By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
BAGUIO CITY — “We hope the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) will cooperate with us this time,” said Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Regional Director Atty Harold Kub-aron in an interview here March 24 while a group of health workers filed a complaint against the AFP.
Earlier, the Community Health Education, Service and Training in the Cordillera Region (CHESTCORE) filed a complaint with the said commission regarding the alleged harrasment and intimidation by elements of the AFP to their community health workers in Kalinga and in the city.
Kub-aron said, the thrust of the AFP is to respect human rights therefore, they according to him should cooperate with the investigation that the commission will be conducting.
He pointed out that in previous cases against them, they (the AFP) did not coordinate with them. “Sana ngayon, nagbago na,” he added.
He further said that once the complaints subscribe, they will ask the AFP to answer the complaints against them and hopefully he said, they will answer.
On the other hand, he said, they will start the investigation with the identified suspects before the unidentified ones. The problem he said with the fact sheets that the CHESTCORE submitted is there are more unidentified suspects than the identified ones.
Moreover, Kub-aron added that the complainants must work closely with them if they really are sincere in achieving justice. He revealed that the previous complaint of the health group in 2007 was archived because there was no follow-up action.
Meanwhile, Carmen Bolinto, one of the Board of Directors of CHESTCORE in an interview said there is a difficulty for them to communicate immediately with the CHR because of the psychological trauma brought by these incidents.
She added that the health workers who were harassed and intimidated cannot easily go out into the open.
“We need to undergo processing so that we can face the next actions that we are supposed to be doing,” she explained.
With the escalating harrasments of health workers, Bolinto said they will fight and have to get more support of other sectors. They will according to her work closely with CHR specially in the investigation phase. # nordis.net