Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Morong 43!

Handcuffed and humiliated, Judilyn Oliveros, of the Morong 43, is taken from the hospital and returned to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology detention facility in Taguig City. Oliveros, who just gave birth, is brought back to prison without even holding her newborn baby. A Philippine court denied her motion for release despite the Department of Justice's withdrawal of its opposition. Both mother and child are now inside the prison facility. The so-called Morong 43, tagged by the military as members of the communist New People's Army, were arrested in February this year. The 43 people arrested by soldiers had denied they are rebels, but health workers.(Contributed photo by Dr. Geneve Rivera, HEAD)

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / August 18, 2010) - Tanggol Bai, an association of women human rights defenders, called for the immediate release of Carina “Judilyn” Oliveros and her three-weeks old baby from detention, after their recent transfer from the Philippine General Hospital to detention facilities in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Oliveros is among the Morong 43, the forty three community health workers and medical professionals who were illegally arrested on false and fabricated charges, tortured and detained since February 6, 2010. Twenty seven of them are women, two were pregnant at the time of the arrest.

Cristina Palabay, Tanggol Bai convenor, said the transfer is an inhumane move detrimental to the conditions of both mother and baby.

“The detention facility is not a place for a mother and her newly born. The detention cells are cramped and poorly ventilated, therefore a highly unsuitable place for Oliveros to recover from her caesarian delivery and for the baby to be breastfed,” she said.

Palabay cites the baby’s attending pediatrician’s opinion that breastfeeding is essential in ensuring the child’s normal growth and development and that the mother should be housed in a comfortable and stress-free environment for continuous breastfeeding and post natal care.

“The mother and child’s detention speaks of the continued injustice against Oliveros and the rest of the Morong 43. Oliveros and baby should be released immediately for clear humanitarian reasons. We call on Pres. Aquino to heed this call for justice in his first 100 days in office,” she commented

Tanggol Bai cites the case of Zenaida Llesis and her 11-month child, who were released for humanitarian reasons in 2004, as a precedent for the said action. The baby was suffering then from congenital heart disease and liver failure.

“There are more than sixty women political prisoners in the country, most of them were victims of illegal and arbitrary arrests and detention under the Macapagal-Arroyo government. It is high time that Pres. Aquino attends to their calls for immediate release and that of the release of all political prisoners,” Palabay concluded.

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