Health workers' group urges CSC, Ombudsman to probe Badoy over red-tagging spree

The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) on Saturday, April 10, urged the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Lorraine Badoy for branding the group as a communist front.

"We strongly urge the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Ombudsman to conduct a motu proprio investigation and act promptly on Usec Lorraine Badoy for grave misconduct and conduct grossly prejudicial to the best interest of the service and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees," the group said.

"We firmly maintain that our organization was established and exists within the framework of legal, constitutional and democratic grounds. We never promote terrorism," AHW added in a statment.

The health workers said Badoy's action undermines the dignity of the group as a legitimate union of health workers who are risking their lives tending to COVID-19 patients in the worst case surge the country has seen yet.

"This reckless and injudicious statement of Usec Badoy is indeed a shameless insult and an unwelcome statement as health workers for more than a year now are in the frontline risking our lives and health battling the COVID-19 pandemic," AHW said.

The group said that Badoy’s red-tagging goes against President Rodrigo Duterte’s praises for medical workers as “heroes” in the COVID-19 crisis.

Badoy, in an April 7 Philippine News Agency column, red-tagged the AHW alongside other organizations including Senate employees’ union Sandigan ng mga Empleyadong Nagkakaisa sa Adhikain ng Demokratikong Organisasyon (SENADO) and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).

Badoy claimed that the AHW "infiltrated" several health institutions "down to the barangay levels," and that their underground organization is the Makabayang Samahang Pangkalusugan (MASAPA).

"What makes them illegal is their strict adherence to the violent overthrow of the government, the destruction of our democracy, and replacing it with at dead-as-a-doornail ideology, COMMUNISM," Badoy alleged.

Stop insulting fellow health workers

The AHW urged Badoy, referenced as a medical doctor herself, to “take care and treat her countrymen who are afflicted by COVID-19 infection instead of intimidating and insulting her fellow health workers.”

The AHW called out to the government to support their welfare, and to augment their personal protective equipment (PPE), gloves, face masks, and face shields.

“When doctors, nurses and other health workers can no longer work, what will happen to our health care system? Who will take care of our thousands of patients coming for treatment?” AHW said.

On April 3, the Octa Research group said health workers needed more support via benefits and accommodations to help get them through the record-breaking surge. The Department of Health has since redeployed doctors to virus epicenter Metro Manila.

Diversionary tactic?

The alliance also thinks Badoy’s statements are meant to divert public attention away from government’s pandemic response failure.

“AHW believes that this is a well-orchestrated campaign by the Duterte administration….and a diversionary tactic in addressing the real issue of this government’s criminal neglect and ineptness in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and almost collapsing health care system and social crisis,” the group said.

The 37-year-old AHW has more than 30,000 members in the Philippines and abroad. It advocates for the increase of salaries and benefits of public and private health workers, and raising health budgets, among other causes.

The AHW, SENADO, and ACT are just the most recent groups in the string of the government’s red-tagging spree. Previously, the NTF-ELCAC falsely claimed numerous schools and universities, as well as Rappler, were communist fronts.

SENADO is studying possible actions the group can take against National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Director General Alex Monteagudo and Badoy for “maliciously labeling” their union as a communist front. The options include elevating their concern before the United Nations human rights office. 

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon had filed a bill seeking to criminalize red-tagging. – Rappler.com

Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a researcher-writer at Rappler. Possessing the heart and soul of a feminist, she is working on specializing in women's issues in Newsbreak, Rappler's investigative arm.

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