PHM Statement in Solidarity with Health Rights Activists and Organisations in Philippines

People’s Health Movement Global: Solidarity with health rights activists and organisations in the Philippines

(16 May 2019)

The People’s Health Movement (PHM) denounces the on-going smear and vilification campaign against health rights organisations and threats, harassments and intimidation of health activists in the Philippines. The PHM expresses deep concern over the lives and safety of the leaders and members of progressive and dedicated organizations who were wrongfully and maliciously labeled by the government as terrorists and communist fronts; whose offices were visited by police intelligence agents for their communist/terrorists profiling; and whose leaders and members are being “tailed” and threatened.

The red-tagging, threats, harassments and intimidations of health rights organisations, Alliance of Health Workers, Council for Health and Development, Health Alliance for Democracy, Health Action for Human Rights, Filipino Nurses United, Prescription for Peace, Health Sector Against Tyranny and Nars ng Bayan (Nurses for the People) is proof of the shrinking space for civil society organisations, most especially progressive and activist organizations. PHM believes that organisations and advocates who work and fight for the people’s right to health should not be subjected to red-tagging, threats, harassments and intimidations simply for doing what the government fails to do.

 PHM acknowledges the great work that the red-tagged health organisations are doing in the Philippines. Most of them, especially the Alliance of Health Workers, Council for Health and Development, Health Alliance for Democracy are active members of PHM-Philippines.

 The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) is a non-stock, non-profit, people’s organization that has been working for the economic and democratic rights of health workers and the people’s right to health since 1984. In its more than three decades long of dedicated work, AHW has played major role in the enactment of the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers (Republic Act 7305), the proclamation of May 7 as Health Workers’ Day, enactment of significant provisions in the Salary Standardization Law, and various concerted efforts that seek to improve the living and working conditions of public health workers.

 The Council for Health and Development (CHD) is the national organisation of Community-based Health Programs (CBHPs) in the Philippines. It is a non-stock, non-profit development non-government organization that has provided national leadership to CBHPs since 1989. The practice of CBHPs in the Philippines which started in 1973 is highly recognized in the world as a good practice in empowering communities in managing and taking care of their health.

 The Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) is a non-stock, non-profit organization that has been working and advocating for the promotion of people’s economic, social, political and cultural rights to bring about national prosperity and well-being since 1984.

PHM has been working actively with these dedicated Philippines health organisations on relevant global health issues such as the privatisation of public health services, high costs of medicine and neo-liberal policies in health that gravely affect people worldwide.

PHM views this smear and vilification campaign as a systematic attack to spread false information, sow fear among the people, and suppress legitimate protests and dissent of the people. These actions are also intended to dissuade international organisations from giving resources to the campaign, advocacy, capacity-building, health services and many other relevant work being undertaken by these progressive organisations.

 PHM stands in solidarity with the “maligned” health rights organizations, activists and advocates in the Philippines and the Filipino people as they fight for the people’s right to health and serve the health needs of the people.

 PHM calls on the Philippine government especially the Armed Forces of the Philippines to stop its vilification and smear campaigns, through red-tagging and terrorist-labelling, threats, harassments and intimidations against the above-mentioned progressive and activist health organizations, their leaders and members as well as development workers and human rights defenders, their organisations and communities.