Editorial: Going to the bottom

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Friday, May 30, 2014

THE Department of Health (DOH) 7 will continue its investigation into allegations of baby-taping and use of pacifiers by personnel of the Cebu Puericulture Center and Maternity House (CPCMH) even if the inter-agency task force headed by the Regional Subcommittee for the Welfare of Children (RSCWC) ended its own probe.

This clarification was made by Suzette Jabonete, DOH 7 public information officer, a day after RSCWC ended its investigation supposedly for fear it would be accused of bias if the results of its probe would be used in a court case that Ryan Noval and Jasmine Badocdoc, aggrieved parents of one of the taped babies, are preparing.

Jabonete said the investigation will be continued by her office’s Licensing Division.


But initially, it did look like the RSCWC missed the point altogether. The case that Noval and Badocdoc will file is not its concern. Rather, the probe was meant to look into possible violations of government policies by CPCMH, supposedly a child-friendly hospital.

Jabonete said that DOH 7 intends to get to the bottom of the claims of Noval and Badocdoc and at least two other parents as this would help the department improve its policies in dealing with newborn babies and strengthen its monitoring of medical facilities.

That means DOH 7 is not willing to be caught in the legal trap. If the case goes to court, its resolution will take years. In the intervening period, lessons from the taping incident would be forgotten.

Besides, there is no assurance that the truth can be fully ascertained during court hearings. It is even possible the aggrieved parents would lose the appetite to bring the case to its conclusion. Note that from the start, Noval and Badocdoc didn’t want to go through the hassles of prosecuting the case.

The DOH 7 investigation, however, should not limit itself to finding out whether it is a practice in CPCMH to tape the mouth of noisy babies or to use a pacifier and tape it in place to calm them. The other important concern is whether the hospital attempted to prevent the truth on the reported baby-taping incidents from coming out.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 31, 2014.


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