The MEDICAL ACTION GROUP, INC (MAG) strongly condemns the murder of another public health worker who was selflessly serving the country at these times when his service was needed the most.
Dr. George Repique Jr., had just finished his hospital duty at the General Emilio Aguinaldo Memorial Hospital (GEAMH) in Trece Martires when he was attacked and killed by unidentified riding-in-tandem assailants. He is the third doctor killed in five months.
A member of the University of the Philippines – College of Medicine class of 1993, Dr. Repique worked as a community health doctor for many years before being appointed as provincial health officer of the Province of Cavite, a position he served until his untimely death.
The death of Dr. Rapique happened while the health community is still mourning the loss of Dr. Dreyfuss Perlas and Dr. Shahid Jaja Sinolinding, both also murdered by yet to be identified assailants. These murders are a cause for alarm as attacks against public health workers remain unabated and unresolved.
This only shows the prevailing culture of violence under the climate of impunity, which is undermining the effort of the Duterte administration to make the society safer by eliminating the proliferation of crime through its bloody “war on drugs” campaign.
The issue of protecting public health workers demands for URGENT ACTION. Health professionals who risk their lives in the line of duty while saving the lives of others need to be protected.
We therefore call on the government to conduct thorough investigations towards the speedy resolutions of these cases, and bring those responsible to justice. We hope that the government will not dismiss them as isolated cases but instead prioritize protecting frontline health workers against any form of violence as it is akin to protecting people’s right to health.
We also demand that the government fulfill its obligation in ensuring the delivery of vital health services by taking necessary measures to help improve the working conditions of health workers around the country and guarantee their security and benefits.
Amending the Magna Carta for Public Health Workers to have strong provisions that will ensure the safety and well-being of government health workers assigned in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) is just one step. However, it requires the collaborative efforts of all sectors to put a stop on these senseless killings by helping public health workers do what they do best – serving the poor and the needy by providing much needed basic health services.
MAG calls on the health sector to unite in the steadfast commitment and collective action to defend their rights and welfare while selflessly serving the public towards the attainment of the right to health for all.
July 24, 2016