Health groups demand DOH action on slain Negros Oriental health worker

June 29, 2015

Healthworkers call on the government to stop Oplan Bayanihan and end the human rights violations in the Philippines.

Healthworkers call on the government to stop Oplan Bayanihan and end the human rights violations in the Philippines. Image from CHD

Different health groups from the network of the Council for Health and Development (CHD)-Community Based Health Programs (CBHP) and Health Action for Human Rights (HAHR) troop to the Department of Health (DOH) today to highlight their cry for justice for brutally murdered health worker Rosalie Calago and her husband Endrick Calago. The groups also requested an audience with DOH Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin to demand immediate action on the Calago murders and other attacks against health workers.

“The entire national network of CBHPs, health, and human rights advocates are saddened and outraged that despite the Philippines being a party and a signatory to almost all major international humanitarian and human rights laws and treaties, the government cannot protect its own health workers and LGU officials,” said Dr. Barcelon, chairperson of the Council for Health and Development’s (CHD) Board of Trustees.

Where the government fails to deliver even the most basic health services, Community Health Workers (CHWs) and health practitioners of CBHPs bridge the gaps in the delivery of health care in our country where 7 out of 10 people die without ever seeing a doctor and where the lack of access to health services are particularly severe among the poor and the disadvantaged. They serve the poor full time and without any monetary remuneration.

“But instead of support and protection, CHWs are persecuted because they have clearly shown to the community the systemic roots of their ill-health and taught them the need for unity and action to resolve these problems, they are witch-hunted and implicated with the New People’s Army. Tagged guilty by association with the guerrilla movement waging a civil war, health workers are subjected to state-backed vilification campaigns. Worse, they are tortured, illegally detained, arrested on trumped up charges, and killed,” declared Dr. Barcelon.

The health groups challenge Secretary Garin and the DOH as the highest health policy making body of the land, to call for an “impartial, thorough, and speedy investigation so that justice may be served and the people behind the crime will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

She further declared that their call is clear, “we hold the DOH and the Aquino administration accountable to the human rights abuses inflicted on health workers.”###
Reference: Magdalena Barcelon, M.D., Chairperson, Board of Trustees of the Council for Health and Development, 0927-9259413