Free the Morong 43 Health Workers

    This is a previous campaign of IADL. The Morong 43 were released in December 2010.

    On February 6, 2010, 43 health workers taking part in the First Responders Training were illegally arrested by combined elements from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police in Morong, Rizal.

    The health workers, who became known as the “Morong 43”, included two doctors, a nurse, two midwives, and volunteer community health workers. At the time of their arrest, they were training for medical interventions in far flung areas during times of disasters. The training was sponsored by Community Medicine Foundation (COMMED) and Council for Health and Development (CHD), two organizations known for community health work.

    Using a defective search warrant, the illegal raid was conducted in gross violations of standard procedures and basic human rights.

    The health workers were not informed of the reasons for their arrest and for five days, were denied their right to counsel even during the inquest proceedings.

    The military falsely accused the health workers of being members of the New Peoples Army of the Communist Party of the Philippines, allegedly of conducting a bomb making training. During their detention in Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal, the military committed various atrocities, including prolonged psychological, physical, torture and sexual harassment. As such, the military was able to coerce five health workers to become “state witnesses” and turn against their colleagues.

    The 43 health workers did not get justice under the Arroyo government. At present, the 38 are still detained at Camp Bagong Diwa while waiting for the Supreme Court of the Philippines to act on their appeal. The legal battle and mass actions will continue until justice is finally served to the 43 health workers.

    IADL joined the international campaign to free the Morong 43 health workers.

    IADL bureau members and delegates to the Colap V conference held in Manila in September 2010 visited the Morong 43 in prison.

    Delegation photos: