Monday, February 22, 2010

Online petition to free the Morong 43 - Please sign!




Please sign the online petition in support of upholding the rights of 43 community health workers arrested by the military in Morong, Rizal because they were being suspected to be members of the New People's Army (NPA)- a local insurgency group. More on the "Morong 43" here and here.

Please sign the online petition here: PetitionOnline.com/FreeD43. Help spread the word.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

UNICEF USA Haiti updates - 30 days after the quake

Thirty days after the quake that struck Haiti, the UNICEF USA Fund shares the highlights of their work there, from providing adequate safe water supply to restoring immunization programs to helping kids go back to school. As television crews leave and the world gets distracted by American Idol and the Oscars, the work in Haiti continues and UNICEF remains committed to stay the course.

No help is too small to matter; it's still all hands on deck. Please visit UNICEFusa.org/haitiquake to be part of this life-changing mission.

Please view the videos below to see where and how you will make an impact on Haitian lives.





Sunday, February 14, 2010




As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17 NIV

I thank the Lord for your decade-plus friendship, one that goes beyond words, best experienced rather than merely seen.

HBD F =]

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

FREE THE MORONG 43!


(Statement of the Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights KARAPATAN, February 7, 2010)

Human rights alliance Karapatan strongly denounces the terrorism being foisted on groups critical of the Arroyo regime’s policies and human rights violations in the run-up to the May elections. Karapatan condemns the recent illegal arrest of more than 40 health workers and doctors, including the wife of Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor, Dr. Mary Mia, who were conducting First Responders Training in Morong, Rizal early Saturday, February 6.

At 6:15 Saturday morning, at least 300 heavily armed elements of the combined forces of the 202nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army (202IBPA) and the Rizal Provincial Philippine National Police (PNP) forced their way into the farmhouse of Dr. Melecia Velmonte in Morong, Rizal where the training was being held.

According to initial information gathered by Karapatan, the health workers, 26 of whom are female, were made to line up, their photos taken, were frisked, blindfolded, handcuffed, and were forcibly brought to Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal. The victims were also interrogated by the soldiers, while another was taking videos of the whole process. Col. Aurelio Baladad, commanding officer of the 202nd IBPA, alleged that the victims are members of the New People's Army (NPA).

"The PNP and AFP conducted the operation based on a defective search warrant allegedly for illegal firearms addressed to the property of a certain Mario Condes, that was issued by Judge Cesar A. Mangrobang of the Imus, Cavite Regional Trial Court. But in the first place, Condes is not the owner of the property that was raided,” Clamor stated.

Clamor also belied the military’s claims that the healthcare workers were making explosives. “My wife, Dr. Mary Mia, is the director of Community Health Development (CHD) for Health Education and Training Services, and has been providing health services as a community doctor for a long time,” he said.

As of writing, no formal charges have been filed against the doctors and health workers, and they are still being illegally detained in Camp Capinpin. The victims’ relatives and lawyers were not allowed inside the camp Saturday afternoon.

"The arms and explosives supposedly found by the military and police in the house, even the election paraphernalias, were planted by the perpetrators during their so-called ‘search operations.’ The military were not supervised by the owner of the house, the have the victims and the residents are lined up outside the buildings,” Clamor, who joined the team that initially gathered data, said.

“My wife and her colleagues should immediately be released, the military are illegally detaining them,” demanded Clamor.

Meanwhile, Lovella de Castro, Karapatan Secretary General added that training communty health workers have become a necessity because of the government's failure to address health care problems of the Filipinos.

"We should thank these doctors who chose to practice their profession in places where they are mostly needed. They train community heallth workers for free, as they are just being true to the oath of saving lives. These community health workers are also volunteers who just intend to provide medical services for the people," de Castro said.

Instead, under the counter-insurgecy program Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), these doctors and volunteer health workers are considered enemies of the state. "As Mrs. Arroyo's OBL 2 and term of office is coming to an end, the more they have become desperate. Civilians have fallen targets of military operations wherein all due process are taken for granted,” de Castro added.

De Castro called on the people to be more vigilant, and to watch out for the numbered days of GMA in power. "We in the human rights community will not rest until we have held Arroyo accountable to all her crimes against the Filipino people." de Castro concluded

Sunday, February 07, 2010

UNICEF USA Haiti updates



(Photo above copyright of UNICEF/2010/Tidey)


I'm happy to have received an email last week from UNICEF United State Fund's CEO, Caryl Stern, updating contributors about the progress of their work in Haiti. They gave a snapshot of their work in Foyer L'escale Orphanage in Port-au-Prince; the kids did look indeed happier, if not healthier. )

In the past week alone, UNICEF:

Launched a campaign to immunize 500,000 children against measles, diphtheria, and tetanus;

Provided clean drinking water to over a half a million people daily;

Installed latrines, bringing the total of new sanitation facilities to 750; and

Delivered personal kits to 50,000 children without parental care.

As the world shifts its attention to other concerns and Haiti occupies less and less airtime and newspaper space, UNICEF remains committed to helping Haitians recover from the January 12th quake. I hope we can also continue to do our bit.