The first batch of the Morong 43 are finally free!

Congratulations to them, and wish all of them to be free before 2011

NFS Press release, Amsterdam December 18 – 2010

The Nederlands –  Filippijnse Solidariteitsbeweging (NFS) wishes to thank everybody in Holland who helped in the campaign for the release of the “MORONG 43”. Morong 43 is the collective name of 43 health workers who were illegally arrested and detained, tortured, and falsely accused of possession of explosives by the Philippine military. After 10 months of detention, 33 of the Morong 43 were released yesterday and today, and lawyers are still working on the release  of the 10.

Strong public pressure in the Philippines and from the international community played an important role in the successful campaign for the release of the 43 health workers.

“We tried our best to gather broad support for the campaign. Today, we have a reason to celebrate and raise everybody’s hands in the air,” said NFS chairperson Theo Droog . “We hope that the release is unconditional and guarantees against harassment and attacks against them.”

It has been 10 months since the 43 health workers were arrested, tortured and held under conditions that violate their human rights.

In behalf of the Johannes Wier Stichting , Nurses & Caregivers Netherlands, Catholic Woman’s Organization, Wemos and all individuals who called for the release, we would like to send our warmest greetings to the freed Morong 43, their families and friends. We wish that the other 10 will all be free still in 2010. Most especially, we wish the two mothers and the two babies health, freedom and well-being,” added the NFS chairperson.

The two new mothers, Mercy Castro and Judilyn Oliveros among the detained health workers. The two were moved from the Bicutan detention facility and placed under hospital arrest after strong public pressure forced the military to allow the two pregnant prisoners to give birth in a hospital. One of the babies was named Priselda, after “selda” referring to the prison cell. The other one was named Morong, after the place where they were arrested.

“Health, freedom and well-being — those are our wishes, not just for the Morong 43… also for everyone,” said Droog.

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