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KODAO KLASIK: Diagnosing Poverty, Building Community

In the 1990s, young medical doctors Julie Caguiat and Gene Nisperos spent the first years of their practice helping poor peasants and indigenous peoples in the hinterlands of Bukidnon Province. Here is a video of their work, produced by Kodao for the Belgian humanitarian organization Intal.

Even then, Doctors Caguiat and Nisperos were threatened by the military for their advocacy and humanitarian work. Last Monday and Tuesday, Caguiat and Nisperos became victims of death threats anew for their continuing advocacy on community medicine and higher health budget.

Kodao is reposting this video to show who the perpetrators are threatening with death.

Doctor, family receive death threats

An activist doctor and professor received death threats against himself and his family mere hours after joining a rally demanding a bigger 2020 budget for the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

Dr. Gene Nisperos, president of the All UP Academic Employees Union-Manila Chapter (AUPAEU-Manila), received a text message Monday night, October 21, saying he and his family would be killed soon.

The death threat received by Nisperos Monday night. It was redacted to hide the condominium’s address and the date when the perpetrators said they will carry out the attack.

“I know where your condominium is. We will get your family one by one…You are dead by…including your children and wife,” the message in part said.

The message was sent by an unidentified person through mobile phone number +639567955995.

Nisperos told Kodao he blames the climate of violence created by the Rodrigo Duterte government against those who seek substantial reforms and genuine change in Philippine society for the latest threats against him and his wife, also a doctor.

“The climate under the Duterte government has fostered the kind of violence inflicted on those who stand for what is just and right. Sa panahon ngayon, ang gumawa ng kabutihan at manindigan sa tama ang siyang tinutugis. Naghahasik na takot dahil sa takot dinadaan ang pamumuno. Dapat ito labanan. Sa lahat ng anyo. Sa lahat ng pagkakataon,” Nisperos said. (In these times, those who do good and stand for what is right are persecuted. It is sowing fear because it rules by fear. This must be opposed in whatever form and whenever it occurs.)

The threat received by Nisperos Tuesday morning.

As he was being interviewed by Kodao online, Nisperos received another threat from the same number Tuesday morning.

He however clarified that it was not him who issued the challenge to government officials to line up at government hospitals.

“It was at a different press conference by other doctors who challenged (Department of Health secretary Francisco) Duque and other government officials to line up at government hospitals. I was not even there,” Nisperos clarified.

Nisperos spoke at a rally at the PGH lobby last Monday, demanding a P10 billion budget for the country’s premiere government hospital.

A graduate of UP College of Medicine’s prestigious Intarmed program, Nisperos and wife, Dr. Julie Caguiat, served as community doctors in Mindanao before returning to Metro Manila to advocate for community-based health programs on the national level.

Nisperos is a professor at their alma mater.

Duterte government as suspects

The AUPAEU-Manila condemned the most recent death threats against Nisperos and family.

“Following months of profiling, red-tagging, vilification, threats, and harassment of members in other AUPAEU chapters, the Union sees this as a continuation of the attacks to activists, teachers, and unionists perpetuated by State security forces under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte,” the group said.

“This threat comes at a time when the AUPAEU-Manila is calling on all faculty, administrative staff, and REPS of the university to unite against the impending budget cut for the University of the Philippines, particularly on the UP Manila and Philippine General Hospital (PGH), regularization of contractual workers, among others,” it added.

The union said the threats are attempts to sow fear among teachers and unionists who assert for their rights and to fight for a higher state subsidy for social services such as education and health.

“[O]ur Union will not tremble in the face of vicious repressive measures and increasingly fascist attacks by this administration,” AUPAEU-Manila said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Health Workers storm Malacañang over budget cuts and lack of salary increases

Nag-protesta ang mga manggagawang pangkalusugan, nurse at doktor sa Mendiola sa Maynila para tutulan ang malaking budget cut at manawagan ng dagdag sahod noong Oktubre 15. Binatikos nila ang P10 bilyon na budget cut sa sektor para sa 2020.

Ayon sa Alliance of Health Workers, tuluyan nang tinalikuran ng gobyerno ang obligasyon nito na bigyan ng maayos at abot-kayang serbisyong medikal ang taumbayan. Taun-taon ay binabawasan ang budget sa mga serbisyo habang pinalalaki ang budget sa pambansang depensa at pork barrel ng mga kongresista.

Nanawagan din sila na taasan ang sahod ng mga manggagawang pangkalusugan sa P16,000 sa minimum kada buwan, P30,000 para sa mga nurse at P80,000 para sa mga doktor. (Background music: News background / Bidyo ni Joseph Cuevas-Kodao)

Health Workers commemorate national health day

Public health workers trooped to the Department of Health headquarters in downtown Manila May 7 to commemorate National Health Workers’ Day with a protest rally.

Calling for free health service for the people and increased salaries, the workers slammed the Rodrigo Duterte regime for implementing contractualization in the health sector.

Health workers condemn killing of 3rd barrio doctor

Health workers in Manila held a rally in front of the Philippine General Hospital Thursday to condemn the killing of Doctor George Repique Jr., the third “doctor to the barrios” killed under the Rodrigo Duterte government.

Repique, Cavite province health officer, was killed by gunmen on board a motorcycle last July 12 in Trece Martirez City.

The protesters said the murder of Rapique further endanger the few doctors who serve in poor communities around the country,

They called on the Duterte government to stop the killings and serve justice for the victim. Read more