Low education does not justify arrest of Morong 43
‘Undereducated’ health volunteers fill the gap in govt’s inadequate health services
“The ensuing black propaganda and innuendos continuously churned out by state forces on the case of the 43 health workers shows complete ignorance on community health work. This not only reeks of elitism but a desperately malicious attempt to discredit these health workers”, said Dr. Julie Caguiat, one of the spokespersons of the FREE THE 43 HEALTH WORKERS NOW! Alliance.
“Indicting volunteer community health workers merely out of their educational background, projecting them as lowly and incapable does not point to anything valid as regards to the arrest.”
Dr. Caguiat reacted on a recently published statement in a newspaper which quoted Superintendent Jerry Protacio of the Calabarzon Police saying only 10 were professionals and the rest were “undereducated” making them unfit to perform health work. “Such malicious statements of state forces can never justify their accusations that these 43 are New People’s Army (NPA) members, and will never justify the illegal arrests and torture in court nor make a significant dent in public opinion.
“The police should stop reinforcing the failed propaganda machine of the AFP with regard to the Morong 43,” Dr. Caguiat said.
She furthered that at a time when the government is more inclined to spend public funds for guns and bullets and military than to put up and fund more barangay health centers or barrio clinics or bring more medical professionals in far flung areas, these community health workers are the ones who bridge the gap.
Dr. Caguiat explained the case of the 43 detained health workers has been widely supported professionals groups and leading medical organizations such as the Philippine Medical Association, Philippine Nurses Association, and the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges. Even the DOH with its Magna Carta of Health Workers (Republic Act 7305) legitimizes NGO trained health workers and recognizes their big role in primary health care.
“Long before the establishment of PITAHC and even the internationally recognized Alma Ata Declaration of 1978, community based health programs (CBHPs) have thrived since 1973 and helped establish alternative health care systems in the barrios. CBHPs number to more than 50 member programs. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the effort of community based health programs and its community health workers,” the doctor argued.
“Instead of using mockery and brandishing imprudence against the low educational attainment of some of our community health workers, these government mouthpieces should ask themselves what they have done to improve the lives of their countrymen,” Dr. Caguiat ended.###