Press Release
December 4, 2020


Senator Nancy Binay on Friday appealed to authorities to "prevent another Baby River" following the arrest of Amanda Lacaba Echanis, daughter of slain Anakpawis Chairman and peace consultant Randall Echanis, who has a one-month old son, in Baggao, Cagayan.

Echanis was arrested on Wednesday morning on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

"Nananawagan po tayo sa ating PNP. Iwasan po natin na magkaroon ng insidenteng kagaya ng kay Baby River na namatay sapagkat hindi natutukan ng kaniyang ina ang pangangalaga sa kanya sa crucial stage ng paglaki niya," Binay said.

Baby River was political detainee Reina Nasino's 3-month old daughter, who succumbed to complications from pneumonia in October. Nasino gave birth eight months after her arrest for illegal possession of firearms in Manila.

A Manila court had denied Nasino's petition to nurse her baby while in detention.

The senator appealed to let Echanis and her baby be moved to a separate facility where she can nurse the child and where medical attention is available.

"I appeal to the custodians not to make the same mistakes which claimed the life of Baby River. Napaka-vulnerable po ng mag-ina. For a nursing mother, yung iwalay ang anak ay napakabigat sa kalooban. I hope the jailers understand that mother-child separation has traumatic impacts, and exposes the baby to many risks," Binay pointed out.

The senator said mother and child can be turned over to a church-based organization, or a non-government foundation that are willing and capable of taking care of both mother and her newborn.

Binay also called on Congress to pass a bill that would allow imprisoned solo parents to continue performing their parental and child-rearing obligations.

The senator filed Senate Bill No. 1344, or "An Act Creating Programs for Incarcerated Parents and their Children," earlier this year.

The proposed measure aims to help incarcerated parents develop and maintain their relationship with their children.

Binay has repeatedly proposed several Senate bills and resolutions for alternative ways of confinement based on humanitarian grounds. She has also called for the review of existing standards for the healthcare needs of pregnant inmates in order to meet the special needs of women and nursing mothers in jails.

"The pursuit of justice need not be inhumane. In fact, justice demands that we protect children from the consequences of their parents' alleged actions. Nakikiusap tayo sa ating mga awtoridad na isaalang-alang ang kapakanan ng sanggol," the lawmaker said.

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