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The Daily Tribune

(Without Fear or Favor)



World Wildlife Fund for Nature-Philippines

The Philippines Matrix Project

For 2 ‘Morong 43’ Moms, a New Beginning

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mercy Castro and Judilyn Oliveros gave birth while in police custody and had been under “hospital arrest.” Their release on Friday signaled not just a new beginning but, most importantly, a continuation of their struggle and commitment to help the poor.

MANILA — While waiting for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology vehicle that would bring them to Camp Bagong Diwa, the two ‘Morong 43’ mothers, Mercy Castro and Judilyn Oliveros, could not help but be impatient as the primetime television news talked about the usual rush-hour traffic in Metro Manila.
Dr. Julie Caguiat, executive director of the Community Medicine Development Foundation, who was with the two mothers in their hospital room, pointed to a spot on the TV screen where the BJMP vehicle, she joked, must be caught in traffic. “They might arrive tomorrow,” Castro said in jest, while preparing to take a nap to kill time.

Then the BJMP guards knocked and told them to get ready. They were going to Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan to join the other Morong 43. After that, after being imprisoned for more than 10 months, they could be home. 

Mercy Castro, the two ‘Morong 43′ babies and their respective grandmothers. (Photo by Janess Ann J. Ellao / bulatlat.com)
“I have mixed feelings. Excited. It is hard to explain it,” Oliveros told Bulatlat.com when asked what she was feeling now that she was only hours away from freedom.

The Morong 43 are the health workers who were arrested on Feb. 6 while conducting a training in Morong, Rizal. They were accused of being members of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Oliveros and Castro were pregnant at that time; they gave birth while they were still in custody on July 22 and October 18, respectively. The police had wanted the two and their newborns to be brought back to jail but the mothers and their supporters protested. The government relented and placed the two under “hospital arrest” at the Philippine General Hospital.
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URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2010/12/19/for-2-%E2%80%98morong-43%E2%80%99-moms-a-new-beginning/


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