GABRIELA-USA Calls for Solidarity as the 43 Health Workers Begin Hunger Strike
Day 8 of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence
Contact: Terrie Cervas,
Vice Chair of Finance – GABRIELA USA
Coordinator for Mass Campaigns – Sisters of GABRIELA, Awaken! (SiGAw!)
December 3rd, 2010 marks the first day that the 43 health workers, also referred to as the Morong 43, embark on a hunger strike in protest of their unlawful detention. Today also marks the 8th day of GABRIELA-USA’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign, on which we highlight the struggle and bravery of the Morong 43.
Nearly 10 months ago, the lives of the Morong 43 (which includes doctors, midwives, and community health workers) were violently disrupted when they were arrested based on false allegations that they are members and supporters of the New People’s Army. While under detention, the 43 have endured physical and psychological torture. Catherine Traywick, journalist and member of Sisters of GABRIELA, Awaken (SiGAw), traveled to the Philippines and personally visited the Morong 43 in the summer of 2010. The visit to the detention center and the specific experiences of the female detainees of the Morong 43 can be found in the article Traywick wrote for Ms. magazine, entitled “Defending the Rights of Detained Filipina Health Workers” (see below full article).
The families of the 43, along with community members from various local and international groups, such as nurses organizations, church groups, human rights advocates, and countless others, have worked tirelessly to demand the release of the 43. Philippine President Benigno Aquino has the ability to have all charges against the 43 health workers withdrawn, but he has not done so, despite his earlier admission that their arrest was based on a defective warrant.
In light of the fact that the Morong 43 remain unlawfully imprisoned under cruel conditions, they have decided to take on a hunger strike at the risk of their own health. The Morong 43’s statement notes, “This is the only course of action left us to end our continued illegal detention, there being no clear action by the government for our unconditional release.”
GABRIELA-USA calls on all concerned community members to stand in solidarity with the 43 and demand their immediate and unconditional release. The campaign calls on all international networks to support the Morong 43 and all political prisoners in the following ways:
- Join the hunger strike on December 6, their ten month anniversary in jail, and issue a statement of support;
- Organize a sympathy fast or a hunger strike;
- Picket the Philippine Embassy and demand freedom for the Morong 43 and other political prisoners especially Angie Ipong, Eduardo Serrano, Eduardo Sarmiento and Sandino Esguerra;
- Highlight the hunger strike in your commemoration of human rights week and December 10th – International HR Day;
- Lobby your congress representatives;
- Write your ambassadors stationed in the Philippines;
- Encourage international organizations/institutions and those in your network to send support statements to the hunger strike (addressed to Malacanang cc Philippine Embassy in your country, Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima and Karapatan);
- H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Voice: +63(2) 564 1451
Fax: +63(2) 742 1641 ; +63(2) 929 3968
- Atty. Leila De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila, Philippines
Direct Line: +63(2) 521 8344 ; +63(2) 521 3721
Trunkline: +63(2) 523 8481 loc.214
Fax: +63(2) 521-1614
- Send postcards;
- Circulate this and further announcements plus the hunger strike bulletins (visitfreethehealthworkers.blogspot.com) which will be issued from time to time;
- Solicit financial and material support for the Morong 43, other political prisoners and their families; and
- Share your ideas with others so there can be a variety of support actions.
Free the Morong 43!
Release Angie Ipong, Eduardo Serrano, Eduardo Sarmiento and Sandino Esguerra!
Free all political prisoners!