US-based Nurses Call for Release of Morong 43
Release of Morong 43 sought by US Nurses
A 150,000-strong organization of Filipino-American nurses based in the United States joined the call for the release of 43 health workers.
The 43 health workers or Morong 43 were arrested on February 6 while holding a health skills training in Morong, Rizal. They have been detained at Camp Capinpin and tagged as members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
The National Nurses United (NUU) wrote to US State Secretary Hillary Clinton expressing deep concern to the detention of the Morong 43.
In a letter signed by Co-Presidents, Deborah Burger, Karen Higgins, and Jean Ross, the NUU said that, “their [Morong 43's] continued detention is a travesty of justice in a country where more than 3,000 nurses and doctors leave the country yearly to seek better lives abroad where five out of 10 Filipinos go from cradle to death without seeing a doctor or a nurse.”
The NNU commended the dedication of the 43 health workers who opted to serve the health needs of its people instead of going abroad to seek for a better life.
According to the Council for Health and Development’s (CHD) statement, the NUU particularly mentioned Gary Liberal, one of the 43 detainees, an operating room nurse from Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital who is also the national auditor of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW).
The NUU also expressed their concern on the reports of the psychological and physical torture and were interrogated without the presence of their legal counsel.
“We stand in solidarity with the international community in condemning this act arbitrariness and callousness on the part of the Philippine military and the government,” it said.
Dr. Eleanor Jara, executive director of the CHD and one of the spokespersons of the Free the 43 Health Workers Now! Alliance, said that they were very pleased with the overwhelming support from the international community in the form of support letters, mobilizations, fasting and other symbolic actions. These outpouring of support, said Jara, “serves as an inspiration to all the detainees, their relatives and all their colleagues and everyone working for their release.”
Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, one 43 detainees, wrote from detention to express her gratitude for the support coming from around the world.
Among these organizations are Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR), Red Mundial de Mujeres por los Derechos Reproductivos Réseau Mondial de Femmes por les Droits Reproductifs (Netherlands), Organizing Centre for Social and Economic Justice (Canada), Health Care Without Harm-Southeast Asia, Kasammako (Korea), Peoples Health Movement. By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL