Tag Archives: HEAD

Health NGO to AFP: Educational attainment not a hindrance to learn health skills

By the Council for Health and Development

Health groups today slammed the military’s malicious statement regarding some of the health worker-trainees’ capacity to learn health skills with regard to their educational attainment. Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato, spokesperson of the Armed Forces’ 2nd Infantry Division said in an interview that the trainees’ profiles revealed that some of them reached only elementary and high school levels while only a very few were college levels and graduates. Thus, why give them health training?

“For 37 years, community-based health program practitioners have been training volunteers who would like to become Community Health Workers (CHWs) regardless of their educational attainment. We do not discriminate against a person’s educational background as long as he or she has the heart to serve other people in the villages. In fact, we have CHWs who are illiterate but are efficient and respected healers in their communities,” Dr. Eleanor A. Jara, Council for Health and Development’s Executive Director said.

In a country where 7 out of 10 Filipinos die without ever seeing a doctor and where public health services lack or are inaccessible, Dr. Jara said that it is CHD’s and COMMED’s mandate to bring health into the people’s hands.

“This means, our health professionals and health workers go out of their way to reach underserved communities and organize health committees and train Community Health Workers. That way, the people themselves can prevent and cure common illnesses and practice first-aid even with the absence of government services in their communities,” Dr. Jara explained.

She added that health skills should not be an exclusive property of a few who can afford to buy it — it should be learned by as many people as possible as long as they have the passion to use that knowledge to serve their fellowmen especially the poor and the oppressed.

Tuition fee in Metro Manila medical schools ranges from P55,000 to P85,000 per semester.

“It is a shame that the AFP discriminates the capacity of our people to learn health skills just because they only reached elementary or high school levels. The AFP should be the ones ashamed of themselves for persecuting health workers that genuinely serve the people. If the Armed Forces is questioning and suspicious as to why we train these people without high educational attainment, the answer is there is not enough health workers and health services in the country and the blame is on the government’s incapacity and skewed priorities,” Dr. Jara ended.##

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Fisherfolk clients of 43 arrested health workers to mount 5-vehicle caravan in Rizal to press release

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Rey Manangan and Billy Javier Reyes

Manila, Philippines-Regular fisherfolk clients of 43 doctors and health workers arrested by state security forces on Saturday in a resort in Morong, Rizal will stage a five-vehicle caravan to press for the immediate and unconditional release of whom they called “the people’s doctors and medical personnel”.

In a press statement, fisherfolk activists belonging to Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) will be joined by progressive party list group Anakpawis and Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLMM) in a 5 jeep caravan along the lake towns of Morong, Teresa, Baras, Cardona, Binangonan, Angono and Taytay all in Rizal province.

“We are their regular clients who are not charge of any single cent since time immemorial. These are doctors and health workers who take care of people’s health and they are not terrorists or bomb makers as maliciously and categorically tagged by the terrorist people in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and their criminal masters- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzalez,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The five-vehicle caravan will start in Binangonan and will proceed to Morong, Barras, Teresa, Cardona, Angono and Taytay towns in Rizal. Aside from demanding the release of 43 medical personnel, Pamalakaya’s caravan will also highlight the demand of the lake people to stop all anti-fisherfolk and anti-environment projects across Laguna Lake, including the halt on demolition activities and the pullout of military troops in different areas of the lake.

The caravan will also campaign for Anakpawis party list and the senatorial bids of Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Party list Rep. Liza Maza.

Pamalakaya’s Hicap asserted the arrest of 43 doctors and community based health workers is line with the legal offensive ordered by defense secretary and security adviser Gonzalez issued last week to commence the final staging of the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya 2.

“The the arrest of 43 medical volunteers was presided by Gonzalez’s order last week for all government units to heighten its legal offensive against members of militant groups as Oplan Bantay Laya 2 ends with the term of President Macapagal-Arroyo in June 30, 2010.

Hicap said Secretary Gonzalez and the national security gang in Malacanang had agreed to pursue and intensify the fabrication of trump up charges against leaders and members of militant organizations which the military branded as front organizations of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the New People’s Army.

“What happen in Morong, Rizal was a wholesale political abduction, political kidnapping, gross disrespect of people’s constitutional and basic human rights and all-out political persecution done in the name of a brutal, corrupt and evil regime of Mrs. Arroyo and her extrajudicial killing republic,” the Pamalakaya leader said.#

Health workers provide free medical services and medicines to the people. They are not terrorists as what the AFP want them to appear with the public


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President GMA accused of obstructing relief assistance to Ondoy victims

President GMA accused of obstructing relief assistance to Ondoy victims

by Gene Nisperos, contributor.

“Barely a week after government was caught flat-footed by the devastation wrought by Typhoon Ondoy, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo now wants to centralize all foreign assistance under her control.”

In an e-mail sent to The Pamalakaya Times, the activist group Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) charged President Arroyo of obstructing relief assistance to compel donors to forward all cash and other donations to the government.

HEAD strongly criticized the recent directive from Mrs. Arroyo that foreign assistance and donations will only be tax-exempt if these are coursed through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“Non-government organizations, cause-oriented groups, and even private citizens have risen to the occasion and done their share to help amidst government’s gross inability to address the situation,” said Dr. Geneve Rivera, HEAD secretary-general.

Rivera added: “These groups have mobilized their own resources, both local and foreign, in order to aid victims. Why does Mrs. Arroyo want to stifle these efforts?”

According to HEAD, the Arroyo directive not only sends the wrong message to would-be donors but also raises strong suspicions regarding her real motive.

“Given the history of corruption and profligate spending intimately associated with the Arroyo administration, people are concerned where foreign donations, especially the millions of monetary assistance, will go?” Added Dr. Rivera.

The health group lamented that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration cannot even account where its P10 billion Calamity Assistance and Rehabilitation Fund went. The HEAD said rather than dampen the enthusiasm of private efforts and obstruct aid to those that government cannot even reach, Mrs. Arroyo should expand the limited and token government actions.

“For instance, more than just releasing the 13th month pay of government employees or allowing emergency loans, which will still be a burden to be paid for eventually, government should provide a P20,000 calamity assistance “bonus” to government employees,” the group said.

“This will really help rank-and-file employees, especially those whose salaries are very low, instead of dipping into their 13th month pay,” HEAD stressed. The group also said President Arroyo should also encourage private employers and big business to match this amount and provide for their workers, particularly the daily wage-earners.

“While the focus is on Metro Manila, where damage to life and property is tremendous, farmers and fisherfolk in outlying areas have suffered just as much and also require much assistance. Most vulnerable are the marginalized ones, whose lives are not caught on television or the internet,” the health group said.

“The least that Mrs. Arroyo can do is to commiserate with, rather than exploit, the misery of the Filipino people. “Those who have less are helping out because they know that these are hard times. In contrast, Mrs. Arroyo cannot even hide her disgust at the throngs who flocked to Malacañang to seek help. Her callousness is worse than Typhoon Ondoy itself!,” HEAD statement added.

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Health group scores “Euthanasia” like health budget in 2010

Health group scores “Euthanasia” like health budget in 2010

Manila, Philippines- If the 2010 national budget for health is a measure of government priorities, then the Arroyo administration is more interested in killing rather than saving Filipinos, an activist health group said on Friday.

In a press statement, a copy of which was obtained by The Pamalakaya Times, the Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) said the government is spending more for every bullet used by its military forces than for the health of every Filipino.

“By the Department of Health’s own admission, per capita allocation is only 252.49 pesos per Filipino per year,” said Dr. Geneve Rivera, HEAD secretary-general.

“This is 0.70 centavos per Filipino per day, much less than the amount spent per bullet of the standard M-16 assault rifle used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” she added.

Dr. Rivera claimed of the P1.541 trillion proposed national budget for 2010, the amount allocated for health is only P33.678 billion or 2.2% of the national budget. The Department of National Defense will be getting around P73.6 billion, which is more than twice the DOH budget.

Rivera asserted that throughout the last eight years, the Arroyo administration has consistently allocated 5% of its national budget to the DND, compared to the measly 1.8% average given to the DOH.

In fact, according to HEAD, government spending on health has consistently decreased while the DND budget has consistently increased. Despite the “bigger” figure of the DOH budget for 2010, its real or nominal value (after considering inflation) is only P22.715 billion, much less than its 2009 budget of P23.666 billion.

In essence, while the DND budget will increase by P8.6 billion in 2010, the DOH budget will actually decrease by P951 million!

“So while doctors and health workers struggle every day to save the life of poor Filipinos, the Arroyo government is spending more to find new and creative ways of killing them.” Dr. Rivera lamented.

“The preferential treatment given to the AFP in particular and the state security forces in general belie any claim by the Arroyo regime that it is upholding the health and life of Filipinos.”

“While public hospitals are wallowing in their state of neglect and disrepair all over the country, the government is relentlessly waging war in the countryside. Either way, Filipinos are dying. This is euthanasia on a national scale. This is ‘merciless’ killing.” ###

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