LAST week, about our teachers and World Teachers Day.

This week about another UN-created day, International Day of the Girl Child, this year on October 11, Sunday.

A bit of background here. On December 19, 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 that declared October 11 of each year as the International Day of the Girl Child, in specific recognition of girls’ rights and the particular challenges girls the world over face. The theme this year: “My voice, our equal future.”

It cannot be helped that the first voice that comes to mind in such a discussion is that of girl child activist Greta Thunburg. It is widely recounted that in 2011, the young Greta initially learned about climate change when she was just eight and could not comprehend why there was not enough done to address it. Reportedly, she became depressed about the situation.

The 2018 book titled Scenes from the Heart speaks of her depression and how it turned into climate activism. The story is not Greta’s alone, but is too that of her family’s journey with her on the activist road. That activism began at home and developed; Greta became famous when she picketed the Swedish parliament at age 15. And the rest is history.

Closer to home, there is the history-making story of the baby girl River, child of political detainee Reina Mae Nacino, who died apart from her mother. An October 14 GMA news report states that:

“Nasino is in jail on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. She calls the allegations fabricated. She spent her pregnancy at the city jail's female dormitory and gave birth to River at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital on July 1.

“Mother and daughter were returned to jail the following day. Weeks later, despite Nasino's motion to be with her child for the next 12 months, a judge ordered them to be separated, saying the jail has no facility for newborn babies.

“River was hospitalized in late September after showing Covid-19 symptoms but later tested negative. She succumbed to pneumonia last Friday.”

It is a sad day for the country when a baby is literally ripped from her mother’s arms by the state, and the baby dies three months later, a girl child voice silenced by death. Sadder still that the mother had to battle the courts in order to be granted leave to be at her baby’s wake and funeral. The little slip of a woman then had to be under heavy, armed guard while on leave.

Yet closer to home, another sad day even as we commemorate National Indigenous Peoples Month itself, October. In these Cordillera hills themselves, this paper reports the planned demolition of a heroes’ memorial in Bugnay, Kalinga. Reportedly, the DPWH confirmed that the memorial honoring Macliing Dulag, Pedro Dungoc, and Lumbaya Gayudan encroaches on the national road and is thus to be demolished.

We lend our support to the movement to preserve the heroes’ memorial and to climate change initiatives that favor our earth, as too do we protest the inhumane treatment of Nacino.

For our equal future.