Sagada Folk Condemn Bombing That Killed Therapist in Afghanistan

Call for review of GMA’s labor export policy

While residents of Sagada, Mountain Province (275 km north of Manila) mourn for the death of a community member in a suicide bombing incident in Afghanistan on Jan. 14, they condemn the bombing incident as inhuman and at the same time criticized the labor export policy of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as a “push factor” for health professionals.

BY ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
Northern Dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat
Vol. VII, No. 49, January 20-26, 2008

While residents of Sagada, Mountain Province (275 km north of Manila) mourn for the death of a community member in a suicide bombing incident in Afghanistan on Jan. 14, they condemn the bombing incident as inhuman and at the same time criticized the labor export policy of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as a “push factor” for health professionals.

Reportedly, eighty to ninety percent of Filipino health professionals ��� including doctors, nurses, physical therapist and medical technologists – are abroad.

“We were shocked with the news that Zinnia Aguilan, a member of our community died due to a bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan,” said Anglican priest Fr. Jerry Sagayo, parish priest of the St. Mary the Virgin Church in Sagada. We condemn the bombing as an inhuman act. We urge President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to review her labor export policy which pushes our finest sons and daughters to other countries.”

Kabul bombing

A physical therapist by profession, Aguilan was among those who were killed when an alleged Taliban rebel entered on Monday night Kabul’s Serena Hotel and blew himself with a bomb. An American, a Norwegian reporter, and a United Arab Emirates diplomat were among those killed.

Aguilan had been working as spa supervisor of the only five-star hotel in Kabul. A witness reportedly saw that she was hit critically. She was brought to a nearby hospital but expired at 10:00 a.m. (1:30 p.m. Manila time) on Jan. 19. Her remains are expected to arrive in Baguio City by Jan. 20.

A 1993 graduate of St. Mary’s School in Sagada, Aguilan had worked in other countries before she went to Afghanistan.

Support

Alumni and teachers of St. Mary’s joined the condemnation of the bombing and the review of the government’s labor export policy.

Leah Duka Abad, valedictorian of St. Mary’s School Class of 1991, joined the call for a review of the labor export policy, saying that the absence of job opportunities here leads our professionals to resort to the option of going abroad.

“(Besides) the (problem) of leaving your family is the danger you face in the foreign land,” said Abad, who is now a public school teacher.

“It is obvious that the government’s biggest revenue comes from OFW (overseas Filipino worker) remittances,” Abad added. “GMA is the number one bugaw (pimp) of sending Filipinos abroad. That’s the economics for her… Support systems for OFWs are not enough.”

Retired SMS principal Dorothy Kiley added that the lack of employment in our country which pushes Filipinos to seek greener pastures abroad will lead to the deaths of more OFWs.

“I urge the concerned agencies – both government and private which had something to do with her employment – to extend the necessary support for the repatriation and other benefits for this young lady of Sagada,” she said.

Kiley also condemned the bombings adding that justice should be rendered immediately in the case of Aguilan.

The remains of Aguilan will be brought home to Sagada. The burial, which has no definite schedule yet, will be in Sagada, Sagayo said. Northern Dispatch / Posted by (Bulatlat.com)

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