Illegally detained Morong 43 health workers

file complaint vs military at the Commission on Human Rights

 

Diliman, Quezon City

 

February 25, 2010

 

VIDEO CLIPS

 

 

Atty. Leila de Lima, CHR chair speaks before the families and supporters of the Morong 54 while Atty. Romeo Capulong and lawyers from the Public Interest Law aCenter listen

PHoto by Karl Ramirez/KODAO Productions

Atty. Rachelle Pastores of the Public Interest Law Center files the complaints and testimonies of the Morong 43 with the legal staff of the CHR.

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Updates in our fight to free the 43: Health workers file complaint before the Philippine Commission on Human Rights
by Renato Reyes

Feb. 25, 2010


The 43 detained health workers went on the offensive today as they filed a complaint before the CHR, asking the commission to look into gross human rights violations in the arrest and detention of the 43 health workers last February 6 in Morong, Rizal.

The counsels for the 43, the Public Interest Law Center and the National Union of People’s lawyers submitted a letter complaint and the affidavits of the 43 which detail the various rights violations and accounts of torture during their arrest and detention.

Among those being held responsible were Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, commander-in-chief of the AFP who did not do anything will the violations were ongoing, AFP chief of staff Victor Ibrado, 2nd ID Chief Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia, 202nd IB chief Col. Aurelio Baladad and other officers who were involved in the military operation against the 43.

The lawyers were also joined by the relatives of the 43 and the various groups supporting the campaign.

For her part, CHR chair Leila de Lima said that the Commission was already preparing an order for the AFP to explain the various allegations of torture, ill-treatment and violations of human rights. The CHR will also ask the Department of Justice in particular why the 43 were denied counsel during the inquest proceedings held in Camp Capinpin on February 7.

Based on the testimonies of the 43, it was only on the day of inquest that their blindfolds and handcuffs were removed. They were asked to line up and their names called. They were then informed of the charges against them. After this, the DOJ prosecutor Romeo Senson left the camp. The 43 were not allowed counsel during the inquest proceedings.

This seems to be the first time a prosecutor of the DOJ is being investigated for human rights violations. This is should serve as a warning to other prosecutors who will undertake similar legal short-cuts, denial of rights and denial of due process.

Atty. Romeo Capulong, lead counsel for the 43, said that the lawyers will also file a motion to transfer the detention of the 43 from Camp Capinpin to Camp Aguinaldo. Both lawyers and doctors contend that the continued stay of the 43 in the military camp places them at risk of torture.

Families of the 43 were also allowed to air their concerns to CHR chair de Lima. Doctors also complained that those of them identified with any of the cause-oriented groups are barred from entering the Camp.
The CHR hopes to schedule a hearing once the necessary papers are submitted.

February 27, Saturday, will mark three weeks since the 43 health workers were arrested and detained. We must press on with the campaign to FREE THE 43.

 

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Doctors' Statement on Medical Findings on the 43 Health Workerr
Reference:
Julie P. Caguiat, MD
0909-1133038 / 929-8109

We, volunteer medical doctors, strongly condemn the continuing psychological torture inflicted upon the 43 health workers illegally detained by the Armed Forces of the Philippine at Camp Capinpin. We also deplore the military’s disrespect for the basic human rights of the detained health workers, including their right to medical services.

Despite repeated requests from lawyers and family members, we have been denied entry by the camp authorities nine times. We were only allowed to see the detainees on February 11 (six days since their illegal arrest) and only upon the intervention by the Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, and on February 24, when only one of the 3 physicians was allowed to enter. Under severely restricted conditions, the check-ups merely lasted for 10-15 minutes and under the scrutiny of 2-3 guards standing in close proximity, which made our patients feel uneasy. Such is the violation of their right to health and their right to privacy.

After the medical check-ups, we still endorsed our patients and their particular medical needs to their custodians. However, to date, no medical intervention has been made accordingly.

According to reports from the families, our colleagues who are now our patients continue to suffer from various physical and mental conditions. Two of them asked their custodians for emergency medical help but no medical attention was provided.

Under Republic Act 7438 Sec. 2(f), “Any person arrested or detained or under custodial investigation shall be allowed visits by or conferences with any member of his immediate family, or any medical doctor or priest or religious minister chosen by him or by any member of his immediate family or by his counsel... The person's "immediate family" shall include his or her spouse, fiancé or fiancée, parent or child, brother or sister, grandparent or grandchild, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece, and guardian or ward.”

These provisions, meant to recognize both the needs and the rights of the detained health workers, are being violated on a daily basis.

Hence, we demand that the rights of the 43 detained health workers be recognized. We demand an immediate end to torture.

Free the 43 health workers now!

     
CHR Chair Leila de Lima with Karapatan Chair Marie Enriguez and lead counsel Atty. Romeo Capulong
     
      Family representaives who testified at the CHR hearing
     
     
           

News Release
Reference: Dr. Eleanor A. Jara – 0917-9789297 / (632) 929-8109
February 24, 2010

Continuous harassment of health workers in other places of the country

The harassment and intimidation of health workers continue to spread around the country. The incidents following the illegal arrest, detention, and continuous torture of 43 health workers on February 6 send a chilling effect among health professionals alike who are rendering services in rural communities.

On February 10, two staff with two Swedish exchange students of the Mobile Nursing Clinic (MNC) of the Saint Louis University (SLU) in Baguio City. They were accosted by personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) when they were coordinating for a presentation of MNC entry plans with the Sangguniang Bayan in one of the municipalities of Benguet. The lady police officer told the coordinator of MNC that “her boss” wanted to get their names and needed to know why they were in the area. She said that they were on red alert since the incident in Morong, Rizal happened.

The Community Health Education, Services, and Training in the Cordillera Region or CHESTCORE issued a statement denouncing said incident. “These terrifying incidents send wrong signals to health professionals wanting to serve the people in the countryside. Serving the people is now more than just self sacrifice and giving up comfortable lives, it means giving up so much more because of the dangers that go with it. Yet despite these, the committed health professionals and health workers opted to stay behind to serve the Filipino masses, resisting the bandwagon of overseas migration that would have given them opportunities of earning the much needed cash for their families. Hence, they do not deserve such treatment! They must be regarded instead as the unsung heroes of the country,” Dr. Erlinda Palaganas, RN, member of CHESTCORE’s Board of Directors said.

Meanwhile in Davao del Sur, Community Health Worker (CHW) Benjei Faldas, a 38 yo male, has been falsely accused of participating in an armed encounter between the New People’s Army and the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on January 20, 2010 resulting in the injury of CAA Antonio Amo. On February 11, Faldas together with nine others were reportedly charged with the frustrated murder of Amo. CHD’s regional partner, Urban Integrated Health Services (UIHS) condemned this latest incident, “we cannot understand why health workers are subjected to such treatment by the Armed Forces of the state. Faldas was falsely accused. Hence, cannot anymore tend his rice fields or man the community clinic and pharmacy.” The community clinic and pharmacy in Barangay Sibulan in Davao del Sur was funded by the European Union through CHD and UIHS under the project Bringing Health into the People’s Hands.

This string of incidents against health workers of community-based health programs shows the AFP’s brazenness and utter disrespect of human rights. Health workers are continuously subjected to persecution for mere allegations and suspicions of “subversive “association.

“We call on the attention of the European Union and other international agencies who believe in the sanctity of human rights to state their positions regarding the continuous and aggravating harassments of health workers in the Philippines. We likewise enjoin the entire Filipino people and the international community to put pressure on the Philippine government and the AFP to stop the harassment of health workers all over the country. We also enjoin everybody to demand for a stop to the torture and illegal detention of the 43 health workers,” Dr. Eleanor A. Jara, Executive Director of the Council for Health and Development concluded.##

 

     
           
     
Attt, Romeo Capulong with lawyers Nuns of various orders listen to the testimonies
           

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Summary of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to the 43 Health Workers Arrested in Morong, Rizal (Feb. 6, 2010)

and Detained at Camp Capinpin

 

(Based on the detainees’ affidavit and medical reports,

accomplished Feb. 11, 2010 and updated Feb. 21 and 24)

 

TYPES OF TORTURE:

 

I. PHYSICAL

 

A. Blunt trauma / manhandling

- Punching

- Slapping, including “Pyongyang”, using open palm, rolled paper

- Wringing or twisting of arms or fingers

- Poking with a sharp object

- Testicles pulled and crushed/squeezed

- Pulling of hands so that one is forced to kneel

- ‘pinipitik ang tenga at ilong”

 

B. Positional torture

- Made to sit on a monoblock chair for hours with hands bound together at

the back

- Made to stand for a long period

 

C. Electrocution

- It is deduced that Dr. Montes was subjected to electrocution, as he narrated

that in one interrogation session, some things were placed on his head like

clips and he felt numbness and twitching of his muscles

- (One detainee remembers his left leg to twitch and numb, but this has to be

verified further)

 

D. Chemical exposure/pharmacological torture

- Dr. Montes was made to smell a very aromatic substance that made him

feel sleepy; on one occasion he was given a little water to drink and felt that

on the brim of the glass were undissolved granules

- One female detainee reported that something was applied to her nostrils

that smelled bad that she was nauseated

 

E. Food deprivation

- Were given very little food and water (spoon feeding) or none at all during

the first 36 hours

-

 

F. Harmful exposure to sunlight and very cold environment

- Two were brought outdoors where it was very cold

- One who was menstruating at the time, was exposed at noontime under direct

sunlight while being interrogated

 

G. Sleep deprivation,

 

- they were not allowed to sleep in the first 36 hours, some were seated and

handcuffed on monoblocks or stools, some were made to stand; when they

fall asleep, they are slapped with an open palm or rolled paper, shouted at,

poked with sharp object, kicking of the chair or their faces were forced to be

held up

- they are interrogated during the night and wee hours of the morning, some

intermittently, some continuously

- they were made to hear person or persons crying in pain and begging for

their lives during the night

 

II. Psychological Torture

 

A. Blindfolding for more than 36 hours, and during interrogation sessions

B. Threat to life and family

They were threatened that they will be killed or their family will be hurt.

- Mock execution – Dr. Montes was being pushed off a cliff

- That if they admitted, they will not be ‘desaparecidos’

o One was forced to ride a van and threatened to be ‘salvaged’

o One was threatened ‘ lilitsunin’, “bubulukin sa presohan”,

“sasampahan ng iba’t-ibang kaso”.

o One was told “diretso na yan sa hukay o ilagay na sa backhoe”

o One was told that “mamayang gabi gagawin kang pataba” and

“bibitayin”

o Threat to life and family, “pag hindi ka umamin hindimo na makikita

ang pamilya mo”, “ifi-firing squad o ipapalapa sa K-9”

o Threat to life and family, “baka hindi ka na makakita”, “dun, dalhin

yan sa kawayanan”

o Threat to life, “ililibing ng buhay”

o Threat to life, ‘iligpit nyo na yan”, “itapon na yan”

o Was made to hear a sound of “naghahasa ng matalim na bagay”

o Threat to life, “dalhin nyo na to sa hukay nya! Dalhin na sa libingan!”

o Threat to life, “isakay na yan sa sasakyan!”

o Threat to family, “Ipapahuli natin pati nanay mo at tiyo mo!

C. Deprivation of normal sensory stimulation (blindfolding for more than 36 hours), such

as sound, light, sense of time.

D. Solitary confinement

E. Prolonged and repeated interrogation

F. Humiliation

- Deprived to use toilet alone, was accompanied by a soldier who did the

unfastening of their pants and underwear and that the accompanying soldier

is the one who washes them (the detainees expressed their worry that

because they were blindfolded, they have no way of knowing if the female

detainees were assisted by female soldiers or if the toilet they are using is

3

enclosed or open because whenever they use the toilet they can hear

laughs), and some were forced to use diapers

- Were spoon-fed while blindfolded and hands bound

- One was forced to kneel in front of her interrogators

G. Threat of further torture

- A lighted cigarette was held very near one detainee’s lips, as if in the act of

burning him

H. Psychological techniques to break down the individual, including forced betrayals,

learned helplessness, exposure to ambiguous situations or contradictory messages

- Were made to hear person/s crying in pain

- Was made to believe that her co-detainees admitted to being members of

the NPA, that she should admit likewise.

- Deception, one was told that her mother entrusted her to the soldiers,

matter that her mother denied

- One was made to believe that she is talking to a lawyer, during one

interrogation while blindfolded

- Some reported that they were being convinced to admit to being NPA’s and

avail of the amnesty program and to surrender armaments and that they will

rewarded P50000 for each rifle.

- Was made to believe that they were abandoned by friends and lawyers

- Visited inside the cell by persons in civilian clothes whom the detainees call

as “asset”, “military intelligence”, “rebel returnees”, police from Nagcarlan,

Quezon, and Tagaytay and forced to admit as NPA, photos taken and

threatened to be filed with other criminal charges

 

I. Sexual harassment

- Two detainees reported that their testicles were pulled and crushed

- During the first 36 hours, because their hands were bound, they were

assisted in the use of toilet and somebody else washed their private parts

- Threats

o One was told “Ang kinis pala ng kamay mo.”

o Threat of rape, “pag ni-rape kita,may magagawa ka ba?”

o Sexually harassed, “masarap daw akong halikan habang nasa labas

na ako ng selda”

J. Other deprivation and violation of rights

- Prohibited to communicate to family, doctor and lawyers especially during

the first 36hours; private doctors are not allowed to see them even at the

request of the detainees and relatives

- prohibited to talk to co-detainees

4

- one female detainee complained of vaginal bleeding on the first day of

detention but was only attended to on the third day. She was brought to

Tanay General Hospital and was told that pregnancy test and ultrasound

were negative but the results were not shown to her

- one female detainee is three months pregnant, was subjected to

interrogation, and was only attended to on the third day

- prohibited to talk to co-detainees

- exercise and exposure to early morning sunshine is not done on a daily

basis

MEDICAL SUMMARY (INITIAL)

a. PHYSICAL EXAMINATION

- Most have abrasions on wrists due to the handcuffs; and on different parts

of the body due to manhandling

- Two have abrasions on the head due to tight blindfold (made of fabric

further taped with packing tape)

- Most have tenderness in different parts of the body due to uncomfortable

positions and beating

- Most have hyperacidity due to stress and less food intake due to loss of

appetite

- Some have hypertension and complain of chest pains; one has epilepsy;

one has a heart problem; one has gouty arthritis; one is pregnant; one is

suspected to have had a miscarriage

b. PSYCHIATRIC

- Most express fear and anxiety especially when it is getting dark (when

interrogations usually happen); that they have been continuously threatened

to be hurt or killed; and that they are told that their families will be hurt, killed

or captured

- Psychosomatic symptoms due to stress and includes: continues vomiting,

persistently high blood pressure even for those who were not hypertensive,

headache/migraine attacks, loss of appetite, chest pains, body pains,

insomnia and epigastric pain, chilling when they see the military.

 

■    Summary of Torture findings

           
     
Relatives with portraits of their illegally arrested and illegaly detained kin
     


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
22 February 2010

AFP Rewards Impunity and Intransigence - HEAD

Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) strongly condemned the intransigence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which seeks to award two officers involved in the illegal arrest, detention, and torture of 43 health workers.

“Rewarding human rights violators is not only insulting to the victims and their families but also an affront to basic decency in a country that is supposedly a democracy,” said Dr. Darby Santiago, HEAD chairperson.

The health group is reacting to an announcement made earlier today by AFP Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr. that the military establishment is conferring the fourth-highest military award on Colonel Aurelio Baladad and Lieutenant Colonel Jaime Abawag this Wednesday in Camp Nakar, Quezon.

“The illegal raid in Morong last February 6 and the subsequent treatment of the detainees is distinctively atrocious for its flagrant disregard of due process and basic human rights.”

“After the warrantless arrests, the health workers were denied legal counsel and subjected to sleep deprivation and repeated interrogation while blindfolded and handcuffed. Some were tortured and sexually harassed.”

“Are these the alleged feats that the AFP now honors?” decried Dr. Santiago.

The health group believes that the arrogance of the AFP stems from the encouragement given by the Arroyo regime and meant to prop up some semblance of success for Oplan Bantay Laya, the counter-insurgency campaign that will end this June.

“As commander-in-chief, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is accountable for promoting the terror and brazen brutality being waged by her security forces. Now, she should explain what she finds exemplary in the crimes being committed against ordinary citizens.”

“In truth, there is nothing honorable in the transgressions committed against the 43 health workers.” ###

References:
 

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

Dr. Gene Alzona Nisperos
Vice-Chair, 0927 483 2325

Dr. Darby S. Santiago
Chair, 0927 473 7700
 

     
     
           
     
     
     


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
16 February 2010

Doctor’s Testimony Debunks AFP Claims

“I am tired.”

With these words, Dr. Alexis Montes debunked the military’s accusations against the 43 illegally detained health workers and stamped these as malicious falsehoods. Despite breaking down into tears at the end of his otherwise gripping testimony, the 62-year old surgeon detailed every aspect of their arrest and detention, and revealed once and for all the true extent of the human rights violations perpetrated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“We admire Dr. Montes for his steadfastness and integrity amidst the physical and mental difficulties he was subjected to by the AFP,” declared Dr. Geneve E. Rivera, HEAD Secretary-General.

The grey-haired and mild-mannered Dr.Montes spoke yesterday before the Court of Appeals, which was conducting a writ of habeas corpus hearing.

“Immediately after the February 6 mass arrests, Dr. Montes was singled out and tagged by the AFP as the leader of a New People’s Army hit squad formed to eliminate then AFP general, Jovito Palparan,”added Dr. Rivera. “But to date, the AFP has yet to show any iota of proof against the man who, for 20 years, was the National Coordinator for Health Services of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP).”

In contrast, the doctor was able to provide details as to their incarceration without food and bathroom privileges, and how, at one point, he was forced to inhale an aromatic substance that made him dizzy. The military then interrogated him for hours.

Dr. Montes also revealed how even a fiscal from the Department of Justice, a certain Atty. Romeo Sanson, defiled due process when he merely did a “roll call” of the detained health workers during the inquest, did not explain anything to them, and ignored their demands for their own legal counsel.

HEAD warned about the tactics being employed by the AFP as a clear and present danger to the Filipino people.

“It seems to be the institutional character of the AFP to conveniently resurrect the communist bogey every time they are caught flagrantly violating basic human rights.” Said Dr. Rivera, “The military establishment wants us to believe that they can just call anyone NPAs, detain them while fabricating evidences and witnesses, and then file cases against them to justify their actions.”

“The AFP is now acting as the judge, jury, and executioner. Worse, the DOJ is their willing accomplice in this grave injustice!”

“The military and police are acting as though the Philippines is back in the heydays of Martial Law. The Arroyo government, true to form as a Marcos-copycat, is using its counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya not against the armed rebels but against unarmed civilians,” concluded Dr. Rivera. ####


References:
Dr. Geneve E. Rivera
Secretary-General, 0920 460 3712
Dr. Gene Alzona Nisperos
Vice-Chair, 0927 483 2325
Dr. Darby S. Santiago
Chair, 0927 473 7700

 

     
           
     
           
           


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
24 February 2010

“Who Will Protect the People from the AFP?” - HEAD

“How can violence against the unarmed and disrespect for human rights be a measure of heroism?”

Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) warned that such warped sense of bravery and heroism by the soldiers and officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines forebodes danger to the Filipino people as it foments more human rights violations.

“Is it a feat of bravery to train your guns on civilians? To use force, not in the battlefield but in the homes of ordinary people?” asked Dr. Darby S. Santiago, HEAD chairperson.

The health group condemned the AFP as it bestowed today the Bronze Cross Medal to Col. Aurelio Baladad, commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade and Lt. Col. Jaime Abauag, commander of the 16th Infantry Battalion, for leading the questionable raid in Morong last February 6 that led to the illegal arrest and detention of 43 health workers.

“If the AFP considers this commendable, then other military officers will follow this lead. It becomes open season on anyone, especially those who are critical of government. Anyone can be accused of being a rebel and be subjected to abuse.”

“Who will then protect us from our so-called protectors?” decried Dr. Santiago.

The health group believes that the AFP is tripping on its own lies and that the failure of the Arroyo government’s counter-insurgency is now being brought to bear on the Filipino people.

“The fact that the military establishment considers doctors, health workers, and those who provide service and care as enemies of the state is symptomatic of its growing desperation as the deadline of Oplan Bantay Laya draws nearer.”

“The AFP no longer recognizes the difference between combatants and civilians. It cannot anymore distinguish between its enemies and the very people it purportedly protects.”

“This presents a very clear and present danger. It should be stopped now before more innocents are victimized.” concluded Dr. Santiago. ####


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

Dr. Darby S. Santiago
Chair, 0927 473 7700

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

Media Release
Reference: Dr. Eleanor A. Jara – 0917-9789297
February 17, 2010

Health services deterred as doctor remains in military custody

For the twelfth day today, Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor continues to anguish in prison inside Camp Capinpin for charges she never dreamed of committing as a medical doctor sworn to oath of saving people’s lives.

Before elements of the 202nd Infantry Brigade led by Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia frisked, blindfolded, and stripped Dr. Mia-Clamor of her dignity and rights on February 6, she was a doctor for the people.

Doc Merry, as she is fondly called by colleagues and patients in the Council for Health and Development (CHD) is the Director of the Health Education Training and Services Department. Her heart yearned for contributing her talents and skills to somewhat improve the miserable state of the people’s health.

As director of one of CHD’s departments, her tasks include coordinating medical missions and health trainings with community-based health programs in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. She has attended to thousands of patients in the different far-flung provinces sans the usual professional fee.

Medical missions, such as the one scheduled in Palawan early this February had to be called off because of what happened to the health workers. The medical mission, sponsored by CHD and AUSCULTA (community-based health program partner in Palawan and Southern Tagalog), would have served 3,000 individuals from the Tagbanua tribe and other folks in Northern Palawan.

Aside from medical missions and trainings, Doc Merry also head’s CHD’s clinic. The clinic opened in 1989 when CHD was founded. Doc Merry started as its resident physician in 2004. Since her illegal arrest and detention, scores of patients from the National Capital Region and its adjacent provinces, CHD’s immediate beneficiaries, have been denied medical services.

The Armed Forces has not only committed injustice to the 43 health workers but to the entire Filipino nation as well. They are guilty of deterring the delivery of health services to the people in the midst of an ever worsening healthcare system. ##

 

           
     
 

 

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
24 February 2010

“Who Will Protect the People from the AFP?” - HEAD

“How can violence against the unarmed and disrespect for human rights be a measure of heroism?”

Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) warned that such warped sense of bravery and heroism by the soldiers and officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines forebodes danger to the Filipino people as it foments more human rights violations.

“Is it a feat of bravery to train your guns on civilians? To use force, not in the battlefield but in the homes of ordinary people?” asked Dr. Darby S. Santiago, HEAD chairperson.

The health group condemned the AFP as it bestowed today the Bronze Cross Medal to Col. Aurelio Baladad, commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade and Lt. Col. Jaime Abauag, commander of the 16th Infantry Battalion, for leading the questionable raid in Morong last February 6 that led to the illegal arrest and detention of 43 health workers.

“If the AFP considers this commendable, then other military officers will follow this lead. It becomes open season on anyone, especially those who are critical of government. Anyone can be accused of being a rebel and be subjected to abuse.”

“Who will then protect us from our so-called protectors?” decried Dr. Santiago.

The health group believes that the AFP is tripping on its own lies and that the failure of the Arroyo government’s counter-insurgency is now being brought to bear on the Filipino people.

“The fact that the military establishment considers doctors, health workers, and those who provide service and care as enemies of the state is symptomatic of its growing desperation as the deadline of Oplan Bantay Laya draws nearer.”

“The AFP no longer recognizes the difference between combatants and civilians. It cannot anymore distinguish between its enemies and the very people it purportedly protects.”

“This presents a very clear and present danger. It should be stopped now before more innocents are victimized.” concluded Dr. Santiago. ####


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

Dr. Darby S. Santiago
Chair, 0927 473 7700

 

     
           
     
     
           

 

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
26 February 2010

Desperate AFP Renews Torture to Produce “Witnesses” - HEAD

Hard-pressed to substantiate its claims and accusations, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has renewed its pressure and torture tactics to produce so-called “witnesses”.

Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) demanded the immediate release if not the immediate transfer to Camp Crame of the illegally detained community health workers as it learned of torture inflicted upon specific detainees and harassments that have extended to the families and relatives of the detained.

“It seems that officers of the 202nd Infantry Brigade and 2nd Infantry Division consider themselves above the law and regard torture as part of their standard operating procedure,” said Dr. Geneve Rivera, HEAD Secretary-General.

The health group learned that some of the detainees were being taken out of their cells at night, brought elsewhere, and returned only in the morning after undergoing hours of tactical interrogation.

One female detainee was taken out around 1 am and returned only around 4 am. She was alone when taken. Another female detainee was threatened with rape. While being forced to admit membership to the New People’s Army, she was also made to choose between herself and her family (“pamilya mo o sarili mo ang masasaktan”) as threats of harm escalated.

One male detainee who was taken out twice already described the ordeal as “pinipiga at tinatakot” (“being squeezed and intimdated”).

“Is this how they produce their so-called witnesses?” asked Dr. Rivera.

HEAD also deplored the harassments, disguised as stringent measures, on those who wish to visit the detained.

“The AFP arbitrarily denies entry to relatives,” added Dr. Rivera. “Those they allow to enter are asked to fill up a bond paper with certain data requirements. However, the relatives are afraid that the information they provide will wind up being used in the psychological torture of their loved ones.

The young wife of one of the detainees was asked to describe her house, her route home, and her address every time she visited her husband. She felt like she was being stalked.

“Who protects the people against excesses of the military? What can the people do against such criminal behavior of state security forces?”

“By its arrogance, the AFP belittles the public outrage against its abuses, as well as the safeguards meant to protect citizens from State-sanctioned abuse. Thus, the AFP continues with its wanton disregard for human rights. This must stop immediately!” ####


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

Dr. Gene Alzona Nisperos
Vice-Chair, 0927 483 2325

Dr. Darby S. Santiago
Chair, 0927 473 7700
 

■    Statement in PDF format

 


 

ANGELA DOLORICON is a consultant for Community Organizing of the Kilos Bayan para sa Kalusugan, a community-based health organization in Metro Manila formed in 1998 with CHD as one of its support organizations. Angela, ever the soft-spoken and smiling woman is dedicated, patient and courageous. She has been serving the people through community health for more than a decade already. She is also wife of renowned visual artist and former Fine Arts Dean of the University of the Philippines, Neil Doloricon.

 

From: http://freethehealthworkers.blogspot.com/2010/02/free-angela-doloricon-free-43-health.html

Art work by Neil Doloricon

           
           

 

IMMEDIATE FREEDOM FOR THE 43 HEALTH WORKERS!
Statement from the Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights
16 February 2010

The Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights condemns in the strongest terms the illegal arrest, torture, and continued unjust detention of the 43 health workers forcibly taken by the military and police on February 6, 2010, in Morong, Rizal, Philippines. This group is made up of two medical doctors, a registered nurse, a midwife and 39 community health workers.

According to Dr. Melecia Velmonte, Professor Emeritus at the University of the Philippines and an expert on infectious diseases, the 43 health workers were holding their health training at her family resort compound. This was a First Responders' Training for health workers organized by the Community Medicine Development Foundation, Inc (COMMED) and the Council for Health Development (CHD). The early morning raid was conducted by 300 heavily-armed soldiers and policemen who came in eight (8) military trucks, two (2) armored personnel carriers, and police cars.

The National Union of People's Lawyers has also denounced the raid and arrests and said that “the search conducted by the military was an illegal search because it proceeded from a search warrant that was invalid on its face.” The warrant had a different address, dated the previous day, and issued for a certain Mario Condes (who was not among the 43). True to form, the military discovered in their illegal search “guns, high explosives,” including “a grenade and land mine from one of the beds.” The lawyers, health organizations and human rights groups agree that the “evidence” was likely planted by the military. As the husband of Dr. Mary Mia-Clamor, one of the 43 health workers, pointedly observed, “Would you hide a grenade under your pillow?”

The 43 health workers were blindfolded, hauled to Camp Capinpin, rendered incommunicado, denied visits from their lawyers, doctors and their families – all in violation of the detainees’ constitutional and human rights. Even members of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR) were denied their legally-mandated visitorial rights. Furthermore, the public inquest of the detainees should have been conducted in a police station, and not a military camp, as stipulated in Department of Justice Circular No. 61.

We fear for the safety and well-being of the 43 workers the longer they stay in the custody of their captors. The detained health workers have described how they were subjected to forced interrogations, blindfolded and handcuffed for at least 36 hours and subjected to various forms of physical and mental torture and inhumane, degrading treatment. At the Court of Appeals hearing last Feb. 15th, Dr. Alex Montes, the 63- year- old surgeon in the group described his torture and repeated interrogation. Electrodes were attached to his head, which sent electric shocks through his body when his answers failed to please his interrogators. He was brought outside, handcuffed and blindfolded, tied to a chair, and jabbed at with sharp objects on his chest. He was shoved backward and twice, he found himself under water, half-drowning and blind. He testified that he could not walk alone and suffered the indignity of having someone else lower his pants and underwear for him to be able to pee. Dr. Montes is not only a surgeon with COMMED but he also served as the Health Ministries Coordinator of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.

CHR Commissioner Chair Leila de Lima expressed alarm at the reports of the detainees’ experiences: “The detainees were denied sleep and subjected to a continuous interrogation. One of them says that they were continuously handcuffed and blindfolded for about 36 hours,” she says. “They were not allowed to touch their own body, meaning those feeding them food is someone else.” They were also kept in separate detention cells, and the blindfolds removed only prior to de Lima’s visit.

All these acts are clear violations of the Anti-Torture Act of 2009. All these are clear violations of international human rights conventions and even the Philippine Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Nothing justifies these violations of human rights.

As the Arroyo government nears the end of its presidential term, we see her marked desperation to eliminate any opposition and resistance against her government. We see the arrest, detention and torture of the 43 health workers as part of the government’s counter-insurgency effort (called the Operation Freedom Watch) that has violated the people's rights and liberties and claimed the lives of thousands and yet, has failed to stop the people's movement for change.

The Canada-Philippine Solidarity for Human Rights demands the immediate release of the 43 health workers. We also demand that the military and police officers be charged with torture pursuant to the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 as well with the violations of the detainees' constitutional, legal and human rights.

No one, more so those who have chosen to use their medical knowledge and skills to address the health needs of underserved communities with little or no financial gain, deserves this kind of injustice.

The Canada-Philippine Solidarity for Human Rights will continue to follow the case of the 43 health workers. We will continue to extend our support and solidarity to the 43 health workers, their families, their colleagues in the health sector and their lawyers.

Freedom for the 43 Health Workers NOW!

-Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Email: cps_hr@yahoo.ca

++++++++++++++++++
Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPS-HR)
is a member of the Stop the Killings (STK) Network-Canada; the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS); and the International Migrants Alliance (IMA). It is also a coalition partner of the Global and Societal Ministries BC Conference of the United Church of Canada and a proud partner of BAYAN-Canada.

Filipinos and Canadians working for the promotion and defense of human rights in the Philippines.
address: 202-4989 Duchess St. Vancouver, Canada V5R 6E5 * email: cps_hr@yahoo.ca
 

At the UP Arts and Sciences covered walkway
     
           
           

 

An Open Letter to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
(On the Illegal Arrest, Detention and Torture of 43 Health Workers in
Morong, Rizal, Philippines)

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic
Malacaang Palace
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines

Re: Immediate and unconditional release of the 43 illegally arrested,
detained and tortured health workers in Morong, Rizal

President Arroyo,

Migrante Australia condemns the illegal arrest and detention of the 43
doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers in Morong, Rizal
on 6th February 2010.

We are appalled and angered by your inaction on this matter.

How can you allow the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to arrest,
detain and torture a group of health workers who are well-respected and
known for their selfless service to the impoverished communities in the
Philippines?

How can you not see the value of their work in communities that do not
have access to health care? How can you not appreciate the help they are
giving to Filipinos who would otherwise have no means to seek medical
help and health services?

How can you not appreciate the services of these health workers? They are
the ones who have chosen to stay back to look after the health and
medical needs of the poverty-ravaged Filipino people. You know that our
country needs health workers but you and your anti-people economic
policies have driven hordes of them overseas. Their skills and services
are much valued in countries where they work now. You are also earning
millions of dollars from their remittances. Is this the way to treat the
Morong 43, they who have chosen to remain in the Philippines?

It is despicable how you continue to implement Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) to
victimise civilians such as the Morong 43 who serve the poor and are
critical of your regime. We have not forgotten how under your OBL, the
Maguinadanao massacre happened, killing innocent civilians, human rights
lawyer and media people. We have not forgotten either the thousands of
victims of human rights violation under your rule.

This latest work of your fascist regime proves that you will not stop at
anything to preserve the last days of your dictatorship. You feel so
threatened that you have to accuse the Morong 43 of everything you are
afraid of – linking them with the New People’s Army and to
progressive partylists and their candidates.

President Arroyo, enough is enough.

We call for the immediate and unconditional release of the Morong 43.

We call for the prosecution of those who carried out this injustice.


Contact person: Lina Cabaero, Mobile: +61407 841 010
Migrante Australia
PO Box 212, Altona North 3025, Australia
Email: migrante.aussie@optusnet.com.au

 

This son of a Morong 43 detainee exppresses what he feels about the continuing illegal detention of his parent

Photos courtesy of.

           
           

x

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

3220 West 13th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. CANADA V6K 2V5

Tel: +1-604-738-0338  Fax: +1-604-736-1175

                                                                      lrwc@portal.ca www.lrwc.org        

Promoting human rights by protecting those who defend them

 

            Urgent Appeal

February 10, 2010

 

 

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroya

President of the Republic,

Malacanang Palace

JP Laurel St., San Miguel

Manilla, Philippines

Fax: (+623)742-1641 / 929-3698

 

Dear Madame President:

                                                                                                           

Re:      February 6, 2010 Rizal, Philippines, Detention of medical personnel

 

I am writing on behalf of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (“LRWC”), a committee of lawyers who promote human rights and the rule of law internationally by protecting advocacy rights in combination with other fundamental rights and freedoms. LRWC campaigns for advocates and others who have been placed in danger because of their human rights advocacy, or humanitarian efforts. LRWC engages in research and education and works in cooperation with other human rights organizations, worldwide. LRWC has Special Consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

 

LRWC is following the case of approximately 43 doctors, nurses and community health workers (“Prisoners”) who were, by all reliable accounts, illegally apprehended by the 202nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army and the Rizal Philippine National Police on February 6, 2010 and who are the subject of ongoing illegitimate detention. LWRC harbours significant concern for the safety and wellbeing of the Prisoners. Reports have emerged that the Prisoners have been tortured since their detention and denied the opportunity to consult freely with legal counsel or pursue legal their guaranteed legal remedies.

I am writing on behalf of LRWC to urge your office to act to ensure that the Prisoners are immediately released from custody, unharmed. In the interim, if their release is not immediate, we urge you to ensure they are provided humane treatment, food and medical care and that they be permitted to consult with legal counsel and their families.

 

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada formally requests that you mobilize to ensure the following:

 

1.         The immediate release of the Prisoners who have been subjected to torture, illegally arrested and illegally detained at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal.

2.         Ensure the immediate and ongoing safety of the Prisoners and ensure that their belongings be returned immediately to them.

3.         Initiate the 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 to look into raid and illegal arrest of the Prisoners who were conducting health skills training in Morong, Rizal at the time of their arrests and detention.

4.         See to it that the military ceases its abusive practice of labelling and targeting human rights defenders as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state.”

5.         Remain mindful that the Philippine Government 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.

 

 

Yours truly,

 

 

Darlene D. R. Kavka, LRWC

Copies to:

Sec. Annabelle T. Abaya

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

Philippines

Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216

osec@opapp.gov.ph

 

Atty. Agnes Devanadera

Secretary, Department of Justice

Padre Faura St., Manila

Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721

Fax: (+632) 521-1614

Email: soj@doj.gov.ph

 

Norberto GonzalesSecretary,

Department of National Defence

Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,

E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City

Philippines

Fax:+63(2) 911 6213

osnd@philonline.com

 

Atty. Leila De Lima

Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights

SAAC Bldg., UP Complex

Commonwealth Avenue

Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

Fax: (+632) 929 0102

Email: chr.delima@yahoo.com

 

Kabataan partylist and CONTENT-UP members on a Feb 28 Sunday early morning at the UP Academic Oval

Photos courtesy of UP Prof. Roselle Pineda

     
           

Families and supporters at Camp Capinpin, the Home of the Jungle Fighters,

where the Morong 43 are illegally detained

Photos courtesy of DJ Acierto/KARAPATAN

           
           

 

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

President of the Republic of the Philippines

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

 

February 26, 2010

 

Joint Statement by Japanese NGOs

 concerning Human Rights Violation in the Philippines

 

Dear Ms. President,

 

We, the undersigned, have expressed grave concerns over the serious violation of human rights in the Philippines, such as political killings and enforced disappearance rampant during your administration, and have continuously urged you to address this problem.  Our Japanese government has also formally expressed “the strong concerns among the Japanese about the human rights situation in the Philippines” to you several times, and has called upon your appropriate measures, especially in the context of the provision in the four (4) principles of ODA implementation of Japan’s ODA Charter, or “full attention should be paid to efforts for promoting …… the situation regarding the protection of basic human rights and freedoms to the recipient country.”

 

Likewise, domestic and international societies, including the U.N. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Mr. Philip Alston, have pointed that the significant number of killings, disappearances or tortures have been attributed to the military and the police of your country.  In order to improve the human rights situation in the Philippines, they have recommended the necessity of the acknowledgement by the military and the re-evaluation on problematic aspects of counter-insurgency strategy, where legal organizations and civilian activists are labeled as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state.”

 

Although your government has announced some measures, such as an action plan, in response to those various domestic and international calls, we are disturbed again that the cases of severe human rights violation by the military and the police have been still reported and seems to be even increasing recently before the coming election in the Philippines.  Most recently, the one of those is the illegal detention of 43 health workers holding a health skills training seminar, accused as members of the New People's Army (NPA) in Rizal Province.

 

Also, we are shocked very much that the voters education on the automated election system held by a women NGO in Bohol province was monitored and was tagged as insurgency by the military last January.  Some of the undersigned have worked closely with the NGO, or the Women’s Development Center (WDC) and its Executive Director, who were labeled by the military as part of a structure of the underground communists.  It is to be deplored that one of our longtime friends and her organization, which have been addressing the problems caused by the Bohol Irrigation Project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), are currently suffering from the human rights violation by the state agency of the Philippines.

 

We therefore reiterate our calls to you, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to;

-         Immediately stop using the policy of targeting civilian organizations and individual activists under the counter-insurgency program

-         Immediately release the 43 health workers who are illegally detained at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal;

-         Stop tagging the voters education on the automated election system held by the WDC in Bohol as insurgency;

-         Condemn all human rights violation consistently and at every level of government;

-         Ensure that those responsible for human rights violation, including political killings and enforced disappearance, are brought to justice in accordance with international standards.

 

 Respectfully,

 

 Cebu-Bohol Solidarity Network

Friends of the Earth-Japan

 

 Contact:

Cebu-Bohol Solidarity Network

c/o Chair Person NISHII Kazuhiro

Address: 19-1 Nakamichi Honkanbe, Imaise-cho, Ichinomiya City, AICHI #491-0053, JAPAN

Tel & Fax: +81-586-23-5017

E-mailnishiikaz@nifty.com

 

 With copy to:

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, Philippines

Voice: +63 (2) 636 0701 to 066

Fax: +63 (2) 638 2216

Email: osec@opapp.gov.ph

 

Secretary Norberto Gonzales

Department of National Defense

Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,

E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines

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, Philippines

Direct Line: +63(2) 521-8344; 5213721

Trunkline: +63(2) 523-84-81 loc.214

Fax: +63(2) 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: +63(2) 928-5655, 926-6188

Fax: +63(2) 929 0102

Email: chr.delima@yahoo.com

 

H.E. Domingo L. Siazon, Jr.

Philippine Ambassador to Japan

5-15-5 Roppongi Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8537, Japan

Tel: +81(3) 5562-1600

Fax: +81(3) 5562-1603

 

Mr. Makoto KATSURA

Japanese Ambassador to the Republic of Philippines

2627 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Philippines

c/o Embassy of Japan

P.O. BOX 414, Pasay Central Office, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Tel: +63(2) 551-5710

Fax: +63(2) 551-5780

 

Mr. Shiro SADOSHIMA

Director-General, International Cooperation Bureau,

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Kasumigaseki 2-2-1, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Tel: +81(3)-3580-3311 ext. 3591

     
     
     
     
     
           
           

 

End to all acts of harassment against all human rights defender and address the culture of impunity
Throw light into the context, character and dynamics of the Philippine electoral process!

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines Sec. Annabelle T. Abaya
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

Sec. Norberto B. Gonzales
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City Atty. Agnes Devanadera
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila

Atty. Leila De Lima
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for

Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL Austria
Moeringgasse 10,
A-1150 Vienna
Austria

Petition: End to all acts of harassment against all human rights defender and address the culture of impunity

As 48 million Filipinos prepare to exercise their sacred right of suffrage in the May 2010 National Elections, we, concerned migrant Filipinos, condemn and call an end to the Arroyo administration's continuing list of human rights violations of which the gruesome carnage in Maguindanao on November 23, 2009, that took the lives of 57 people, is just the tip of the iceberg.

On November 24, 2009 that migrant organizer Danilo Benalo of the Center for Filipino Seafarers (CENTERFILS) was harassed to death by military operatives who approached him the day before, showing him a lengthy dossier of his supposed political activities and warning him that the security of his family is at stake.

On January 4, 2010, four elements of the 1st Community Development Company of the Philippine Army visited the house of Allan Monterde, Vice President of Samahan ng mga Mamamayan ng Baseco (SMB), Tondo Manila. They asked him for information about SMB and insisted on getting a copy of the list of members and organizers of the SMB. Allan is worried and fears for his and his family’s safety because since 2006, when military elements were first deployed in the area, human rights violations became rampant. In November 2006, soldiers from the 202nd IBPA took part in the harassment of residents during the demolition of the south rail area.

And more recently, in the morning of January 7, 2010, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary-General for the National Capital Region (NCR) Cesar Lopez Dionido, while with his 2-year old son at a Park in Manila, was approached by military operatives who forcibly gave him a mobile phone and told him to do intelligence work for the military „if he doesn’t want to be revisited by uniformed men in the coming days“.

The above cases are deplorable and reveal a pattern of military "terror intimidation tactics" that are meant not only to persecute the direct victims but to frighten others, as well.

The Arroyo administration thru its military arm is laying the groundwork for the intensification of political repression in time for the election season. That way, it can dismiss cases of violence as merely election-related, and not instances of a long-term campaign of political repression against the people. As of 10 December 2009, its record of human rights violations include more than 1,118 extrajudicial killings, 204 enforced disappearances, 1,026 victims of torture and the detention of more than 200 political prisoners since 2001.

We stand in solidarity with those who seek justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and with all those who work peacefully for democracy and in defence of others’ rights. Together, we will boldly assert our rights as individuals and as a people.

We will not let the Arroyo administration continue to get away with these heinous acts.

We demand:

• Ensure that immediate, impartial and thorough investigation into the above cases are carried out, with a view to publishing the findings and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
• Put an end to all acts of harassment against all human rights defenders (and refrain from involving family members in scare tactics); and address the culture of impunity and make those responsible for Maguindanao atrocities and human rights violations accountable.
• Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the Philippines.

# Courriel Organisation Surname Name Date Ville Comment
1 PINAS FIRST Amora Glenn 04 February 2010 11:27 Vienna
2 Sarmiento Manuel 05 February 2010 00:35
3 migrante europe unlayao felipe 12 February 2010 05:40 vienna
4 Migrante Austria Carreon Elmo 18 February 2010 23:43 Vienna
 

     
List of items forbidden by the military
     
           
           


?Justice must be done for the Morong 43
By Christine Van Rompuy
A nurse and sister of European Union President ?Herman Van Rompuy

I demand that President Gloria Arroyo Macapagal to immediately release the 43 health workers who are illegally detained at Camp Capinpin.

As a nurse who has visited the Philippines, I personally know and note that the organizations of these detained health workers do an excellent job. They provide primary health care in the poorest areas
of the Philippines. They are brave men and women who defy very difficult circumstances to help their fellow citizens.

I object strongly to their illegal arrest and detention without a warrant. I am horrified upon learning the torture they have endured.

I also strongly protest against the impunity that allowed 1,070 political killings and 202 disappearances in recent years and that plague popular movements in the Philippines. Justice must be done.

Reference:
Dr. Wim De Ceukelaire
?My mobile: +32484119231
Landline: +3222092355

 

--------------------------------------------

FIL-AM WOMEN CALL ON PHILIPPINE MILITARY TO STOP THE TORTURE AND HARASSMENT OF MOTHERS AND PREGNANT WOMEN

Health Care Workers Should Be Released To Their Families And Communities Who Rely On Them For Health Care Given The Government’s Neglect Of This Basic Need

Contact: Valerie Francisco, Vice Chair, GABRIELA USA, fire.nyc@gmail.com

Filipino women member organizations of GABRIELA USA across the United States demand the release of the 43 illegally detained healthcare workers. Of the 43 healthcare workers, 26 are women including a woman doctor and midwife, and two are pregnant. Most of the healthcare workers are peasant women from various poor communities that were taking classes on first aid and basic healthcare. However, the Philippine military justifies the illegal arrest, detainment, and torture by claiming that they are members of the New People's Army.

For a great majority of poor women and children in the provinces as well as urban poor areas, community healthcare workers provide the only access to basic healthcare, education, and prevention services because it is not being provided by the government. The ratio of doctors to patients in the Philippines, according to the Department of Health, is at 1:30,000.

These healthcare workers should be praised and supported for their work in their local communities. Instead, they have been illegally detained and maltreated with forms of torture and sexual harassment. During their detainment, they were also denied access to food and bathroom privileges, and subject to inhumane treatment. They were also blindfolded and handcuffed for days on end. In this process, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has even defied the Philippine Supreme Court’s writ of habeas corpus, an order that compels them to present the 43 community health workers.

“While so many nurses and doctors have left for greener pastures to the United States and other countries, these community healthcare workers have chosen to stay and serve the poor. Many of them are mothers who have volunteered their time out of their busy schedules from working on their farms and taking care of their children to serve their communities with basic healthcare. They should not be criminalized. The real terrorism that has plagued our country is a broken, fascist government that has denied basic necessities like healthcare to the majority of the people.” stated Raquel Redondiez, chairperson of GABRIELA USA, chapter of GABRIELA Philippines.

GABRIELA USA, a national alliance of progressive Filipino women organizations, stands in solidarity with the members of 43 illegally detained healthcare workers and their families. GABRIELA-USA is an overseas chapter of GABRIELA Philippines, with Babae in San Francisco, Pinay Sa Seattle, Sisters of Gabriela Awaken in Los Angeles, and Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment in New York City.

FREE THE 43 HEALTHCARE WORKERS NOW!

JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!

STOP TORTURE AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN!

###
 

     
           
           

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- February 16, 2010.

Reference: Ryan Leano, Secretary General - Sandiwa, The National Alliance of Fil AmYouth. Sandiwa.national@gmail.com

Saving Lives is never a Crime: Fil Am Youth Demands the release of the 43 Now!

The National Alliance of Filipino American Youth (Sandiwa-US) is outraged by the prolonged detention and urgently demands the Immediate and unconditional release of 43 Health workers illegally arrested and detained in Rizal Province, Philippines.

A group composed of 43 community health workers, was arrested and is being held without outside contact by units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police. The incident took place 6:15PM on February 6 in Morong, Rizal, at a compound owned by Dr. Melecia Velmonte, a highly regarded member of the Philippine medical community. These health workers were undergoing training for a community outreach project of the Community Medicine Foundation Inc (COMMED) and the Council for Health and Development (CHD) called First Responders Training.

Sandiwa’s Vice President of International affairs, Joana Quiambao states “It was reported that the community health workers have been beaten, sexually harassed, and one of the doctors was subjected to electrocution. Since 2001, such acts of torture have plagued the country under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's administration. As Filipino youth here in the U.S., we've become familiar of such issues regarding human rights and the stories of victims who were students, medical workers, teachers, journalists, women, and children in our mother country. We are aware of our tax dollars used as military aid to the Philippines which fund these violations. Unafraid, we remain vigilant and demand the realization of the Anti Torture 2009 and to stop US military aid in the Philippines".

The military contingent broke into the compound and manhandled the occupants, brushing aside requests for any sort of clearance or search warrant. The occupants were threatened with firearms, afterwards the 43 individuals were then bound and taken by the armed forces to Camp Capinpin in Tanay and prevented from having any sort of communication with the outside world and no access to aid or legal counsel.

“When we evaluate such acts of illegal arrests, torture, and killings, there's no wonder why so many Filipinos, specifically youth, are fleeing the country in search for work or to pursue a better life. Meanwhile, the very few who chose to stay in order to provide the people with services that the government failed to deliver are subject to persecution,” added Quiambao.

Time is crucial! Ten days have passed and still the Morong 43 is at their captor’s mercy, undeniably there is international indignation. The Philippine government has failed to provide basic health and public services to its marginalized communities. It has only profited in sending over 3000 Filipinos abroad daily, leaving behind very few health workers willing and able to serve the Filipino citizenry. As products of continuous migration, SANDIWA, the National Alliance of Filipino American Youth joins the migrants, workers, students, youth, church people, professionals and the rest of the international community in the thunderous uproar to release the Morong 43 and persecution of the real criminals; the perpetrators of torture and human rights violations.

“The incident demonstrates another sad state on how government forces are able to trample human rights with impunity. Our US tax dollars must stop funding actions such as this which are clear violations of Philippine laws, but occur regularly at the command of government officials - a clear subversion upon the democratic ideals upon which the nation was founded on,” stated Anne Beryl Corotan the National Chairperson of the Sandiwa. “Selfless people like the Morong 43 who are simply trying to save, preserve and protect the health and wellness of the marginalized must be protected, NOT CRIMINALIZED,” ended Corotan. ###

SUPPORT BY DOING THE FOLLOWING:
REPOST< EMAIL< SPREAD FAR AND WIDE! and get everyone to sign the online petition

http://www.petitiononline.com/FreeD43/petition.html


Karapatan Recommended action endorsed by NAFCON-SANDIWA USA:
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 (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462 (+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 +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 +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 (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chr.delima@yahoo.com


GMA STOP THE ILLEGAL ABDUCTION AND DETENTION OF COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS!

JUSTICE FOR ALL VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS UNDER THE ARROYO REGIME!

NO TO US MILITARY AID THAT SUPPORTS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATORS

     
     
     
     
           
           

 

THE DOCTOR IS IN (JAIL)'
by Nickson Austria

My lacrimal glands are overworked with anger as I write this.

Just recently a group of 43 health workers and close friends were arrested in a farmhouse in Morong, Rizal for conducting trainings in health care. Amongst them are 2 doctors, one a surgeon from the south having taken time off his busy clinic schedule for his “retirement” and the other a mother of 2 her youngest an 11-month old, taking time off “moonlighting” from different hospitals, both opting to spend their time training community health workers serving in areas so far flung that the words “Marcos” and “Philippines” fail to ring a bell amongst locals. I am no sucker of ad misericordiams and so are Drs Meri and Alex. In fact if you ask them they will never consider themselves as heroes though their efforts are not a bit less heroic. In times when most of our colleagues opt to stay in carpeted air-conditioned clinics earning big bucks for their services, some actually a handful of others volunteer to hold clinics in waiting sheds, farmhouses and even under the trees to help those who have neglected for so long in exchange for smiles and salamat, docs . Furthermore these doctors did the extra mile training community health workers to impart their knowledge and skills in the hope to broaden the base of an already dwindling number of skilled personnel ready to render services in the barrios. Quite outrageously, the AFP thanks them with illegal detention, trumped up charges on top of physical and mental torture.

Also one of these "bomb- making experts" is Mama Del or Del Overa, a 60 something health worker who has no public declaration as to her age for obvious reasons. Mama Del is a health professional but by the way I know her I sincerely doubt her capacity to understand the complexities of making bombs or even to entertain thoughts of making such for the creation of mass hysteria to jeopardize the elections as per AFP claims. Though terrorists can really be masters of deception, they still follow common/practical sense. A feeble sixty something lola who if my memory serves me right does not even know to navigate the internet, as a member of an elite group of explosive specialists and assassins? Who is next Rosa Rosal harboring weapons of mass destruction in the Red Cross blood banks? I am appalled with the absurd conclusions of the AFP’s intelligence service or the obvious lack of intelligence in the AFP itself. They must at least have done a profile check of the people they are about to arrest. The list of these unlikely suspects totals to all 43 and they are all real people like us.

The AFP is also setting a dangerous precedent to the conduct of future search and arrests for matters of the state. Armed with a search warrant issued by a Cavite RTC they raided a farmhouse in Morong, Rizal. These dimwits in the AFP took the name Regional Trial Court quite literally and expanded the jurisdiction of the Cavite branch to the entire Southern Tagalog which is of course absurd in legal parlance. The Velmontes have every right to refuse the execution of the warrant for it violates the simplest judicial protocols on jurisdiction, which states that the warrant should have been issued by a Rizal RTC. Even the address written in the warrant was unclear, it only stated Bgy Maybangkal, Morong, Rizal and nowhere in it was the Velmonte farm mentioned. If it were to be followed, the entire barangay can be searched which is absurd and reminiscent of martial law. Also the AFP claimed to have an arrest warrant for a certain Mr. Conde who happens to be not one of the 43. These people are being detained for orders not valid and clearly not intended for them. If this is how the AFP executes the law, anyone of us can be searched, arrested and detained anywhere we are in the Philippines for a warrant issued against a certain Ping Lacson.

I am a doctor and not lawyer but somehow there seems to be something gravely wrong if this continues to be the conduct of things. Just to drive it home, the AFP has no right to serve the warrant as these people they alleged to be doing illegal activities are non combatants and unarmed. Even if it were a subversion case, the basis which of by the way is no longer in existence, the PNP should be the implementing agency and they should be detained by the BJMP and not the AFP.

Lastly I am also concerned on the impact of these arrests to the future of community medicine. Given the current situation, low compensation, physical isolation, political instability and lack of career growth options have already taken their toll on the few kindred souls who stay in the far flung barrios. Adding illegal arrests, torture and harassment plus the serious threats to our lives, I doubt if a barrio based practice remains to be one of the career options for any of our young doctors and medical students. In the end as always the underserved communities are the ones in the receiving end of this tragedy, tao na naman ang talo.

There is but one way to at least do some damage control, it is for the AFP to apologize for their errors, to punish those who abused their authority and to FREE THE 43. NOW.

(guys, sorry reflex rxn ko lang to nakakainis tlga tong gobyernong to. at nakakalaungkot na wala tayong magawa..)

 

     

Families of Morong 43 detianees at the Supreme Court

 

           
VIDEO CLIPS
   
   
Army Hose Down Morong 43 Relatives The Morong 43 on Storyline
   
AFP drowns out picket to free Morong 43 with loud music.mp4 IBC News Tonight - Pia Cayetano on 'Morong 43'
   
alleged torture on morong 43 Hospital Workers Call for the Release of Morong 43
   
Human Rights Commission to Investigate Army on Morong 43 Surface and Release the Abducted Health Workers
   
Morong 43 sa Court of Appeals.wmv  
           
           
           
     
       
       
   
 
   
   
     
■    Satur Ocampo - Liza Maza Campaign Jingle ■    Satur Ocampo Jingle ■    Liza Maza Jingle
     
■    JIngle in Cebuano ■    Jingle in Ilongo ■    JIngle in Tagalog
     
■    Sasaturn na tayo    
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