The last sentence of the last paragraph in our press release dated February 8 entitled "MAG condemns the illegal arrest and detetion of health workers" originally read: "...to release immediately the remaining 12 health rights defenders..." After verifying the information, there were no releases made by the military, thus, all the forty-three (43) arrested health workers are still in their custody.
The Medical Action Group (MAG) supports the initiatives of Dr. Esperanza Cabral of the Department of Health (DOH) in her endeavour to fight the escalating incidence of HIV/AIDS in the country through condom distribution at Dangwa, Sampaloc last February 14.
MAG lauds the unflinching sincerity and steadfast commitment of Dr. Cabral and the entire agency, in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. With her efforts, the public health interest prevailed.
The Medical Action Group, Inc. (MAG) is in solidarity with other health organizations in denouncing the direct assault, detention and torture of more than forty health professionals and health workers last February 6, 2010 at Morong, Rizal province and condemning a new wave of repression against health rights defenders.
"This is a blunt show of the AFPs disrespect to the people's right to health. Their incapacity and failure to curb insurgency in the communities have led them to target the civilians and medical professionals, and whoever is handy," said Edeliza Hernandez, executive director of the Medical Action Group.
According to information, the victims were subjected to various forms of mental and physical torture.
"The ill humane treatment inflicted is clearly a straight face violation of the Anti-torture law and is a criminal offense. The AFP and the Arroyo government is guilty without doubt in desecrating human rights.", Hernandez added.
With these, MAG supports the call to the health community to speak out and bring its forces affront when systematic attacks are carried on and when the people's right to health are being curtailed.
The Medical Action Group (MAG) expresses its concern and at the same time, strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest, detention and harassment of forty-three (43) physicans, nurses and health workers last Saturday, February 6, who were participating in a health training at a farmhouse in Morong, Rizal.
According to the information received, the arresting team lead by Col. Aurelio Balalad of Rizal Philipipine National Police (PNP), together with hundreds of heavily armed elements of the military and police forced their way to the farmhouse owned by Dr. Melecia Velmonte without showing a search nor arrest warrant. The victims were frisked, handcuffed, questioned and were brought to Camp Capinpin, headquarters of the 202nd Infantry Brigade.