Congress urged to hold hearing on the condition of breastfeeding political prisoner

Karapatan and Breastfeeding Philippines, a program of Nurturers of the Earth, urged both houses of Congress to conduct a congressional hearing in aid of legislation on Republic Act 10028 (The Act Expanding the Promotion of Breastfeeding) in relation to the condition of political prisoner Miradel Torres, a breastfeeding mother, and his son Karl. Torres and son are both detained at the Taguig City Jail (TCJ) in Bicutan.
In a letter to Senators Grace Poe, Pia Cayetano, and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Karapatan urged the amendment of RA 10028 so that “the right to breastfeed of mothers and babies like Miradel and Karl would be guaranteed under the law.” The same request was submitted by the Breastfeeding Philippines to the House of Representatives through the Gabriela Partylist. 

Both groups emphasized that while it is “critical that Karl be taken out of prison with his breastfeeding mother,” it is also necessary “to put breastfeeding mothers and babies like Miradel and Karl under protective custody of any government or non-government institution is willing to take them under their wings,” while in detention. “They should also be given additional food provision needed to nourish a breastfeeding mother and for Karl’s complementary feeding,” the letter stated.  

An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) from the Nurturers of the Earth advised Miradel not to allow Karl to be separated from her to avoid the increased chances of acquiring any infectious disease that he was exposed to once the immunological properties of breastmilk would not be available to him anymore. Two months ago, three inmates at the TCJ were diagnosed with tuberculosis. This situation puts both Karl and her mother at risk of being infected. “While they are still in prison, both of them should be provided with the space that can decrease their exposure from tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.” 

The Nurturers of the Earth said “breastfeeding is part of fundamental human right: the right to food and health.” The organization asked Congress to “help us protect this right so that every Filipino woman can nurture her child including political prisoners like Miradel.”

Miradel Torres was three months pregnant when arrested in June 2014 and gave birth to baby Karl in November 2014.  Karl is now eight months old.  ###


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