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ARMM health workers plan strike to demand midwife’s release

/ 11:22 PM August 25, 2011

COTABATO CITY—Health workers in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are planning to hold a massive sit-down strike after the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan to press the Abu Sayyaf to release a colleague that the bandit group seized on Aug. 3 in Sulu.

Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, regional health secretary, said the health workers were becoming worried over the fate of Evangeline Taverisma, a midwife.

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Military and police said Abu Sayyaf gunmen took Taverisma in Indanan town, supposedly to treat comrades who were wounded in a series of gunfights with government forces in Sulu this month.

Ramadan is expected to end on Aug. 29 or 30.

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“We want to pressure them (kidnappers) by holding a regionwide sit-down strike so they, too, may feel how it is when their relatives or loved ones are left unattended to by health workers,” Sinolinding said.

But while health workers will refuse ordinary cases, Sinolinding said they could not ignore life-threatening medical cases. “We will attend to them as we appeal once more to the kidnappers to free our hardworking health provider,” he said.

On Aug. 6, the health workers staged a prayer rally in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi.

“Three weeks have passed and Taverisma is still in the hands of her captors. We beg them to please let her go. She is just a lowly employee whose services are badly needed in the community,” Sinolinding said.

Naguib Sinarimbo, ARMM executive secretary, appealed to Sulu officials, the Moro National Liberation Front, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to help.

Even as Taverisma remained in captivity, Abu Sayyaf bandits snatched two more people in Patikul town, also in Sulu, on Sunday.

Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesperson of the military’s Western Mindanao Command based in Zamboanga City, identified them as Ambon Blas, 60, and Perlita Bagay, 25, both vendors of used clothes. Charlie Señase and Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: abu sayyaf, Crime, Kidnapping, Midwife, Regions
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