Makabayan bloc seeks House probe on death of inmate’s baby in Negros
MANILA. Philippines — The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives is seeking an investigation into the death of an infant who was separated from her detained political prisoner mother in Negros Oriental.
Under House Resolution No. 1600, the Makabayan bloc urged the lower chamber to investigate the death of baby Carlen, daughter of political prisoner Nona Espinosa, who died on February 14 of an infection in the lungs and blood. Baby Carlen died only three days after birth.
“Carlen was born with a cleft palate and creating problems according to Kapatid, a support network for political prisoners. Despite this, Carlen was separated from her mother Nona just three days after birth,” the Makabayan lawmakers said in the resolution filed on February 23.
Citing rights network Kabataan para sa Karapatan-Negros Oriental, the lawmakers said Carlen’s complications worsened “after being denied breast milk which would have strengthened her immune system.”
“It is imperative for members of Congress, as representatives of the people, to protect the rights of the people and seek accountability of violations against such,” the lawmakers said.
“The death of infant Carlen just months after the controversial death of baby River highlights the need to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation on the incident to bring justice to the victims of these tragic incidents and avoid further casualties and damages especially against the innocent,” they added.
The incident happened just months after Baby River, daughter of political detainee Reina Mae Nasino, died at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila due to acute respiratory distress syndrome.
River was born at the Fabella Hospital on July 1 and was separated from her mom on Aug. 13. The baby stayed with her aunt while Nasino remained at the Manila City Jail with pending cases at court.
Probe Baby Carlen’s death
In a statement dated February 18, rights group Kapatid called on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to investigate baby Carlen’s death.
“We ask the Commission on Human Rights to investigate what happened and to likewise look into the conditions of pregnant prisoners and if the government is complying with the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (otherwise known as the Bangkok Rules),” Fides Lim, the group’s spokesperson, said.
The Bangkok Rules states that women prisoners shall not be discouraged from breastfeeding their children, unless there are specific health reasons to do so.
The CHR has said that it will investigate baby Carlen’s death.
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