17 December 2010
KMU hails Morong 43 release
Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno hailed today the release of the 33 of the 43 health workers who were illegally arrested and detained last February 6 at a private residence in Morong, Rizal on the suspicion that they are members of the New People’s Army.
“We are rejoicing over the health workers’ release from detention. We are glad that after ten months and seven days of detention, they are free at last and can come home to their families for Christmas. We are glad that they can resume their work in serving the Filipino workers and people,” said Lito Ustarez, KMU executive vice-chairperson.
“The fact that five remain in military custody and five others are still in detention – because of questionable old cases and being namesakes of those in old warrants – does not undermine the fact that this is a victory of the Filipino workers and people. We will not rest until all of them are free,” Ustarez added.
KMU said that it is the unremitting efforts of the health workers’ themselves, their families, lawyers, comrades in the health sector, progressive organizations, significant personalities, the international community and the Filipino workers and people that paved the way for the Morong 43’s release.
“While we are thankful to President Noynoy Aquino for finally ordering to drop the charges against the Morong 43, it is mainly the collective efforts of justice-loving Filipinos which yielded this victory. Given the anti-poor bias of the country’s justice system and government, it is the people who struggled for their release who deserve recognition,” Ustarez said.
The labor center also criticized the Armed Forces of the Philippines for persisting in its analysis of the Morong 43. “We feel no remorse,” said Army spokesman Col. Antonio Parlade. He maintains that the Morong 43 were NPAs who were holding a training on making explosives at the time of their arrest.
“Instead of apologizing and punishing those responsible for the Morong 43’s illegal arrest and detention, the military is still trying to save face for its shameful actions. Worse, it is issuing a thinly veiled threat against the 43, putting their service to the poor in danger,” Ustarez said.
“The AFP is showing the country and the world that it is an enemy, not a champion, of human rights,” he added.
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