Hontiveros wants probe into killings of community doctors
(philstar.com) - April 20, 2017 - 1:45pm
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros said on Thursday that she would file a resolution pushing the Senate to investigate the recent killings of community doctors.
Hontiveros made the statement after the killing Tuesday of eye specialist Dr. Sajid Sinolinding and his bodyguard Mohammad Esmael in North Cotabato. Sinolinding is the brother of Department of Health (DOH)-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Secretary Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr.
"Konti na nga lang ang mga nagboboluntaryong doktor sa mga baryo, pinapaslang pa," she said.
According to reports, a gunman posing as a cataract patient shot Sinolinding and Esmael.
The family of Sinolinding said that they had been receiving death threats since last year due to their involvement in exposing alleged corruption in a school in Arakan, North Cotabato.
Threat to public health access
Hontiveros noted that as of 2016, only 320 of the 946 slots of the government's Doctor to the Barrios (DTTB) program were filled. The program, managed by the DOH, is tasked to ensure quality health care service to depressed, marginalized and underserved areas by deploying community-oriented doctors.
Hontiveros called the killing of Sinolinding, a volunteer of the DTTB program, as "a crime against the people" and called on to the authorities to conduct an investigation.
She added that the climate of killing under President Rodrigo Duterte's administration poses "a serious threat" to people's access to public health.
"Nakakalungkot dahil sa bawat volunteer doctor na pinapatay, isang bukas-palad na tao ang inaagawan ng buhay, at isang komunidad ang pinagkakaitan ng serbisyong medikal."
Last March, Dreyfuss Perlas, also a volunteer doctor
, was shot and killed by two men as he was driving his motorcycle on his way home in Barangay Maranding in Lanao del Norte. Perlas was the municipal health officer of Sapad town.