Aquino’s help sought for kidnapped gov’t midwife | Inquirer News

Aquino’s help sought for kidnapped gov’t midwife

/ 02:44 PM September 19, 2011

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—Health providers in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Monday appealed to President Benigno Aquino III to flex his authority in working out the release of a midwife held captive by extremists in Sulu for two months now.

“The fate of midwife Evangeline Taverisma, who has been working as a government midwife since 1980, remains unknown,” Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, ARMM health regional secretary, told the Inquirer.

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“Health workers in Sulu and other provinces of ARMM have low morale and many of them are reluctant to proceed to far-flung areas, especially island towns in Sulu,” he said.

Taverisma was on her way to her area of assignment in Indanan, Sulu on August 3 when gunmen flagged her down, forced her into a waiting getaway vehicle and spirited her towards Jolo, capital town of the island province.

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Sinolinding said Taverisma’s co-workers are wary about what they believed was a news blackout by authorities on her condition and the government efforts to bring her back to her family.

“The last time we heard reports about her fate was more than two weeks ago,” Sinolinding said.

Members of ARMM’s medical community have signed a manifesto appealing to Aquino to order his constituent-leaders on the island province to disregard their parochial differences and work together to secure the release–without ransom–of the 53-year-old Taverisma.

“I sent a letter to the President last week seeking (his) help for three of our personnel who were put in a difficult situation while performing their duties,” Sinolinding said.

Sinolinding, apart from the case of Taverisma, was also asking appropriate action on the case of a murdered field sanitary inspector in Tawi-Tawi and rape and frustrated murder of a volunteer-nurse in Maguindanao.

He said health workers in Sulu have informed him that a certain local executive raised P500,000 ransom money and had given it to Taveresma’s kidnappers but she remained a captive.

Sinolinding described Taverisma as a lowly midwife, married to a retired soldier and dedicated more than half of her life to health jobs in Sulu’s critical and dangerous island towns.

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Her husband and family cannot raise even one percent of the P15 million ransom the kidnappers are asking, he said.

A presidential intervention was sought after Sinolinding and other ARMM health officials realized that staging a sit-down strike to protest the unresolved attacks against health providers would just “punish further the people of the region who need our services.”

Department of Health – ARMM earlier planned a simultaneous sit-down strike across the region to dramatize their disgust over Taverisma’s kidnapping.

“Seeking presidential intervention is what we believe is the most appropriate action for the moment,” he said.

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TAGS: Crime, Health, Kidnapping, Midwife, Regions
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