Over a month after they were released from the confines of a civilian detention, members of the Morong 43 are back doing what they have committed themselves to – serving the marginalized sectors of society by providing much-needed health services. Four of the Morong 43 serving as staffs of a health NGO which sponsored the First Responder’s Health Skills Training last February 2010 participated in Medical and Dental Mission today in Ina ng Lupang Pangako, Urban, Payatas B, Quezon City.
Sponsored by the Filipino Ministry of San Bernardino California, Kilos Bayan para sa Kalusugan (KBK), Samahang Pangkalusugan ng Payatas (SaPaPa), Ina ng Lupang Pangako Parish – Parish Pastoral Council, and Council for Health and Development (CHD), the medical and dental mission is expected to benefit more than 600 patients today. Medical doctors, dentists, nurses, community health workers and health science students who actively supported the campaign to release the 43 health workers last year also join the activity.
“Despite what we have gone through in the hands of state forces, we are resolute in our commitment to serve the poor and lay the foundations of a people-managed health care,” said Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, among the previously detained health workers and current Director of CHD’s Health Education, Training and Services Department.
Meanwhile, Dr. Eleanor A. Jara, Executive Director of CHD related that “this is a landmark medical and dental mission” for their organization because they are now joined by Dr. Mia-Clamor, CBHP doctor; Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, midwife and Field Assistance Unit staff; Ms. Delia Ocasla, community health worker and Reynaldo Macabenta, administrative staff.
She added that the “continued support of local and international groups and individuals in community based health care” play a major role in the continuing struggle for access to public health care in the Philippines.
Payatas, tragically famous for the trashslide that buried hundreds of persons in 2000, remains one of the poorest population in the city. Many residents, surviving on a hand to mouth existence largely depend on scavenging Payatas’ “mountains” for food and recyclable materials. The mountain’s height is fast becoming an issue of concern among residents as history might be reprised.
The medical and dental mission is done in cooperation with different organizations and volunteer dentists and physicians. “For as long as there is inequality and oppression in the Philippine society, CHD together with its 60 member programs will continue to work with the people for their right to health and struggle for social change,” Dr. Jara ended.