Morong 43 relatives, supporters mount a caravan to Camp Bagong Diwa
TOGETHER with members of the Free the 43 Health Workers Alliance, the national human rights alliance Karapatan, today joined a convoy of vehicles that composed a caravan from the QC Memorial Circle to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City where the Morong 43 community health workers are spending their ninth month of illegal detention.
The caravan participated in by different organizations and sectors is being conducted to express support to the healthworkers in their firm struggle for freedom as well as those of other political prisoners languishing in different detention centers in the country and who are persecurted for their political beliefs. The participants are calling to “Free the 43; Free all poilitical Prisoners!”
It can be recalled that the health workers were arrested by combined police and Philippine Army troops on February 6, 2010 while conducting a health training in a resort in Morong, Rizal using a very defective irregular warrant issued by a judge from Cavite. The named person in the warrant was not even a member of the Morong 43 nor was he a resident of the resort that was raided. The healthworkers were subjected to torture and degrading treatment and their rights are continually violated that even PNoy has declared their arrest and detention as a “fruit of a poisonous tree,” a situation, he said, which “must be rectified” by the court. Five of the Morong 43 were subjected to extreme torture to turn them against their companions, separated from the majority of the 43 and are still under military detention in Camp Capinpin, Tanay.
An ecumenical service will be conducted with the detained health workers at the CBD chapel, to be followed by a solidarity lunch.
Karapatan joins the other organizations in pressing for their immediate release following the review made by Justice Secretary Leila De Lima. “We are asking why is it taking too long for the Philippine government to release the illegally detained health workers? Justice delayed is clearly justice denied. President Aquino should be made accountable for this travesty of human rights,” Karapatan acting secretary-general Jigs Clamor said.
Several rights groups, here and abroad, have expressed support for the campaign to release the health workers, 26 of whom are women, two of whom, pregnant at the time of their arrest, have given birth while in detention.
In Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a petition-signing for the release of the Morong 43 was led by actress Gina Alajar while promoting her film about victims of enforced disappearances “Dukot”.
Philippine embassies and consulates were picketed in Ottawa and Vancouver in Canada, New York and Los Angeles in the US, and in Denmark. Protest actions were held in San Francisco in the US, Whangarei in New Zealand, Jeddah, Riyadh and Khobar in the Middle East and in Japan.