Health Alliance for Democracy strongly condemns the people behind harassment and threats from unknown elements to Dr. Darby Santiago. At 12:52 pm today, Dr. Santiago received his second death threat via text message.
In the past few weeks, Dr. Santiago, Doc Darbs to his patients and friends, has been vocal about hospital budget cuts and decreased budget for preventive health programs for 2018. "This is definitely alarming, in view of the fact that people get killed and get brushed aside because of the 'tokhang' campaign," said Dr. Santiago in his Facebook post. The text message read "Ingat ka. Dumadami atraso mo" from mobile number 09322374703. A few years back, Doc Darbs received a similar text message which read "Isang bala ka lang, ingat ka doc."
In the past months, five doctors have been killed mercilessly by unidentified men; justice still elusive. These killings, along with the growing number of killings perpetrated by state forces, has become a real threat to the common people, even professionals and doctors.
Dr. Darby Santiago is an ophthalmologist who specializes in retinal surgery and serves thousands of patients all around the Philippines. He is the first retina surgeon of the Ilocos Cordillera Region for the past 11 years. He is also a regular board examiner of the Philippine Board of Ophthalmology. Doc Darbs is also an academic professor at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine and De La Salle University College of Medicine. He is the chairperson of Health Alliance for Democracy.
HEAD calls on members of the health sector to be extra vigilant in these times of trouble. Despite harassments and threats, we encourage everyone to be strong and steadfast in their commitment to serve the people. Let us unite in the outrage against these threats to our colleagues. We also call on the public to condemn the brutal killings and unite in the call for justice.##