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Group: 'Morong 43' could have served people devastated by disasters

MANILA, Philippines (AP) – A group calling for the release of 43 health workers detained in a military camp said the detainees could have rendered service to people in the provinces battered by super typhoon “Juan.”

Dr. Julie Caguiat, spokesperson of the Free the 43 Health Workers Alliance, said the training of the health workers was designed to respond to medical situations in times of disasters.

“It’s a shame that the government baselessly detained decent and dedicated individuals whose only fault is to help the marginalized who can’t access health services. The arrest is a great disservice to those who could have been extended the help of the detained medical workers,” said Caguiat, also the executive director of the Community Medicine Development Foundation, one of the two non-government organizations that sponsored the training.

Among the topics intended to be taught in the First Responders Health Skills Training include basic first-aid, diagnosis and prevention of common diseases, Caguiat added.

Around this time last year, the 43 health workers were responding to affected families of tropical storm “Ondoy” in various areas of Metro Manila.

Immediately after the disaster, Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, Health Training and Services Director of the Council for Health and Development (CHD), led other health professionals in the relief and medical missions of the Samahang Operasyong Sagip (SOS), a network of groups and individuals involved in disaster response activities.

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