Health groups intensify calls for Aquino’s resignation
April 14, 2015
Health workers’ groups gathered at Plaza Salamanca along Taft Avenue in Manila to intensify their call for President Aquino’s resignation from the presidency, days after the latest House hearing on the Mamasapano bloodbath.
An alliance of health advocates, workers, and professionals calling for Aquino’s resignation, Rx: Aquino Resign Now!, said that the president’s crimes can no longer be ignored and the Mamasapano bloodbath is just one of many instances that proved Aquino’s incapacity to lead this nation.
“The people have spoken. We cannot anymore wait for Aquino to finish his term in 2016. The country is in a very critical condition and Aquino is like a toxin that slowly kills the people,” said Dr. Joseph Carabeo, physician and Rx: Aquino Resign Now! spokesperson.
The group conducted a people’s hearing on the Mamasapano bloodbath, attended by Pinoy Weekly editor Kenneth Guda, Moro human rights activist Bai Ali Indayla of Kawagib, Dr. Eleanor Jara of Council for Health and Development, student Mark Neri, and representatives from other health workers groups and teachers’ groups.
Indayla explained that the aftermath of the Mamasapano debacle saw intensification of anti-Moro or anti-Muslim sentiments. Public officials, as well as the dominant media, placed the blame on the bloodbath squarely on the Moro people, despite Aquino’s clear responsibility in it and the operation’s violation of the ceasefire agreement between the government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
This partly stemmed from a lack of understanding on the true history and struggle of Moro people, according to Indayla, who was born and grew up in Maguindanao.
“If I tell someone I came from (Moro) Mindanao, he or she (in Manila) immediately thinks of me as a troublemaker and terrorist. There is so much miseducation on the Moro people. We have a long history of trying to free the land from colonizers, and we continue to struggle with obtaining freedom. A lot of Moro are still being displaced because they have to make room for multinational corporations,” said Indayla.
Aquino only further fanned the flames of anti-Moro hysteria and discrimination, she added.
Part of war on terror
The true intension of the presence of the US troops, with the help of the Philippine government, in Mindanao is to protect and monopolize the vast natural resources of the island for capital consumption, according to Indayla.
“They have created (US) terrorists to justify their presence in the country especially in Mindanao. But their true intension is to control our vast natural resources and to bring back their military bases because the strategic location of the country to control the Asia pacific region,” according to Indayla.
Guda, for his part, said that the actual operations saw how the US government was involved and commanded the disastrous mission itself.
Indayla added that the true confict in Mindanao is not between Muslims and Christians. It is, ultimately between the majority of Filipino against a few landed and powerful elite. It is the between the government, that implements policies beneficial to foreigners, and the majority of poor people in Mindanao who desperately need basic social services like health, education, and a peaceful environment to live in.
Mindanao is one of the richest and has a lot of natural resources in the country. However, Mindanao is still has the poorest regions in the Philippines, added Indayla.
Carabeo cited Aquino’s “criminal negligence” against the people is “more than enough reason to call for his removal from office” including but not limited to the Mamasapano fiasco.
The recent Congressional hearing exposed the extent the Aquino government can sacrifice for its “puppetry to US interests”.
“Lest the people also forget, the Aquino government’s toxic spells were strongly felt in the continuing plight of landless, foodless, and jobless survivors of supertyphoon Yolanda, the basic utility price hikes, MRT/LRT fare hike (and service failure), the spiraling price hike of basic commodities, internal displacement of Lumad and Moro people of Mindanao from their ancestral land because of development aggression and AFP all-out war, and closest to our experience, the privatization of public hospitals and neglect of the rights and welfare of health workers,” Carabeo explained.
Furthermore, the Disbursement Acceleration Program exposed Aquino’s “fingerprints” in the fortification of the systemic corruption that clearly favored his closed-in buddies and allies to the sacrifice of badly needed social services, according to Carabeo.
“It is up to the people to build its own immunity and defeat the toxin. Our experience with this people’s hearing, where more and more leaders continue to emerge and stand for the genuine interest of the people, strengthens our resolve to call for a People’s Council in place of this morally bankrupt leader,” Carabeo ended.
With reports from Pher Pasion and Elisse Lenaars