Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Morong 43 dismayed over Commission on Appointment’s decision to promote Gen. Segovia

Members of the Morong 43 were dismayed over the Court of Appeals’ (CoA) ruling to promote Lt. Gen. Jorge Segovia to the grade of Major General today despite strong opposition from the Morong 43 health workers, health NGO Council for Health and Development (CHD) and human rights group Karapatan.

Although we did not have high expectations, we were still hoping that the Court of Appeals will give weight to our opposition because of the grave human rights violations we experienced in the hands of the military unit that Gen. Segovia led. But we were dismayed after finding out that the ‘deliberation’ the CoA called us in for was in fact a mere presentation of our opposition which obviously did not warrant any level of consideration from the CoA members who attended the meeting,” Dr. Alex Montes, one of the Morong 43 said.

Dr. Montes cited pending cases filed before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, the complaint for torture, Violation of Republic Act 7438 (Rights of Persons Arrested, etc.), and more recently, a criminal complaint filed by several members of the Morong 43 before the Department of Justice on Violation of the Anti-Torture Law, Violation of Republic Act 7610 and Robbery and had Gen. Segovia and Col. Aurelio Baladad as among the respondents as solid reasons why General Segovia should not be promoted.

The acts of torture were committed with the knowledge, acquiescence, tolerance, sanction, approval, and/or even upon the orders of Gen. Segovia, as then commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army. Gen. Segovia had publicly defended and justified his and his officers’ treatment of the Morong 43,” the doctors’ complaint read.

Upon the arrest of the Morong 43 on February 6, 2010, the arresting officers from the 202nd Infantry Brigade headed by Col. Aurelio Baladad which is under the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army headed by Gen. Segovia, together with members of the Rizal Police Provincial Office, deliberately failed to apprise the Morong 43 of their right to remain silent and their right to consult a lawyer of their own choice.

Before they were boarded into different vehicles, the arresting officers under the command and supervision of Col. Baladad, blindfolded the members of the Morong 43 and had their hands tied at their back. The blindfolds and handcuffs were kept for 36 hours straight. During this time and up to May 1, 2010 when they were transferred to Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Taguig, the Morong 43 were subjected to different forms of torture.

During the first few days of detention at Camp Capinpin, the Morong 43 were deprived of their right to be visited by their immediate relatives, to consult with their lawyers, and they were not given the opportunity to communicate with them.

Under RA 9745 or the “Anti-Torture Law,” Gen. Segovia is liable as the immediate commanding officer of the above-stated military unit. By his own act, omission or negligence, it led, assisted, abetted or allowed, directly or indirectly, in the commission of the acts of torture.

The Commission on Appointment asserted that its job is to determine whether an officer is “fit and qualified” for the appointment, hence, its members moved for the acceptance of the appointment of Gen. Segovia. Dr. Eleanor Jara, executive director of CHD argued that an officer should not be deemed “fit and qualified” for an appointment if his records show that he was a consenting body to the torture and human rights violation of 43 health workers. Pending cases against Segovia clearly show that he is a man of questionable integrity and does not deserve a promotion, Dr. Jara furthered.

However disappointing the CoA’s decision on the promotion of a torturer and human rights violator such as Gen. Segovia turned out to be, our groups and supporters will never give up in pursuing justice for the Morong 43 and all victims of human rights violations. We will make sure that all those who committed the crimes against us will be punished under the law – including Gen. Segovia,” Dr. Montes said.##

References:
Dr. Alex S. Montes and Dr. Eleanor A. Jara
0927-9259413 | 929-8109

Morong 43 to Commission on Appointments: No Promotion and appointment for torturers and human rights violators!

A Morong 43 doctor and the group that sponsored the First Responders’ Health Skills Training in Morong in 2010 will appear before the Commission on Appointments today to oppose the promotion of Lt. Gen. (now Maj. Gen.) Jorge Segovia because of pending cases filed by members of the Morong 43 for violation of their Constitutional rights as well as violations of several special penal laws.

In their complaints, Dr. Alex Montes one of the volunteer doctors in the 2010 Morong training and Dr. Eleanor Jara, executive director of Council for Health and Development (CHD) cited pending cases filed before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, the complaint for torture, Violation of Republic Act 7438 (Rights of Persons Arrested, etc.), and more recently, a criminal complaint filed by several members of the Morong 43 before the Department of Justice on Violation of the Anti-Torture Law, Violation of Republic Act 7610 and Robbery and had Lt. Gen. Segovia and Col. Aurelio Baladad as among the respondents.

The acts of torture were committed with the knowledge, acquiescence, tolerance, sanction, approval, and/or even upon the orders of Gen. Segovia, as then commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army. Gen. Segovia had publicly defended and justified his and his officers’ treatment of the Morong 43,” the complaint further read. Upon the arrest of the Morong 43 on February 6, 2010, the arresting officers from the 202nd Infantry Brigade headed by Col. Aurelio Baladad which is under the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army headed by Gen. Segovia, together with members of the Rizal Police Provincial Office, deliberately failed to apprise the Morong 43 of their right to remain silent and their right to consult a lawyer of their own choice.

Before they were boarded into different vehicles, the arresting officers under the command and supervision of Col. Baladad, blindfolded the members of the Morong 43 and had their hands tied at their back. The blindfolds and handcuffs were kept for 36 hours straight. During this time and up to May 1, 2010 when they were transferred to Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Taguig, the Morong 43 were subjected to different forms of torture.

During the first few days of detention at Camp Capinpin, the Morong 43 were deprived of their right to be visited by their immediate relatives, to consult with their lawyers, and they were not given the opportunity to communicate with them.

Under RA 9745 or the “Anti-Torture Law,” Gen. Segovia is liable as the immediate commanding officer of the above-stated military unit. By his own act, omission or negligence, it led, assisted, abetted or allowed, directly or indirectly, in the commission of the acts of torture.

On the basis of our sworn affidavits and existing laws that uphold human rights, we urge the Commission on Appointments not to confirm/reject the promotion/appointment of Gen. Segovia,” Dr. Montes said.##

Related Links

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Southwest monsoon inundates hundreds of areas in Luzon, displaces thousands

Dubbed as havoc almost comparable to Tropical Storm (TS) Ondoy, southwest monsoon enhanced by TS Haikui brought torrential rains, landslide, and inundation to most parts of Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and some parts of Benguet province in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).


As of 7:00 am today, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that the number of affected families totaled to 267,850 or 1,230,813 individuals from 1,261 baranggays. At 11:00 pm yesterday, a total of 11 persons were reported dead while 4 were injured due to a landslide incident in Lower Bayanihan, Brgy. Commonwealth, Quezon City. Two (2) victims were noted in Region III.

Flooded areas totaled to 90 including 17 in the National Capital Region (NCR), 3 in Region I, 49 in Region III, and 21 in Region IV-A. One hundred twenty six (126) roads remain impassable in Regions I, III, IV-A, VI, CAR, and NCR.
The massive inundation damaged at least 535 houses. The totally destroyed were 466 while those partially damaged numbered to 64 all in Regions III, IV-B and VI. State of calamity were declared in the provinces of Laguna, Bataan, Pampanga, and Zambales.

Initial reports from the government’s Project Noah (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) showed that the volume of rainfall surpassed that of TS Ondoy in 2009. Based on their initial data recorded in Quezon City, there was 472 millimeters of accumulated 22-hour rainfall from 4:45 pm of August 6 to 3:00 pm of August 7. However, Ondoy managed to pack more blow because most of its rainfall came at a much shorter span of 6 hours, the report said.

Thousands in evacuation centers
NDRRMC reported that 248 evacuation centers housed 24,357 families or 107,900 persons to date. The cities of Marikina, Caloocan, Muntinlupa, and Quezon registered the most numbers of evacuees respectively. Since the rains began 2 days ago, the number of evacuated persons peeked at 134,311 in 366 evacuation centers. However, some families have returned to their homes despite the risks as soon as the rainfall eased a little.
Hundreds more were not able vacate to vacate their homes on time because the waters rose in a span of a few minutes, radio reports said.

Appeal for help
The affected population, mostly from vulnerable segments of society, is in dire need of relief. Canned food, sleeping mats and blankets, clothes, and water are of immediate necessity. Medicines for common illnesses are also needed. Kind-hearted souls with time to spare, especially medical and allied health students and practitioners, are also needed for medical and relief delivery missions.

Donations may be coursed through Samahang Operasyong Sagip (SOS) and Council for Health and Development (CHD):

Drop-off point
35 Examiner Street, West Triangle Homes, Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax: (+632) 929-8109

Peso Account
SAMAHANG OPERASYONG SAGIP, Inc.
Metrobank: Savings Account # 636-3-63608747-6
Swift Code: MBTCPHMM
Examiner-Quezon Avenue Branch
Quezon City, Philippines

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

NOP to PNoy: Philhealth’s phase-out of charity wards anti-poor

The Network Opposed to Privatization (NOP) expressed its rage over Health Undersecretary Teodoro Herbosa’s announcement that charity wards in public hospitals will be phased out next year replacingthem with “full health-care coverage” under the state insurance firm Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or PhilHealth.

NOP maintains that Philhealth together with the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is nothing but a grand deception scheme by the Aquino government under its “Kalusugan Pangkalahatan” Program. Despite Herbosa’s claim that Philhealth will provide “free hospitalization, medicines, and laboratory services” under its “No Balance, No Billing” policy, current conditions and actual billing policies in public hospitals prove otherwise.

“Poor patients are forced to shell out hard-earned cash to pay for medicines and laboratory fees even in public hospitals even though they are Philhealth members,” the group said. Philhealth’s benefit coverage is very limited and covers only a small fraction of a patient’s hospital bill. Aside from limited coverage, Philhealth’s 5.2 million poor beneficiaries enrolled in its indigent program falls far from Social Weather Station’s (SWS) survey revealing that there is an estimated 11.1 million poor Filipino families.

By removing charity wards in public hospitals, the government will only make matters worse for the sick poor. NOP challenges PNoy to take a stand for marginalized Filipinos and not accede to the interests of private investors in the corporatization scheme.##

Reference:

Sean Velchez, R.N.
Convenor
NETWORK OPPOSED TO PRIVATIZATION
0927-9259413 / (+632) 929-8109


RELATED ARTICLES:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

CHD condemns the brutal killing of Willem Geertman

Council for Health and Development condemns in the strongest possible terms, the brutal killing of Willem Geertman, a Dutch NGO worker, executive director of Alay Bayan, Inc. (ABI), and beloved colleague of CBHPs. He led ABI into forming a health program to support and empower the farmers of Hacienda Luisita in Central Luzon. He and his staff sought the assistance of CHD in 2011 to provide basic health skills trainings for Community Health Workers (CHWs) and formation of health committees to contribute in the improvement of the farmer-communities’ health situation there. This recent killing is an affront to people’s health.
He led ABI into forming a health program to support and empower the farmers of Hacienda Luisita in Central Luzon. PHOTO: ABI

He was mercilessly shot at the back by two motorcycle-riding men inside the compound of his office in #54 Rue de Paree St., L & S Subdivision, Angeles City, Pampanga at around 12:20 to 1:00 pm on July 3, 2012. He was rushed to the nearby Sacred Heart Medical Center but died shortly after.

Aside from ABI’s health program, Willem Geertman is also an advocate. He was a staunch figure in numerous campaigns against large-scale mining, climate change, and other forms of development aggression in Central Luzon. He and his staff were tireless in conducting trainings for disaster-preparedness as well as relief and rehabilitation efforts in their service communities.

Geertman is the second European development worker killed under the Aquino presidency. Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio was killed in a similar manner in Mindanao last October 17, 2011. Both were strong advocates of anti-mining campaigns and loved the Filipino people as if they were their own.

CHD and its 60 CBHPs all over the country are deeply saddened that a dear colleague has once again suffered under the hands of killers believed to be military agents. In 2006, Dr. Chandu Claver and family were ambushed in Kalinga, Cordillera. Dr. Claver survived the attack but his wife died of fatal gunshot wounds. In 2009, two doctors were also killed followed by a slay attempt to Ronald Capitanea, a Community Health Worker in Negros Occidental in 2010. Early in February 2010, forty-three health workers were illegally arrested, detained, and tortured for 10 months before being released due to massive legal and political pressure on the Aquino government. In 2011, staff of the Community Health Education, Services and Training in the Cordillera Region (CHESTCORE) were continuously threatened and harassed by unknown individuals believed to be military agents in their service communities, homes, and office.

CHD holds the culture of impunity tolerated by the Aquino government liable for the death of Geertman including the human rights violations to health professionals and community health workers in the past. The program of “peace and development” deceptively posed by Oplan Bayanihan is actually a blanket protection given to state military and their agents to protect big and foreign business interests degrading the environment and the lives of poor people.

His death comes one month after the United Nations Universal Periodic Review in Geneva where representatives of the Philippine government was questioned for their failure to eliminate extrajudicial killings, torture, and enforced disappearances in the country. Despite being a party to human rights instruments and international conventions, the people have yet to see a victim given justice and a perpetrator punished in the fullest extent of the law.

CHD calls on the Philippine government to immediately and thoroughly investigate Geertman’s killing and punish the perpetrators.##

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bring aid directly to people of remote quake hit areas

By Carla Gomez

Bring the food and water directly to the people of remote earthquake hit areas of Negros Oriental before they die from hunger. That was what representatives of non government groups delivering aid to the area appealed yesterday. The people of La Libertad and Guihulgan are also urgently in need of psychosocial therapy to lessen their trauma, especially the children, they also said.

Girlie Cabailo, a nurse of the Negros Island Health Integrated Program, said their two mountain clinics in Guihulngan were destroyed by the earthquake, but they continue to deliver health services to the people in the remote areas affected.

She said most of the adults they treated were suffering from hypertension and hyperacidity, brought about by trauma.

Children drop to the ground, shiver and weep every time an aftershock occurs, Roan Tuayon of the Children’s Rehabilitation Center also said. They need urgent help to cope with their trauma on top of the other ailments they are suffering from, such as colds and fever brought about by being exposed, without having place to live in, Cabailo said.

The people are living beneath tarpaulins with old rice sacks and cardboard for their beds, she said.

They need blankets, clothes, food, medicines, cooking utensils, tents and water that government is not getting to them fast enough, she said, pointing out that many living in remote areas have not been reached by relief goods.

Cabailo, Tuayon and members of Bayan Negros held a press conference in Bacolod City yesterday to launch “Oplan Help Negros”, a network of organizations spearheaded Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Negros delivering relief and medical services to affected communities in Barangay Planas in Guihulngan, Bayan Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon, said. They also aim to deliver assistance to La Libertad next.

He said they recorded 56 destroyed houses and farms, 23 damaged houses, with 23 still missing in Planas. The impoverished situation of the people in Barangay Planas has been worsened by the earthquake, Tuayon said. “If before they struggled for land to till to alleviate themselves from hunger, now they struggle to survive the killer landslide that claimed many lives, including innocent children,” he added.

The relief operations in Guihulgan has been very, very slow, the aid distribution in the first few days after the quake had been concentrated in the house of the mayor, he said. He also noted that relief assistance from the Capitol bore the name of Gov. Roel Degamo on the packages.

Don’t politicize relief operations, spare the victims of the earthquake from politics, prioritize the people,” he appealed.

Meanwhile, Guihulngan City Mayor has denied allegations of slow distribution of relief goods (Story on Oriental Page).

Tuayon also called on government agencies and the private sector to deliver the aid directly to the people. Don’t go through the politicians who are more interested in 2013 than the people, Evidente said. Let us all help each other rebuild communities in Guihulgan without politics, he said.

Marilou Alangilan of the the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and a resident of Barangay Buenavista, Guihulngan, said the president went to Guihulghan to deliver help but it has not reached the people in remote villages. We were told he gave food for work. How can people work at this time when they are worrying about where and how to rebuild their homes, she said.

Cabailo said those who wish to send relief assistance to the earthquake victims through the Negros Island Health Integrated Program [NIHIP] may bring it to their office in Purok Kabulakan, Torre Compound, Barangay Singcang Airport, Bacolod.
There was an error in this gadget