mental anguish that our loved ones have been subjected to by this fascist Military.
As doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers they commit themselves to an oath to provide medical care and attention to ANYONE, and I repeat ANYONE needing their help at all times and in any place. In fact, when the illegal arrest was conducted on February 6, they were undergoing a First Respondents Training, NOT to build explosives as this stupid military accused them, but to equip community health workers to SAVE LIVES and NOT TO DESTROY LIVES!
My Uncle Dr. Alexis Montes is a 62 year-old licensed medical doctor. He has used his professional training and skills to heal the sick among the poor in my country. He has tirelessly devoted his service to people who cannot afford to go to the hospital for all sorts of ailment and treatment. He has spent nearly 40 years of his life visiting poor rural communities organizing Medical Mission together with members of our the Healing Ministry of our church, the United Church of Christ in the Philippine. As his eldest niece, my uncle has often asked me to assist him in simple surgical procedures when poor families from nearby slum communities would come to our home to seek for his help. He would not only do the surgical procedure for free, but he would send the patients with medicines and oftentimes give them few pesos for their ride home.
In a country where half of our population have no access to basic health care, where 40 % of our people cannot afford basic medicines even to treat a simple cold and where 10 women die every day because of childbirth related complications, health workers like my uncle and his 42 co-workers are the only HOPE and lifeline for the poor people.
Now I ask our government, Is it a CRIME to heal the sick poor people? Is it a crime to take on the responsibility of the failure of this government to provide basic medical care to its people? Is it a crime to be motivated by your faith to follow the example of Jesus Christ to heal and serve the people?
The illegal arrest of Dr. Alexis Montes and 42 health workers is a miscarriage of justice! It is an act of blatant disregard of human rights and the ideals of any democratic society! The arrogance of the Military establishment indicates a direct approval of the president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of these actions!
If the Philippine government will not act to stop the Military’s wanton disregard of people’s rights and welfare and continue to commit crimes against the people, WE WILL ACT!
Justice to all the victims of human rights violation of the Gloria Arroyo Regime!
Free the 43 Health workers Now!
|Dan Reyes of AHRC||Norman Carnay of Bayan - HK||Protesters at the Philipp[ine consulate|
#10 Banuyo St.Brgy.Amihan, Project 3, Quezon
Respected human rights lawyer, Romeo T.
Capulong, minced no words in stating before the Court of Appeals hearing
the petition for habeas corpus of the Morong 43 that de facto martial rule
was in effect vis a vis his clients.
The low educational attainment of most of the
43 health workers was also peddled by the military as proof that they
could not be bona fide health workers. This was disputed by Dr. Michael
Tan, a medical anthropologist and World Health Organization (WHO)
consultant, who wrote in his recent column that the profile of a majority
of the 43 fit that of volunteer community health workers (CHWs) in the
tradition of China’s barefoot doctors and Latin America’s promoters de
salud or health promoters.
Thus the military’s story line has shifted
from the tall tale that the Morong 43 are NPA combatants conducting a
training on bomb-making, to the taller tale that they are “NPA medical
officers” who belong to a “’super body” or what the military claims is the
“NPA’s version of the Department of Health.” The military now acknowledges
that the group was indeed undertaking a health training but one that was
for the purpose of the communist-led guerilla army!