To: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
We, the undersigned, pledge our unity and commitment to work for the immediate and unconditional release of the 43 health workers that were frisked, blindfolded and forcibly taken by combined heavily armed elements of the 202nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army and the Rizal Philippine National Police and taken to Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal on the morning of February 6, 2010.
We condemn the Armed Forces’ and Philippine National Police’s action of planting evidences such as guns and ammunitions in the training facility. The military’s claim that the 43 were holding a bomb-making training is a blatant lie. The 43 were holding a health skills training aimed to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and skills of health professionals and Community Health Workers to develop their capacities in providing health care services to the poorest of the poor.
We further condemn the physical and mental torture that the health workers have undergone on the hands of the military. This has caused us immeasurable anguish and anger against the perpetrators and others in power who allow the commitment of such acts of brutality against health workers and other humanitarian workers.
We believe that they are legitimate staffs of the Community Medicine Development Foundation and Council for Health and Development while the others are Community Health Workers.
Therefore, we demand that:
- As Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo order the immediate and unconditional release of the 43 health workers;
- The rights of the health workers be protected and upheld in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in which the Philippine government is a signatory;
- Torture in all its form be immediately stopped;
- All of the 43 health workers, now illegally detained at Camp Capinpin be immediately and unconditionally released;
- Justice be served to the health workers and their aggrieved families; and
- People’s right to health be upheld and persecution of health workers stopped.
Together, we stand united, insist people’s right to health, and demand for the immediate and unconditional release of our colleagues and Community Health Workers. We pledge to exert all our efforts and resources until we see the day that justice is served.