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Marking my 4th Mother’s Day in unjust detention, at a time when the whole world is dealing with a pandemic that has forced people into isolation, I remind myself that I am able to endure so much – 3 years, 2 months and 17 days at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame – because of my intense hope that I will soon be reunited with my own mother, children and grandchildren, freed and vindicated.
In the past, my family, relatives, friends and staff would visit me on Sundays. We would celebrate Holy Mass, and share stories and laughs over a simple lunch. Today would have been the same, but perhaps with the addition of a bouquet, cake, and plenty of hugs and greetings because it is a special occasion.
But as precaution against the spread of COVID-19, the PNP has been implementing a no-visitors policy. So there will be no guests to expect for now, and I do not know for how long this will be the case.
Kaya naman hindi ko maiwasang dalawin ng lungkot at pangungulila. Bilang anak sa aking may sakit na ina, na hindi ko man lang mabisita at maalagaan sa kabila ng kanyang nanghihinang kalusugan.
Bilang ina, sa aking mga anak na sina Israel at Vincent Joshua, na hindi ko man lamang personal na nakakausap at nayayakap.
Bilang lola sa aking dalawang apo, Brandon and Hannah, who I miss dearly.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, I have been picturing the day that I will walk to my freedom, go out the same way I came in, down the path of high walls and barbed wires, and finally rejoin my family and loved ones on the outside.
I suppose that ever since the lockdowns and quarantine protocols, for many, life in general must seem akin to being in prison, held by the fear of a disease that has affected 215 countries with 265,862 registered deaths out of the 3,855,812 confirmed cases.
When we emerge out of this pandemic, I imagine the world at large rediscovering the meaning of hugs and the value of togetherness, among other things, and truly understanding – like some life-defining revelation – just how crucial it is to have solidarity for the sake of saving lives and ennobling human dignity.
Spending Mother’s Day by myself is saddening, yes. But I continuously try to draw strength and inspiration from others, who, just like me, are looking forward to better days when they can freely go outside.
The doctors, nurses, healthworkers and other frontliners who cannot come home to their loved ones in order to keep them safe. Silang tinitiis ang pagkasabik na makasama at mahagkan ang mga anak.
Those who lost their jobs. Paano nga ba makapagdidiwang sa gitna ng pagkalam ng sikmura, pangambang magkasakit at agam-agam kung saan kukuha ng pantustos sa pangangailangan ng pamilya?
Those who lost loved ones to COVID-19. Sila na biglaang lumisan at kahit sa huling hantungan ay hindi magawang maihatid ng mga kaibigan at mahal sa buhay.
Those who became widowed, orphaned, and childless by the state-sponsored extrajudicial killings.
The women and children who suffer from domestic abuse further aggravated with enforced lockdowns.
Mothers locked up in severely cramped jails and decrepit prisons, a reality that pains me so much.
Mother’s Day, instead of being a cause for celebration, becomes a reminder of the injustice and tragedies that have struck families everywhere.
It is a very daunting task to be a mother, especially during these perilous times when their family’s survival depends on them as they are always expected to know what is best.
Indeed, mothers do not only see the big picture. We also understand the interconnectedness and importance of making sacrifices now in the hope of something better in the end. This allows us to see things through despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges that beset us. Na kahit anong sakuna at pasakit pa ang dumating ay ating malalampasan at mapagtatagumpayan.
On Mother’s Day 2020, I call on my fellow mothers to demonstrate what it really means to have strength, courage and hope amid this challenging period in our history and our collective herstory.
Patuloy lang tayong magpakatatag. Patuloy lang tayong lumaban. – Rappler.com
Senator Leila de Lima, a fierce Duterte critic, has been detained in a facility at the Philippine National Police headquarters for nearly 3 years over what she calls trumped-up drug charges.