After Ragos' killing, PH Army launches mental health program

Published June 20, 2020, 6:09 PM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Martin Sadongdong

The Philippine Army (PA) has initiated a comprehensive mental health program for its distressed personnel following the fatal shooting of ex-Corporal Winston Ragos, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), at the hands of a police officer nearly two months ago.

Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay, PA commanding general, led the inauguration of the Mental Health Resiliency Center (MHRC) at the Army General Hospital in Fort Bonifacio Taguig City and the opening of the “Kaagapay ng Mga Bayani” program which aims to provide goal-directed resilience and psychological interventions for Army personnel with mental health disorders.

Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay (10th Infantry Agila Division Philippine Army / MANILA BULLETIN)
Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay
(10th Infantry Agila Division Philippine Army / MANILA BULLETIN)

Gapay, in his speech, expressed hope that the Army will pursue the promotion, protection, restoration, and sustainment of mental health of its personnel through the newly established program.

“By providing proper care, we help our heroes restore their well-being to assist them in their transition from the active service to civilian life,” he said.

According to the Army chief, the MHRC was designed to assist personnel in the prevention, early detection, treatment, and management of mental disorders.

It also aims to provide directed resilience training and PTSD psychological interventions, as well as conduct comprehensive neuropsychiatric evaluation for enlistment, promotion, schooling, and employment of its personnel.

The MHRC is situated at the ground floor, outpatient wing of the Army General Hospital.

Gapay stressed that the PA’s mental health program was anchored on Republic Act No. 11036, also known as The Mental Health Act, which affirms the fundamental rights of people who require mental health services.

Ragos, a war veteran, enlisted in the military service in 2010. In the same year, he was diagnosed with PTSD following a number of armed encounters with communist groups, according to Colonel Ramon Zagala, Army spokesperson.

He was confined at the V. Luna Hospital in Quezon City in 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2016.

In December 2016, Ragos was officially given a certificate of disability discharge (CDD) since the recurring symptoms already affected his work. He retired on January 16, 2017.

On April 21, 2020, Ragos was shot dead by Master Sergeant Daniel Florendo following a heated argument at a quarantine checkpoint in Barangay Pasong Putik, Quezon City.

Florendo claimed Ragos attempted to pull out a gun from his bag at the height of the confrontation, prompting him to shoot the victim twice. A gun was found in Ragos’ bag, he said.

On April 26, Ragos was given a hero’s burial at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani in Taguig City.

The National Bureau of investigation went on to conduct an investigation as the Army requested for an impartial probe of the incident.

On June 4, the NBI announced that Florendo and his four trainees were charged with murder, planting of evidence and perjury.