“The court decisions robbed Reina Mae of the chance to properly breastfeed her child. We’ve said several times that breastfeeding is essential to sustain the health of both of them, especially at this time of the pandemic. Since their separation, the kin of Reina Mae had no choice but to shift to formula milk.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino’s three-month old daughter is hospitalized after showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus.
Kapatid, the support group for families and friends of political prisoners, once again pressed the government for the immediate release of Nasino.
“We call on the government to extend compassion for Reina Mae and her baby girl, River. Let her take care of her sick child. The lethal COVID-19 poses serious threats, especially for a nearly 3-month-old baby who wasn’t able to be breastfed enough after being separated from her mother less than two months ago,” said Fides Lim, Kapatid spokesperson, in a statement.
River had been previously hospitalized several times because of diarrhea, fever and possible pneumonia.
Lim said that they have repeatedly warned of the consequences of separating Nasino and her baby. However, both the Regional Trial Court and the Supreme Court did not heed their call to release Nasino to allow her to take care of her baby even for at least a year.
Nasino’s plea to let her stay with her baby was rejected by the court twice.
The recent decision of the SC on their petition on the other hand only gave an order to the lower courts to process the release of prisoners.
“The court decisions robbed Reina Mae of the chance to properly breastfeed her child. We’ve said several times that breastfeeding is essential to sustain the health of both of them, especially at this time of the pandemic. Since their separation, the kin of Reina Mae had no choice but to shift to formula milk,” Lim said.
Lim said it is clear that River’s separation from her mother has made her prone to illness. She said that breastmilk provides unsurpassed natural immunity and nutrition that contains protective antibodies much needed especially at this time of the pandemic.
According to Unicef, babies who are formula-fed are more vulnerable to asthma, allergies, childhood cancers, Type 1 diabetes during childhood and later in life, cardiovascular disease, obesity, gastrointestinal infections and ear infections.
Citing various studies, Unicef said formula feeding also retards children’s cognitive ability and educational achievement.
“There are no words to exactly describe what Reina Mae is feeling now. When she gave birth, we hoped that the government will seriously and positively respond to our call as we want to avoid what happened to Andrea Rosal, a political detainee whose newborn died because of complications. Now, we reiterate that this is one of the primary reasons why we are pressing for the release of Reina Mae. It is most cruel to separate a baby from her mother,” she said.