DOH condemns killing of doctor in Cotabato City
The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday condemned the killing of another rural doctor inside his clinic in Mindanao, this time in Cotabato City.
The DOH said Dr. Sajid “Jaja” Sinolinding and his security escort identified as “Hamid” were gunned down inside the Cotabato Doctors Clinic on Tuesday morning by a suspect who pretended to be a patient.
“The DOH condemns this act of violence as it lost anew a dedicated healthcare worker at a time when there is a dire need for their service and we are deeply saddened by this event, even as we are still awaiting the resolution of the killing of former Doctors to the Barrios Dr. Dreyfuss Perlas,” said DOH Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial in a statement.
Sinolinding is the second rural doctor to be killed in two months, following the murder of Perlas in Lanao del Norte. A gunman shot the 31-year-old Perlas in Kapatagan town on March 1. He died from a gunshot wound in the back that pierced his heart.
Sinolinding, an ophthalmologist, was the younger brother of DOH-Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Secretary Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, Jr.
“The DOH extended its condolences to Sinolinding’s family and vows to support efforts in the pursuit of justice in this senseless killing,” the DOH added.
In a statement, the ARMM regional government said the well-loved Sinolinding was known for his volunteer work of treating cataract patients for free and initiating medical missions in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.
“We strongly condemn and denounce this act of violence committed against a dedicated health worker, one of the rare few who continue to serve the people with integrity and a sincere desire to uplift the lives of the Bangsamoro,” the ARMM government said.
“Trust that the regional government is exerting all efforts to help bring the perpetrators to justice,” it added.
Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), a nonprofit organization, on Wednesday urged the DOH and the local and national governments to speed up investigation on the deaths of Perlas and Sinolinding.
The group also called on members of the health sector and the general public to be “united in the outrage against the murder of their colleagues” and to “condemn this brutal killing and be united in the call for justice.”
“How many more health workers need to die before the DOH and this administration stop idling around and start protecting our barrio doctors? Every day front line health personnel are putting their lives on the line to serve their countrymen, but the government repays them with indifference, deaf to the bullets that kill them,” said Dr. Joseph Carabeo, HEAD secretary-general, in a statement.
“What’s glaring in Dr. Jaja’s case is that he already had a security escort. This did not stop him from getting killed,” Carabeo added.
“There have been cases where local governments were involved in the harassment of health workers and professionals. These must be taken more seriously. The continuous harassment and killings of health workers and health professionals must not be dismissed as ‘isolated cases’. Simply transferring health workers from one community to another will not stop them from being targeted,” he said. CBB
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