Press Release
April 20, 2017

Hontiveros: Killing of doctors to the barrios, a crime against the people

Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday expressed shock and grief over the killing of another volunteer of the government's Doctor to the Barrios [DTTB] program. She said that the spate of killings victimizing volunteer doctors is no longer an isolated incident, describing it as "a crime against the people."

Dr. Sajid "Jaja" Sinolinding, who served in Cotabato City, was reportedly gunned down by unknown assailants while on-duty in his clinic on Tuesday. The attack happened less than two months after Dr. Dreyfuss Perlas, a fellow volunteer doctor was killed in Sapad, Lanao del Norte.

Hontiveros said that the climate of killing under the Duterte government poses a serious threat to the people's access to public health, and a mortal danger to the lives of the already small number of volunteer doctors. She explained that as of 2016, only 320 of the 946 slots were filled in the DTTB program managed by the Department of Health (DoH).

"Konti na nga lang ang mga nagboboluntaryong doktor sa mga baryo, pinapaslang pa. Nakakalungkot dahil sa bawat volunteer doctor na pinapatay, isang bukaspalad na tao ang inaagawan ng buhay, at isang komunidad ang pinagkakaitan ng serbisyong medikal," Hontiveros said.

The slain doctor was the younger brother of DOH-Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Secretary Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, Jr. The victim's family said that their family had been receiving death threats since last year due to their exposure of alleged corruption in a school in Arakan, North Cotabato.

Hontiveros called on the authorities to conduct a full-scale investigation on the incident. On her part, she said that she will file a resolution to urge the Senate to look into the killings of doctors in the communities.

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