AFP says "DOH confirms 'Morong 43' are not health workers"

March 19, 2010 10:10 pm 

MANILA, March 19 – Representatives from the Department of Health (DOH), led by Secretary Esperanza Cabral, and delegates from the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) visited the 2nd Infantry Division on Thursday, a military spokesman reported Friday.

AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos said the visit was intended to verify the authenticity of the so-called ‘Morong 43’ of the New People’s Army (NPA).

"The PMA wanted to be assured that legitimate doctors assigned in rural areas will not be subjected to harassment. In their visit, they were able to confirm that the 43 are not health workers," said Burgos.

Burgos said the 2nd Infantry Division guaranteed the DOH and the PMA that all its operations were based on intelligence reports and do not violate human rights may it be combat or checkpoint operations.

Burgos told Col. Agapito Nagrampa, Civil Military Operations Group commanding officer, that the visiting professional health organizations were very impressed to find out that contrary to news reports, the Armed Forces of the Philippines respected and upheld human rights.

"One of the doctors who visited said ' We should have believed our AFP the first time. We should not have come here. (The Morong 43) are just using us. Had we only trusted our Armed Forces'," said Burgos.

Burgos said the members of the DOH and PMA also went to the Army Station Hospital as part of the visit. The DOH pledged a new building for hospital wards while the PMA committed medical services such as psychosocial processing for soldiers who were victims of trauma encounters.

"The AFP and the visiting health organizations vowed to help each other out in future endeavors," said Burgos.(PNA) RMA/VR

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