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From the frontlines of Camp Capinpin

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From the Frontlines of Camp Capinpin
Update from Kuusela Hilo, BAYAN-USA Vice Chair

Tuesday, February 16, 2010.

Dear friends and supporters of the 43 Philippine health workers –

Delegates of the 2010 UMC CAL PAC Pastoral and Solidarity visit spent the day in solidarity with the families of the 43 health workers that were illegally arrested, detained and tortured by the Philippine military in Rizal, Philippines on February 6, 2010. Joining more than 30 family members of the detained health workers, various church organizations including the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, KARAPATAN and Committee for Health and Development (CHD), we held a liturgical service outside the gates of Camp Capinpin. Solidarity messages from various organizations including the UMC CAL PAC Conference and BAYAN USA were offered to the families, colleagues and friends of the 43 who are still being held in the military camp.

We traveled more than 2 hours away from the Metro Manila area to get to Camp Capinpin, coursing through the ups and downs of the highway cutting through the province of Rizal. One of the family members had traveled all the way from the Middle East in order to be able to support his loved ones. Another family was only able travel to Camp Capinpin today, after more than 10 days of their child being detained and tortured by the military. This family was only able to come now because they did not have the means to travel from their province to the camp. And despite the sacrifices of the 43 health workers’ families, the lack of sleep, the hardships of financing their visit to their loved ones, the military continued to bully the families by purposely delaying these families from seeing their loved ones until the last few minutes of the allowed visiting hours. And after having been assembled in front of the military camp since 10 AM, it was only at 4 PM, after another round of protest started, that the military chaplain allowed the families to start coming inside. If it this hard for families to see their loved ones, imagine the difficulty of these 43 detained health workers to see their legal counsel.

I will write more about our day yesterday, but I wanted to let you all know that we need to keep up the pressure to enforce our basic human rights. The military and the Arroyo government have been able to get away with anything as long as it is in the name of the war on terror. This harassment and witch hunt in the Philippines must stop. The people that dedicate their lives to serve the poor, the majority of the Filipino people, should not be persecuted in a so-called democratic country.



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