On February 6, 2010, 43 health workers taking part in the First Responders Training were illegally arrested by combined elements from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police in Morong, Rizal.
The health workers, who became known as the “Morong 43”, included two doctors, a nurse, two midwives, and volunteer community health workers. At the time of their arrest, they were training for medical interventions in far flung areas during times of disasters. The training was sponsored by Community Medicine Foundation (COMMED) and Council for Health and Development (CHD), two organizations known for community health work.
Using a defective search warrant, the illegal raid was conducted in gross violations of standard procedures and basic human rights. The health workers were not informed of the reasons for their arrest and for fi ve days, were denied their right to counsel even during the inquest proceedings.
The military falsely accused the health workers of being members of the New Peoples Army of the Communist Party of the Philippines, allegedly of conducting a bomb making training. During their detention in Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal, the military committed various atrocities, including prolonged psychological, physical, torture and sexual harassment. As such, the military was able to coerce fi ve health workers to become “state witnesses” and turn against their colleagues.
The 43 health workers did not get justice under the Arroyo government. At present, the 38 are still detained at Camp Bagong Diwa while waiting for the Supreme Court of the Philippines to act on their appeal. The legal battle and mass actions will continue until justice is fi nally served to the 43 health workers.
As an act of goodwill we appeal to president-elect Benigno Aquino III to uphold and respect human rights and free the 43 health workers and all political prisoners.
We call on all sectors of society, colleagues in the health professions, lawyers, lawmakers, political leaders across party lines, religious formations, human rights advocates, artists, and advocates and benefi ciaries of community-based health programs to join the campaign to free the 43.
We call on various national and international organizations to support the campaign, undertake advocacy work, mobilizations and call on the new administration to free the 43 health workers.
Calls and Demands
- We demand the immediate release of the Morong 43 and the dismissal of all charges against them!
- We demand an end to the systematic violation of human rights and suppression of civil liberties, the utter disregard to due process, and the extrajudicial killings. we demand that all perpetrators to be brought to justice!
- We call on all freedom-loving people to make a stand for human rights and condemn in the strongest terms the human rights violations perpetrated with impunity by the Philippine government!
What you can do:
1. Join and support the campaign activities
2. Send letters, statements calling for their release to Philippine government institutions
3. Attend, organize for a, discussion groups and other educational activities
4. Provide support services for the detainees and their families
5. Sign up for the on-line petition
6. Do lobby work
7. Raise funds for the defense of Morong 43
Financial donations can be placed in:
COUNCIL FOR HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT
Philippine National Bank
Peso Savings Account # 219-8303219
Quezon City, Philippines
Bank of Philippine Islands
US$ Account # 3144 00 5391
swift code BOPIPHMM
Tomas Morato Avenue,
Quezon City, Philippines
FREE THE 43 HEALTH WORKERS
#35 Examiner St., West Triangle Homes, Quezon City
Telefax: (+632) 929-8109
Cellphone #: 0922-499-6237
Online Petition: http://petitiononline.com/FreeD43/petition.html