Police arrest red-tagged community doctor ‘commando-style’

Police arrested a red-tagged community doctor and a human rights worker in a commando-style raid in San Juan Friday morning, February 18.

In an urgent alert, Karapatan-Caraga said police scaled the walls and destroyed the front door of an ancestral house to arrest Dr. Maria Natividad Marian Castro at about 9:30 AM.

Dr. Castro was brought to Camp Crame by the police.

In an earlier post, Castro’s brother Jun said his sister is reportedly charged with multiple counts of kidnapping and illegal detention.

Jun said Dr. Castro previously accompanied several Lumad (Mindanao indigenous peoples) who were victims of militarization to UN Geneva.

The brother did not specify what year Dr. Castro visited the UN with the Lumad.

“She spoke there in Geneva to seek help for the Lumad people,” Jun said.

Dr. Ma. Natividad Marian Castro at Cam Crame. (Photo from Jun Castro’s Facebook post)

The brother said Dr. Castro set up community health centers and programs in Mindanao.

He also revealed that his sister was the Class ‘84 High School valedictorian at St. Scholastica’s College in Manila and was in fact acclaimed as one of the 100 most outstanding graduates of the school in 2001with former Pres. Corazon Aquino.

Dr. Castro also graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines-Manila College of Medicine in 1995, he added.

“As a health worker, she has served both rich and poor in various areas in Mindanao,” Jun said.

Karapatan-Caraga also said Dr. Castro has long served the poor communities of Agusan del Norte who don’t have access to health services

“Dr. Castro is a health worker who has set up community health centers and programs in Mindanao,” the group said.

Karapatan-Caraga also revealed that suspected state agents on November 20, 2020 put up posters all over Caraga region that accused Dr. Castro and others human rights defenders as “communist NPAs.”

Both Karapatan and Jun said the “fabricated charges” are related to Dr. Castro’s human rights advocacy.

Karapatan’s national office has dispatched a quick reaction team to check on Dr. Castro’s condition. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)