DAVAO CITY – Lindy Yambanao, a 23 year-old Matigsalug-Kulamanon tribal woman from Kitaotao, Bukidnon gave birth to a baby boy, her fourth child Tuesday afternoon in a make-shift shelter house inside an evacuation center here.
She was attended by her husband’s aunt, Rita Yambanao who said that it was her first time to help out in delivering a baby.
“Nagsugod siya’g bati alas 3:00 sa buntag. Nitabang na lang ko kay tu-a pud ang mananabang namo sa ospital naay gitabang pud nga buntis nga nanganak (Her contractions started at 3:00 am today. I was forced to help out because our midwife attended to another mother who gave birth today in the hospital),” said Yambanao.
Yambanao said Lindy is the third woman among the tribal evacuees from Barangay White Kulaman in Kitaotao town who gave birth inside the evacuation center in the Haran compound of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, along Fr. Selga Street in Bankerohan.
Inside the make-shift shelter made of bamboo, Lindy was assisted by her two aunts Rita and Josie Labeninay, Matet, a community health worker and who is also of tribal origin, and Marion Solis, a volunteer nurse of the Grassroots Response Humanitarian Emergency, a group of non-government organizations who assists in giving health services for the Lumads.
Solis said Lindy was the 17th mother, whom he has assisted in giving birth since the various indigenous peoples arrived at the Haran compound since April this year. Solis cleaned Lindy’s baby.
Solis said Lindy was six months pregnant when she arrived with other Lumads in Davao City.
“We practice transcultural nursing. We respect the culture of the patients so long as the mother is comfortable on the place and carry out precautionary techniques,” said Solis.
“They have different practices when it comes to a woman giving birth. The Lumads from White Kulaman does not allow a male to have a major role in assisting a woman to give birth, while those from Talaingod and Kapalong (in Davao del Norte province) allows us to handle it,” he said.
He said part of their health program for the evacuees is to monitor the pregnancy of women.
Solis said they are still monitoring 11 pregnant women inside the compound.
He said the other Lumad woman gave birth in a hospital facility after experiencing fetal distress at 7:00 pm Monday.
“We brought her to the hospital last night. The mother gave birth to a baby girl and they are both safe now,” he said.
“Whenever we monitor any irregularity on the mother and the baby, we bring them to a hospital facility,” said Solis.
He said the stress experienced by the evacuees have “emotional impact” on both the mothers and the babies.
“Mothers need proper nutrition and enough rest to ensure healthy pregnancy, but as we can see the evacuees had to travel for long hours just to get here. They also expressed fear of threats on their lives and their situation in the evacuation center is far different from their own community, so that really has impact on the mother and the baby,” he said. More than 50 families from Barangay White Kulaman are still housed in the Haran compound.
Labeninay said they decided to evacuate because the military’s are occupying their community.
“We chose to evacuate because they would arrest anyone and charged them as being NPA members,” she said.
Labeninay was among those who were taken by the Army on board a helicopter on August this year. She recalled, she left her 7-month old son during her arrest.
“They said we were NPA members. But we are not armed,” she said. She said she was freed after two days.
Last Sunday, some 120 Manobo evacuees from San Fernando, Bukidnon have returned home after receiving reports that the military have pull out from their community.
Yambanao said they really hope to return home where their children including her granddaughter will have a normal life.
“But we cannot go home if the military is still occupying our community. We hope that they will pull out soon,” said Yambanao.(davaotoday.com)