Quezon City, Philippines — For almost eight months now, the 43 health workers, collectively known as the ‘Morong 43’ have been languishing in jail because they have been accused to be members of the New People’s Army (NPA). They left behind children, parents, siblings, and people longing for caring and healing hands they could always count on.
Dr. Eleanor A. Jara, Council for Health and Development’s (CHD) Executive Director explained that the Morong 43 are dedicated volunteers who are always at the front line of primary health care delivery. They provide much-needed health services in barangays and sitios where government services are never heard of. They are armed not with rifles and ammunitions but with stethoscope, first-aid kit, and a burning desire to serve the poor, she said.
She furthered that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and their cohorts will cross all boundaries of law and reason to prove that those volunteer health workers are indeed bomb-makers. In an interview by the media, AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta, Jr. said that they are ready to “cooperate” with the Department of Justice’s review and provide “evidence” that the 43 are indeed NPAs.
“The people will not be surprised at all if the AFP will produce a hundred or a thousand evidence and witnesses. After all, the military has long proven that evidences and legal papers can be manufactured as what they did when they planted bombs and produced a defective search warrant,” Dr. Jara said.
She added that no matter how one masks the truth and weave a web of lies, the truth will slowly reveal itself to unravel something that no amount of manufactured evidence can conceal.
Despite the military’s atrocities, she said that they remain steadfast because and that they will win the struggle together with colleagues in the health profession, human rights advocates, church people, the people they served, and patriotic government officials standing by what is true and just.
“The truth will set the Morong 43 free,” she concluded.
Dr. Merry Mia Clamor, a physician with the Council for Health and Development and one of the Morong 43, examines a sick child during a medical mission in Guihulgnan, Negros Oriental, in September, 2008.