‘Killing of volunteer doctors alarming’
Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros said the spate of killings victimizing volunteer doctors is no longer an isolated incident, describing it as “a crime against the people.”
She expressed shock and grief over the killing of another volunteer of the government’s Doctor to the Barrios [DTTB] program.
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, also a 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 noted that as of 2016, only 320 of the 946 slots were filled in the DTTB program managed by the Department of Health.
“There are only a few doctors or the barrio volunteers and yet, they are being killed. It is sad because for every volunteer doctor killed, a generous person is being grabbed of his life and a community is being deprived of medical services,” Hontiveros said.
The slain doctor was the younger brother of DoH-Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao Secretary Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr.
The victim’s family said they 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. She added that she will file a resolution to urge the Senate to look into the killings of doctors in the communities.