DAVAO CITY – Members of the Health Alliance Democracy (Head) called on the government to stop intimidation and harassment experienced by activists and health workers in a protest action in front of the Court of Appeals today.
The court conducted a hearing on their petition for a Writ of Amparo and Writ of Habeas Data which seeks to stop intimidations and harassments against HEAD officers and staff, and members and officers of other organizations like the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Migrante, Kabataan Parytlist and National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP).
On June 25, 2015, Dr. Darby Santiago, HEAD chairperson, received a death threat saying “Isang bala ka lang! Ingat ka doc!” Another HEAD officer, Imelda Gerali received a series of threatening text messages saying she was being followed. Staff members also received threatening calls at the HEAD office and they experienced surveillance activities from June 25 to August 28 of this year.
HEAD considers that the series of threatening text messages and surveillance activities are intended to harass its officers and staff, to prevent HEAD from pursuing their legitimate goals and programs. HEAD conducts health trainings, fora and seminars on health and related issues, medical missions, relief operations, health campaigns, and provides health and medical services to patients, especially to organized groups or sectors.
Last September 3, HEAD was among the group that filed the petition to the Supreme Court. The high court granted the Writ of Amparo and ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to reply through the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals conducts the hearing to decide on the case.
“We, doctors, nurses and health workers of HEAD, have always been active in helping poor people, especially those from the far-flung areas who are neglected by state agencies. We conduct medical and relief missions, but now we are subjected to harassments by the same state forces that abandoned their responsibility to the people,” said Dr. Santiago.
Dr. Joseph Carabeo, HEAD secretary general, said that they are a progressive health organization “concerned with the health situation of the poor, deprived and oppressed sectors.”
He said they believe that the health problems of the people are mainly the result of societal problems. (davaotoday.com)