138 nurses may pull out of Maguindanao over rape incident

As an act of protest for the gang rape committed against their colleague, 138 government nurses may pull out of Maguindanao province, a report aired over GMA's Unang Balita said on Friday.

"Hindi po nag-iisa ang biktima, pinapaabot po natin sa kanya, sa kanyang mga magulang at kapatid na narito po ang mga tunay na kapatid, magulang, at kalahi ng biktima (The victim is not alone, we would like to tell her and her family that she also has a family in us)," said Dr. Tahir Sulaik, the provincial health officer of Maguindanao, in the report.

Sulaik issued the statement after a 21-year old government nurse, identified as Florence (not her real name), was abducted and raped over the weekend.

Florence was found naked and unconscious on Sunday morning by some of the bystanders in a corn field in Barangay Timanan, South Upi town in Maguindanao.

Abandoning service?

Philippine Nurses Association president Dr. Teresita Barcelo said she understands the sentiments of Sulaik.

"I can understand, he knows what's better in the ground. If he thinks they need to pull out, I respect his decision because he's the one on the ground," she said in a separate interview on Friday.

Barcelo likewise admitted that nurses will now probably have second thoughts before joining the government project Nurses Assigned in Rural Service (NARS), which had deployed the gang rape victim to the province.

"If you see this kind of example, you will fear going out. Maybe our nurses who are young and idealistic will dare go but I'm sure their parents will not want that... then we willl not get many nurses who will want to do this," she said.

She noted, however, that they cannot just abandon their duty in the rural areas.

"Ayaw naman naming mawalan ng serbisyo ang aming mga kababayan na nasa remote rural areas (We don't want to deprive our countrymen in remote rural areas of our services)," she said.

However, Barcelo said authorities should instead strengthen the security for nurses.

SOURCE: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/202385/138-nurses-may-pull-out-of-maguindanao-over-rape-incident