Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Police's Closure of PGH Main Gate: Shade of Martial Law

PRESS STATEMENT
May 11, 2005


Reference: MR. JOSSEL I. EBESATE
National PRO and Manila Chapter President, All UP Workers Union
Mobile Phone No: 09189276381

The All UP Workers Union strongly condemned the barbaric acts of the Philippine National Police against the participants to the celebration of the National Health Workers Day last Friday, May 6, 2005 at the Philippine General Hospital compound. The participants, numbering about 600 who are all employees of public hospitals in Metro Manila with some support from urban poor individuals were prevented by the police from marching to the Chino Roces Bridge (Mendiola) by closing the main gate of PGH at around 9:30 AM to 12:00 noon. The gate was opened only after the voluntary, organized dispersal by the Public Health Workers at around 11:30 in the morning - the workers being fully aware and true to their calling as public servants.

The police's action had not only stopped the group from heading to Mendiola but more importantly, it proved that we are now in a state of an undeclared Martial Law. By sacrificing the services provided by PGH to the public and unduly suppress the constitutional rights of individuals – its very own public health workers at that - the police only succeeded in putting further the sitting government in a quagmire; and alienated from it, a large segment of the Public Health Workers.

It is further lamentable that this government, instead of leading the celebration of the National Health Workers Day (as declared by President Aquino in 1987), by focusing on the flight of its own Public Health Workers, what we got was political repression and the deprivation of an affordable and quality health services to our people.

The Union therefore, together with the Alliance of Health Workers’ that organizes last Friday’s activity, is appealing to all freedom loving Filipino people to join us in our crusade. Our crusade that for this government to respect our rights especially our right to health and our freedom of expression and of assembly. The incident last Friday had proven that: it is not only the provincial journalists rights and lives that were at risks, neither were the provincial and regional leaders of progressive party list groups - but all of us.

We call on Congress to investigate the said incident in PGH. Was the action of the police headed by a certain Superintendent Paglinawan and Senior Inspector Peco, an isolated case or a general policy of the state. Are we in a state of an undeclared Martial Law?

We finally call on our fellow Public Health Workers not to lose hope, instead, we must unite so that together, we forcefully carry on in our struggle for P3,000.00 across the board salary increase, implementation of the benefits under the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers (RA 7305), the Nursing Law of 2002 (RA 9173), the increase of health budget and an affordable quality health services to our people. We must be also conscious and vigilant that while we pursue our sectoral concerns, we shall not forget that our concerns were part of the aspiration of the Filipino people for a genuine development and a real change.###

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