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March 21, 2010
Health Group Says AFP Desperate, Name-Drops DOH and PMA

Media Release
21 March 2010

There is no official statement from either the Department of Health or the Philippine Medical Association stating that the 43 detainees are not health workers.

According to Health Alliance for Democracy, neither the DOH nor the PMA has made any such statement and that once again, the desperate Armed Forces of the Philippines is resorting to outright lies.

“The military is deliberately misquoting or misrepresenting statements in order to draw public sympathy away from their victims,” said Dr. Geneve E. Rivera, HEAD secretary-general. “They need somebody to lend credibility to their vilification campaign against the 43 illegally detained health workers.”

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However, the detainees’ credentials belie the preposterous claims made by the AFP.

According to Dr. Rivera, “Dr. Alex Montes of Community Medicine Development Foundation (COMMED) is an elder of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP). He was the UCCP national coordinator for health services for twenty years (1986-2006). His sacrifice and service is acknowledged by his fellow church leaders here and abroad.”

Yet the AFP alleges that the mild-mannered Dr. Montes, who is more than 60 years old, is the head of a communist assassination team.

“Dr. Merry Mia is a community physician of the Council for Health and Development (CHD) since 2004. The 34-year-old doctor finished medicine at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 2001.”

“Mr. Gary Liberal is a licensed nurse working at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center. He is also currently a board member of the Operating Room Nurses Association of the Philippines (ORNAP).”

“These are the people we see every day, quietly fulfilling their sacred duties of providing healthcare to those in need. Yet, these are the people now accused by the AFP of being New People’s Army medics,” decried Dr. Rivera.

HEAD believes that the military needs to paint these health workers as enemies of the state in order to justify why they are waging a war on unarmed civilians.

“The AFP is training their guns on civilians. Their battlefield is now people’s homes. This is Oplan Bantay Laya. This atrocity must stop now!” concluded Dr. Rivera.

References:
Dr. Geneve E. Rivera, Secretary-General, HEAD
Dr. Darby S. Santiago, Chair, HEAD

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