Have ‘built-in’ empathy, kindness for Baby River’s mom, gov’t told
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday called on government authorities to have “built-in” empathy and compassion, and to allow detained activist Reina Mae Nasino to properly attend the burial of her daughter Baby River this Friday.
“Sa ating mga officials, leaders, decision-makers: Maging built-in sana ang empathy at compassion sa gitna ng economic at health emergency na dulot ng COVID-19. No matter our political differences, our decisions should always be made in kindness,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
(To our officials, leaders, and decision-makers, I hope empathy and compassion will be built-in on us in the middle of this economic and health crisis caused by COVID-19. No matter our political difference, our decisions should always be made in kindness.)
“Only the heartless snatch a newborn baby away from her mother. Hinayaan lang ng gobyerno na mamatay si Baby River (The government just let Baby River die),” she further said. “Ibigay natin ang huling pagpapaalam sa mag-ina nang maayos (Let us allow the mother and her daughter to part properly).”
The Manila Regional Trial Court earlier reduced the furlough it gave to Nasino in visiting her daughter from three straight days to only three hours each for two days: from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to attend the wake on October 14, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for the interment on October 16.
On Wednesday, tension marred Nasino’s visit to the wake of Baby River when her guards blocked her from being interviewed by members of the media.
Hontiveros questioned why there had to be more than 40 guards to accompany Nasino who was then in handcuffs during most of her stay at the wake.
“Hanggang sa burol niya, pinagkaitan ang kanyang ina. Pati ang mga huling sandali na makasama man lang ang labi niya, hindi pa maibigay,” the senator said.
(Even in the wake, her mother was deprived of her rights. Even the last moments for Nasino to be with the remains of her daughter were deprived.)
“Kung laging kalupitan ang sagot natin sa hinanakit ng taumbayan sa gitna ng pinakamalalang krisis, ang pagdurusa ni Reina Mae ay siya ring magiging pagdurusa ng buong bayan,” she added.
(If we will always respond with cruelty on the pleas of the people in the middle of crisis, the suffering of Reina Mae will be the same suffering of the entire nation.)
Nasino, 23, and two other activists were arrested at the Tondo, Manila office of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in November 2019 and were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, a non-bailable offense. Her daughter, born on July 1, was diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis. She then died on October 9 while Nasino was detained at the female dormitory of the Manila City Jail.
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