A call for justice, not political propaganda
Every child is a gift from above
A blessing and grace
A promised generation
Diona Andrea had felt her mother’s love
But not well enough for her to live
On the second day of feeling the world
She died …..
The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) Public Affairs Office chief, Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, appealed to the public not to use the death of Baby Diona Andrea, daughter of political detainee Andrea Rosal, for political propaganda purposes. He issued the statement when Baby Diona died two days after she was born. But even without meaning to, what happened to Andrea and her daughter carried loads of loaded political messages. Among these:
• The current state of this country’s health system does not reflect a caring government. All it shows is that government cares more and far better for people who are accused of corruption like Janet Napoles, Gloria Arroyo, Joc-joc Bolante, who are given much better “accommodations” and privileges while in detention.
• The new definition of “compassion” is to give a mother three hours to mourn, in a wake, the death of her two-day-old baby, but compassion is not enough justification to allow a mother to be at the funeral of her daughter.
• Those charged with and detained for corruption have more privileges (e.g., better prison cells and ready access to medical treatment) than those who have been deprived of basic social services (e.g., they literally have to join long lines and wait for long hours, practically begging for mercy, to be treated in public hospitals).
Andrea Rosal was seven-month pregnant when she was arrested and imprisoned at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City, on March 27 for kidnapping, attempted homicide and murder. She became one of the Philippines more than 400 political prisoners.
A court had given permission for Andrea to be brought to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to give birth. She was brought to the PGH on May 16 but was sent back to Camp Bagong Diwa because, according to varying reports, she had no record there and there was no available room. She was finally admitted to the PGH in the evening of May 16 and gave birth in the morning of May 17. Two days after, Baby Diona died due to persistent pulmonary hypertension.
We lament the death of Baby Diona and the surrounding circumstances of her death. Baby Diona bade her mother goodbye even before she could feel the undying warmth of a mother’s embrace. Baby Diona bade goodbye to a mother whose life has never been easy and who was in detention. She bade farewell to a world where fighting for justice is a criminal offense.
This letter is not meant to advance a political agenda. This is a call for justice. Where’s the political agenda in a call for justice? What’s wrong with a call for justice?
—NORMA P. DOLLAGA,
Para sa Bayan
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