Justice for Dr. Perlas, Protect all medical doctors
We, the Medical Action Group (MAG), health and human rights organization, is saddened by the news on the death of 31-year old Dr. Dreyfuss Bolivar Perlas, the Municipal Health Officer (MHO) of municipality of Sapad, province of Lanao del Norte, under the government’s Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) program.
According to reports, Dr. Perlas was shot dead while riding his motorbike in Barangay Maranding Annex, Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte, on Wednesday night, March 1. Based on reports, he came from a medical mission in Sapad town and was on his way home to Barangay Maranding where he was renting a house.
Dr. Perlas, who chose to serve the poor, was a native of Batan town in Aklan province. He was a biology graduate of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Los Baños in 2007 and earned his medical degree from the West Visayas State University in Iloilo City in 2011.
We are extending our sincerest condolences to Dr. Perlas’ family. His death was a great loss to the health and medical community, and to the communities of Lanao del Norte.
MAG deplores this act of violence. We take note that injustice takes place in this country on a daily basis and the “culture of killing” has reached the health sector.
Dr. Perlas’ death is more than another number or name in the long line of medical doctors who risked and ultimately lost their lives in defending people's right to health. His death is but one chapter in the story of many medical doctors who empowered whole communities.
There has been increasing recognition that attacks on and interference with health care violates the right to health. We take note that violence and threats against health workers, along with interference with access to health care, impedes the ability of people from receiving the health services they need. Targeted attacks on health undermine and sometimes destroy health systems and infrastructure, force health workers to flee areas where they are most needed.
We call on the government to ensure that alleged perpetrator on the killing of Dr. Perlas is effectively and promptly investigated and, ensure that families of Dr. Perlas receive adequate compensation. Likewise, we urge the government to strengthen preventive measures to enhance and promote the safety and protection of all medical and health personnel particularly those in remote communities and in situations of armed conflict where majority of DTTB doctors are deployed.