By CPP Information Bureau
The Communist Party of the Philippines today joined in the widespread condemnation of the government military forces’ raid of a grassroots medical training conference being held at a farmhouse in Morong, Rizal and the illegal arrest and torture of 43 doctor and nurse trainors and volunteer health trainees.
Lambasting the arrest as an attack against progressive medical professionals and volunteer grassroots health workers who have dedicated their knowledge and lives to providing health care to the people, the CPP demanded that the victims be immediately released and the raiders be made accountable for their brazen violation of the victims’ human rights.
The training was part of an initiative by the Council for Health and Development (CHD), a non-government organization that is dedicated to the cause of uplifting the health status of the poor, setting up of grassroots health programs and training volunteer grassroots health workers.
Last February 6, a battalion of soldiers from the Philippine Army's 202nd Infantry Brigade accompanied by the local police forcibly entered and raided the farmhouse where the training was being held.
The CPP cited reports that the raid was conducted with the full force of a military operation, using four 6 x 6 military trucks, two Armored Personnel Carriers and other vehicles with no plate numbers or whose plates were either covered by tape or smeared with mud.
"To justify the raid," said the CPP, "the raiders brought with them a fake search warrant to look for a certain 'Mario Conde' who is unknown to the household and community. They also brought with them grenades, firearms and the like which they planted at the scene to justify the fabrication of charges that the arrested health workers were training to make bombs."
The 43 health workers are currently detained at Camp Capinpin, headquarters of the 202nd IBde. According to their lawyers, colleagues and relatives, the arrested health personnel were handcuffed, blindfolded and tortured for more than 36 hours and were denied adequate food and bathroom privileges.
"The arrest, detention and torture of the 43 health workers is an outright violation of human rights," said the CPP. "It was carried out in outright contempt of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) which the Philippine government signed with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in 1998."
"It is utterly deplorable that this blanket arrest targeted progressive health professionals and volunteer community health workers who have been attending to the health care needs of the people, especially the impoverished who have long been suffering from the lack of health services due to the ruling regimes' criminal neglect," said the CPP.