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Philippines - Most Dangerous Place for Health Workers, Too?

Updated on February 11, 2010
Relatives of abducted Morong 43 Health Workers, Doctors and Nurses rally in front of RP Military Camp
Relatives of abducted Morong 43 Health Workers, Doctors and Nurses rally in front of RP Military Camp


February 10, 2010

RP, most dangerous place for health workers too?

Health Care Without Harm-Southeast Asia (HCWH-SEA) condemns the harassment and detention of 43 health workers while in a training seminar in Morong, Rizal.

“The health care workers are doing their duty training community health workers so that health services would reach far flung areas,” said Merci Ferrer, Executive Director of HCWH-SEA.

“The military has a duty to protect our citizenry but they have no business harassing and even detaining these workers who are likewise doing their obligations.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) arrested 43 people including two doctors, a nurse, a midwife and some health workers and accused them of being communist rebels who were training in bomb-making. The health workers were training community volunteers.

“Reports of the dire torture that the detainees had to go through even though the military did not find any subversive materials in the health workers belongings are unthinkable,” added Ferrer. “Women and old people were not spared from this torture.”

According to reports, the detainees were forced to admit to being members of the communist New People’s Army and subjected to continuous torture.

“Unlike other doctors who flew abroad for greener pastures, these doctors and other health workers stayed and chose to serve in the country. As a matter of fact, they are serving the poor communities that are normally beset of health services. The least the military could do is pay them respect and not scare away other health workers,” Ferrer added.

“The country already has a reputation of being the most dangerous place for journalists. We must not aim for the most dangerous place for health workers category.”

“We affirm our solidarity with the detained health workers and their families. May this be the last incident of its kind.”

HCWH is an international coalition of more than 470 organizations in 52 countries, working to transform the health care sector worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment. For more information on HCWH-SEA, see


Submit a Comment
  • MercuryNewsOnline profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Happy to read your inspiring words. I am interested in joining the writers' group. Thanks Duchess.

  • profile image

    Duchess OBlunt 

    9 years ago

    Keep doing what you are doing, and make sure others see this.

  • MercuryNewsOnline profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Thanks for the comment Micky. Hopefully, when these "monsters" realize many people are watching they will stop these atrocities...just hoping.

  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 

    9 years ago

    "Humans who ain't human!" Great hub. Thank you sir.

  • MercuryNewsOnline profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Thanks Lynda for the trust you have in my writing ability. It will take me sometime to fully explain what is happening in the Philippines. Yes, the culture of impunity is pervasive in my homeland. There is in reality an ongoing clamour for radical changes by freedom loving Filipinos. The US-Marcos dictatorial rule was overthrown by the People's Power Revolution but has been replaced by another atrocious and murderous US-backed regime of Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo who desperately wants to cling to power at any costs. The legacy of these regimes is the creation of a military monster which cannot be reigned in by civil authority or the Philippine judicial system under the present political atmosphere.

    I have not finished reading the book of Naomi Klein "The Shock Doctrine. The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" but what caught my attention is the section on page 46 of the book which explains the raid and torture suffered by the health workers, doctors and nurses who are helping poor communities in the Philippines:

    "Wherever the Kubark method has been taught, certain clear patterns - all designed to induce, deepen and sustain shock - have emerged: prisoners are captured in the most jarring and disorienting way possible, late at night or in early morning raids, as the manual instructs. They are immediately hooded or blindfolded, stripped and beaten, then subjected to some form of sensory deprivation. And from Guatemala to Honduras, Vietnam to Iran, the Philippines to Chile, the use of electroshock is ubiquitous."

    This is what is happening to these 43 Morong health workers, doctors and nurses and we all must work together to stop these Kubark torture, interrogation and cruel science of pain inflicted on peoples around the world for more than three centuries.

  • lmmartin profile image


    9 years ago from Alberta and Florida

    Great coverage Mercury, but I repeat, I think you should write an article on the background of these stories -- what is happening in this country that such atrocities can occur. Is it some form of attempted revolution? Yes, I know I can google the info and find tons, but I think it's right up your alley. I vote for you for the job.


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