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Press release – Brutal murder of Barangay Health worker

Media Release







The Community Based Health Programs (CBHP) in the Philippines strongly condemn the brutal murder of Barangay Health Worker (BHW) Rosalie “Saling” Calago and her husband Barangay Kagawad and community leader Endric “Bayoto” Calago.


The couple was strafed with bullets and their bodies were burned in their house by suspected elements of the 11th Infantry Batallion based in Brgy. Mckinley, Guihulngan City, under 302nd Brigade of the Philippine Army at around 10:00 in the evening on May 24, 2015 at Sitio Bantayan, Barangay Tacpao, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental.


Saling, 45, is a BHW, Barangay Nutrition Scholar, member of Gabriela, barefoot reporter of local radio programs Kaling Kag Tugda and Pugasan in Negros and Cebu, and a staunch supporter of CBHP and Community Health Workers (CHW) in their locality. Bayoto, 47, is a Barangay Kagawad (village official) and Vice-Chairperson of Kaugmaon-Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. Both are members also of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).


Saling has been actively supporting the Franciscan Mountain Clinic, a community-managed program run CBHP-trained community health workers in her capacity as a Barangay Health Worker.  She also believed in empowering communities in laying down the foundation of people-managed alternative health care system at the community level.


“The attack against health workers is an affront to the people’s right to health.  The military kill or harass health workers and deprive thousands of people in poor and neglected communities with important health care services,” said Dr. Magdalena Barcelon, chairperson of the Council for Health and Development’s (CHD) Board of Trustees. CHD is the national organization of 64 CBHPs in the Philippines.


The murder of Saling Calago adds up to the increasing and intensifying attacks against health workers who are critical of government programs and policies and choose to serve the poor and the marginalized population.  Dr. Chandu Claver survived an assassination attempt in 2006 but his wife, Alyce Claver was killed. Health workers are being illegally arrested and detained for crimes they did not commit as in the case of the Morong 43 in 2010, Zara Alvarez of Negros Island Health Integrated Program for Community Development (NIHIPCD) in 2012 and trumped up charges against Josephine Torrecampo;  and Mindanao CBHP staffs Helen Igloria and Rosalinda Omayao most recently.  Many more are being harassed and threatened.


Despite the climate of terror and culture impunity, Dr. Barcelon expressed that CBHPs will never be cowed because of their deeply ingrained commitment to serve the poor and the oppressed.


CBHPs all over the Philippines vow to strengthen its ranks, organize and mobilize the people for health and human rights, and seek all remedies to attain justice for the Calagos and all victims of human rights violations in the country, Dr. Barcelon concluded.


Justice to the Calago couple and all victims of human rights violations!


Punish human rights violators!


End the culture of impunity in the Philippines!


Reference:         Magdalena Barcelon, M.D.

                         Chairperson, Board of Trustees

                         Council for Health and Development


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