Freedom of the Morong 43 is fruit of the people's struggle

Thirty-eight of the 43 unjustly imprisoned health workers in the Philippines have been released. The Centre d'appui des Philippines -  Centre for Philippine Concerns in Montréal, Canada salutes the courage and determination of the Morong 43 along with their supporters in the Philippines and around the globe. Struggle can and does make a difference!

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They braved indefinable forms of human rights violations so that they may live to see the day when they will finally be reunited with their families and people they serve.? The Morong 43 are finally free!

Today (December 18, 2010), ten months of roaring cries for freedom and justice voiced in different languages from all over the world bears fruit.Judge Gina Cenit Escoto, presiding judge of the Morong Regional Trial Court Branch 78 has finally released a decision late in the afternoon today to withdraw all cases filed against all of the 43 health workers.

Thirty-eight of the health workers were detained at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City since May 1 while five others remained in military custody since their illegal arrest at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal.

Relatives and supporters have been waiting anxiously outside the Morong RTC since Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima filed for a motion to withdraw the cases Monday this week. They peacefully 'picketed outside' the court building since Wednesday.

After the judge released the official decision, court staffs followed by the Morong 43 relatives and supporters proceeded to Camp Bagong Diwa, a civilian detention facility, to deliver the hard copy of the order which will facilitate the release of the detained health workers.

Registered nurse and alliance spokesperson Carlos Montemayor said that the health workers underwent a mandatory physical check-up by prison doctors for clearance, a requirement before a detainee is released from the prison camp's custody.

Nursing mothers Judielyn Oliveros and Mercy Castro were transported from the Philippine General Hospital to Camp Bagong Diwa with their newborns to undergo prison protocols before they too are finally released.

From Taguig, the health workers will proceed to Quezon City for a press conference to thank all the people, including the media for keeping the faith and not giving up on their case. Montemayor said that the Morong 43 took strength and refuge in the massive local and international support this campaign gained since day one adding the struggle to free the 43 is within the overall struggle to free all political prisoners.

"Definitely, this is not the end of their story. The international movement on the campaign for health and human rights welcomes the additional 43 people with burning fervor and inspiration," Montemayor added. ##

Alliance to support the Morong 43
Carlos Montemayor, RN
+63 922 499 6237 / +63 2 929 8109


Free the 43! Excellent video from friends in British Columbia, Canada

Excellent video production from our friends in British Columbia on the story of the 43+ health workers illegally imprisoned in the Philippines, a group known as the Morong 43. On the seventh day of their hunger strike, two have been taken to hospital and the Philippine government refuses to release the two mothers in the group who have given birth while in detention.

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43 imprisoned health workers in Philippines continue hunger strike

Warm greetings from the Philippines!

Today, December 8, 2010, the Morong 43 are on the 6th day of indefinite hunger strike to demand their immediate and unconditional release, one of them was earlier rushed to the Camp Bagong Diwa Infirmary. In other parts of the country families and supporters, including other political prisoners are also staging solidarity hunger strike and fasting to demand the release of the 43 health workers and all political prisoners.

The Filipino people and people from all over the world will never get tired of calling for the Philippine government to release the Morong 43. GABRIELA Alliance of Filipino Women is calling all women and people to join us in a solidarity fasting for the Morong 43, at the Iglesia Filipino Independiente church along Taft Avenue in Manila, where some families of the Morong 43 are also staging hunger strike and fasting. A candle lighting and noise barrage along Taft Avenue, Manila's busiest street will also follow.

Once again, we are calling on you to show our untiring support to the Morong 43. We suggest that you send messages to the Philippine President NoyNoy Aquino by posting to this websites. A simple message saying "Free the Morong 43!" would do. You can also post on his Facebook page if you have one http://www.facebook.com/presidentnoy. Let us know if you send messages.


We would like to thank all of you for your continuous support in the the struggles for justice in the Philippines. Let us continue our call to free the Morong 43 and all political prisoners.

In solidarity,
Lana Linaban
Secretary General


Call to International Networks in Support of Morong 43 and All Political prisoners

On Friday, December 3, 2010, the Morong 43 started their hunger strike for freedom. December 6, 2010 would be the 10th month of their illegal arrest and detention.

We demand their immediate and unconditional release.  The 43 health workers, who were attending a grassroots medical training, are victims of illegal search, arrest, detention and torture.  They are ridiculously charged with illegal possession of explosives. The pieces of evidence against them are either planted or inadmissible since these are, in legal jurisprudence, “fruits of the poisonous tree”.

Charges against them can be withdrawn if only President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III will heed the advice of respected legal minds including the Secretary of Justice. That he continues to pass the burden to courts can either mean ignorance of the legal process or propensity for sticking his head in the sand.

Aside from the main venue of the hunger strike at Camp Bagong Diwa, a Support the M43 Hunger Strike Center has been set up in Manila for the families, other relatives, friends and multi-sectoral networks and individuals who will be on sympathy hunger strike or fasting. Cultural groups plan to perform at the center.
Political prisoners in various detention centers and prisons in different provinces will hold their own fasting and/or sympathy act such as noise barrage and others. Their actions aim to cap the year’s campaign to free all political prisoners especially those who have long been deprived of their liberty like Angie Ipong in Misamis Occidental, Eduardo Serrano and Eduardo Sarmiento in Camp Crame and Sandino Esguerra in Camp Bagong Diwa.

Let us drum up international support for the Morong 43 and all political prisoners. You may:

-          Join the hunger strike on December 6, their 10th month anniversary in jail, and issue a statement of support;
-          Organize sympathy fasting or a few-day hunger strike;
-          Picket the Philippine Embassy and demand freedom for the Morong 43 and other political prisoners especially Ipong, Serrano, Sarmiento and Esguerra;
-          Highlight the hunger strike in your commemoration of human rights week and December 10 International HR Day;
-          Lobby with your Parliament, congress and/or senate;
-          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);
-          Keep those postcards coming, we want them by the thousands;
-          Circulate this and further announcements plus the hunger strike bulletins which we will issue from time to time;
-          Solicit financial and material support for the Morong 43, other political prisoners and their families;
-          Share your ideas with us and others so we can have a variety of support actions.

Free the Morong 43!
Release Angie Ipong, Eduardo Serrano, Eduardo Sarmiento and Sandino Esguerra!
Free all political prisoners!

International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS)