Pagkakakilanlan sa mga kabilang sa Morong 43

February 16, 2010

* Ang sumusunod na mga sanaysay ay mula sa punto-de-bista ng isang katrabaho ng dalawa sa tinataguriang Morong 43, o mga doktor at health worker na tinortyur ng militar at patuloy na nakadetine. Si Terence Krishna V. Lopez ay kasalukuyang istap ng Council for Health and Development (CHD). Ang CHD ang pambansang organisasyon ng Community-Based Health Programs sa Pilipinas, na nagsimula noong 1973.

Si Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, direktor ng Health Education, Training and Services Department ng CHD.

Si Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, direktor ng Health Education, Training and Services Department ng CHD.

Dr. Merry B. Mia-Clamor

Merry, as she is called in the office, here at the Council for Health and Development (CHD) and among the NGO circle is indeed, that- Merry.

With her endearing laughter and zest for life, the office is never a boring work environment.

Whenever she’s around, we are endeared of her stories- simple delightful stories about her little boys who are both very cute and loveable. About how her older son cries when she’s about to leave the house or bargains for pasalubong so that he will let his nanay go or how her younger son who is only 11 months old, smiles at her everytime she arrives from work, everyday.

She is also loved by the people in the communities for being the down to earth lady doctor who laughs with them without pretense and possesses not an iota of air and arrogance of a professional.

When it comes to work though, she is as serious as can be.

She is a dedicated doctor and an efficient director of the Health Education, Training and Services Department of CHD.

Like her colleagues in the office, she has the innate interest and gusto to go to the different far-flung communities in the country whether in Luzon, Visayas or Mindanao.

Last year for instance, she was able to assist in the medical missions and trainings requested by the different member programs of CHD such as in General Santos City, Panay, Samar, Leyte and Negros along with the other health workers and health professionals who have dedicated their lives to serving the poor and the marginalized peasants, fisher folks, workers, urban poor, women and children.

Because she knows how little the people get from the state that does not count health as a social service or a basic human right among its priorities, Merry opted to stay and serve her country. She chose to go against the flow when many of her colleagues find greener pastures outside the country.

Even if it means serving as a community doctor entails time away from her loved ones more often than having a regular clinic-based practice, Merry opted to stay because she knows she can do a lot to help and contribute in empowering the people and improving the state of health. Even if it means she may never really be a rich doctor working as a people’s doctor. Even it if means her life is always at risk.

Like what happened last February 6, 2010 in the house of Dr. Melecia Velmonte in Morong, Rizal where Merry was one of the trainers of an advance health skills training sponsored by CHD and the Community Medicine Development Foundation (COMMED).

300 joint elements of PNP-Rizal and 202nd Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines raided the house and took Merry and the 42 others who were trainers and participants of the training blindfolded without telling them why.

They were brought to Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal and detained them without any legal basis. The search warrant served was illegal and unconstitutional.

Until now, Merry and the other 42 health workers are still illegally detained at the AFP camp, among them Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, midwife and mother, health worker Reynaldo T. Macabenta, both staff of CHD, Registered Nurse Gary Liberal and health worker Lydia Ubera both of the Alliance of Health Workers and Dr. Alexis Montes of COMMED who was also the national health services director of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines from 1986 to 2006.

The country needs more people like Merry, Teresa, Rey, Gary, Lydia and Alex.

The state needs to pay tribute to them and support their dedication for people’s health instead of detaining and torturing them.

*Merry, 33 years old is a graduate of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila-College of Medicine and the Director of the Health Education, Training and Services department of the Council for Health and Development.

Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, project coordinator ng community-based health programs ng CHD

Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, midwife at project coordinator ng community-based health programs ng CHD

Ma. Teresa Quinawayan

A graduate of Fabella School of Midwifery in 2002, Ma. Teresa Quinawayan is a registered midwife by profession.

However, her title ends there. Not because she does not practice her profession but because as a health worker for the Council for Health and Development, she is more than a midwife.

A single mother to a beautiful and smart little girl, she did not let poverty get in the way of her passion and dedication to serve the people through community health and help in empowering her fellow Filipinos. She knew that her family is part of the greater society she serves.

As a daughter, her mother said she is the best daughter any parent could ever ask for. Kind, sweet, hard-working and diligent are only few of the words her mother uses to describe her.

Teresa is loved by her colleagues because she is very hard-working yet very humble to the point of being shy at times. Her shyness fades away easily though, when she is living among the people from the rural and urban communities and shows her strength as an organizer and health educator.

She is an organizer in the communities in Pasig and Quezon City where CHD has trained community health workers in the health committees of the local organizations.

As a health worker, she does not mind being sent to far-flung areas, anytime she is needed to give trainings or help in medical missions. Even if it means being away from her daughter and family for several months.

She has also served different communities in Zamboanga del Sur in Mindanao, being a project coordinator in one of CHD’s community-based health programs.

Gifted with a beautiful singing voice and a hand for sketching, Teresa is also a cultural worker in the health sector and a member of the Sining Medikal, the health sector’s cultural group.

*Tere, 26, is CHD’s Field Assistance Unit staff.