LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – A 54-year-old mother was finally reunited with her family in Barangay Poblacion in this town after begging in the streets of Muntinlupa City for 15 years.
Dina Estrada went to Metro Manila sometime in 2006 to visit her partner from time to time who was imprisoned in the national penitentiary.
In an interview with the Philippine News Agency on Wednesday, Estrada recalled that while in Metro Manila, she survived the daily challenges and longing for her family by working as a garbage collector and became a beggar after she lost her communication with them back then.
“Nagpalaboy-laboy ako sa daan. Namalimos ako para makaraos sa araw-araw sa loob ng 15 years. Hindi naman ako makauwi kasi hindi na nakakakita yung mata ko sa kanan. (I wandered in the streets. I begged for money to survive daily for the past 15 years. I cannot go home because my right eye could no longer see),” she said.
Estrada said she asked help from her neighbors to look for her daughter, Mejica, on Facebook.
“Na-surprise ako at the same time, may excitement dahil last week nung may nag-chat sa akin sa messenger tungkol sa nanay ko. Nag-video call kami at doon nakita ko talaga yung mama ko –siya nga yun dahil 15 years old na rin ako nung umalis siya. (I was surprised and at the same time excited because somebody sent me a message through messenger about my mother last week. We had a video call and I saw my mom. I know it was her because I was already 15 years old when she left us),” Mejica said.
She said upon receiving the message, they immediately coordinated with Lingayen Mayor Leopoldo Bataoil to look for her mother.
Bataoil used to serve as chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) during his active service in the Philippine National Police.
Mejica said Bataoil contacted police officers in Metro Manila to help find Dina.
She said the Muntinlupa police found Dina begging for help somewhere in Cavite on Sept. 17.
Dina arrived in Lingayen on Sept. 18 and saw Mejica once again.
During the interview, Dina and Mejica said they could not contain their tears of happiness after finally getting a chance again to hug each other on Sept. 20, a few days after observation and isolation in the Lingayen’s quarantine facility.
Even if they are already reunited, Mejica, however, feels bad for the pain her mom went through.
“Sobra akong naaawa sa pinagdaanan ng mama ko. Nakikipag-coordinate din kami sa Muntinlupa police para sa legal action doon sa kumupkop sa kaniya dahil sapilitan siyang pinanlimos at kinukuha ang mga mga nalilimos niya. (I feel sorry for my mom for all she went through. We are also coordinating with the Muntinlupa police for legal action because those who adopted my mother forced her to beg on the streets and they got the money from her),” Mejica said.
She added they are now also seeking help for the treatment of her mother who has cataract.
Bataoil also pledged assistance, she said.
Individuals who want to help Dina and her family may send cash through GCash with account number 0948-720-1112. (PNA)