A NEWBORN girl was left on top of a septic tank in Sitio Ibabao-Proper, Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City yesterday morning, exposed to ants and passing dogs.

She survived.

Jocelyn Lepatan, 42, and her neighbor Leonor Aldave found the infant after Aldave’s brother said he heard a baby crying.

They found the naked baby wrapped in a polo shirt with a floral print. Her umbilical cord was wrapped in a plastic bag.

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“Nanglagom na ang bata. Unya daghan pa gyong umigas naamak niya (She was beginning to turn blue and there were ants biting her),” Lepatan said.

Lepatan carried the baby home, cleaned her and called a midwife, Crispina Pono, to cut the cord cleanly.

A carpenter later told Lepatan he saw two women walking near the septic tank past 4 a.m. Later, at daybreak, the women left and never returned.

Lepatan said that the carpenter also saw a dog passing near the child. “Maayo gani wa paaka sa iro (It was such a relief to know the dog didn’t bite her),” she said.

The baby girl is believed to be around seven months, is 45.1 cms. tall and weighs 1.7 kilos.

Married and childless, Lepatan said she was happy when she saw the baby, even if she may not be able to afford adopting her or paying her hospital bills.

“Welder ra god ang akong bana (My husband is only a welder),” she said. “Ang akoa lang nakatabang ko sa bata (It’s enough that I helped the child).”

A police officer from the Mambaling Police Station is willing to adopt the baby.

PO2 Carlo Magno Jimenez immediately called his wife, Marilou, after learning about the baby, who was briefly kept in the health center.

Marilou said she was doing the laundry when her husband called. “Giingnan ko niya, ‘Daliag anhi sa centro kay naa’y bata (He told me to hurry up and see the baby),” she said.

Marilou has a son, aged six. She said her husband want another child.

Luciana Cadungog, of the medical social service office of Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC), said the infant’s mother could be charged with abandonment and child abuse, if she is ever found.

In order to adopt, she added, a family must prove it can provide the child’s basic needs like “food, shelter, clothing, education and a good environment.”

Marilou and Jocelyn shared a taxi to the CCMC, where they had the baby admitted for observation.

Before they arrived, Marilou said she planned to name the baby Divine Grace.

“Kay grasya man (Because she’s a blessing),” she explained. She then looked at the baby’s face, smiled, and said: “Babaye man diay ka, magkuyog nya ta’g shopping! (Little girl, we’ll go shopping together!).”