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Probe into barrio doctors’ killings sought

MANILA, Philippines - A senator has called for an investigation into the killings of volunteer doctors to the barrios, saying it is a “crime against the people.”

Sen. Risa Hontiveros condemned the killing of Sajid Sinolinding, who was shot at his clinic in Cotabato City on Tuesday.

Sinolinding, an eye specialist assigned in Cotabato City under the Department of Health’s Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) program, is the younger brother of DOH-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Secretary Kadil Sinolinding Jr.

 Initial investigation showed a man who posed as a cataract patient shot Sinolinding then fired at his bodyguard Mohammad Esmael, who was also killed.

The attack came less than two months after Dreyfuss Perlas, another former volunteer doctor, was gunned down in Sapad, Lanao del Norte.  

Hontiveros noted that only 320 of 946 DTTB slots were filled in 2016. 

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“There are few doctors volunteering for the program and they are being killed…For every slain volunteer doctor, a poor patient loses his life and a community is deprived of medical services,”  she said.  

Hontiveros said authorities should conduct a full-scale investigation, adding that she would file a resolution calling for a Senate inquiry.

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