Mother in Muntinlupa rescued, reunited with her family after 15 years

Published September 20, 2021, 10:46 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

A 54-year-old mother in Muntinlupa, who begged money from motorists for survival, was finally reunited with her family after 15 long years.

Members of the Muntinlupa police helped Divina “Nanay Dina” Estrada go home to be with her family in Lingayen, Pangasinan last Sept. 18.

Divina Estrada along Daang Hari road in Cavite (left) and after being rescued by Muntinlupa police (screenshot from video of Marco Laguna, Muntinlupa police)

According to the Muntinlupa police, Estrada was unable to go back to Pangasinan since 2006 and she lived by begging money from motorists and other people.

Lt. Riza Soledad of the Muntinlupa police told Manila Bulletin that according to daughter Mejica Estrada, Nanay Dina went to live in Muntinlupa when her partner was incarcerated at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) so she could visit him. When her partner died, Estrada decided to settle in Muntinlupa.

Nanay Dina’s journey back home started when she asked her neighbors in Biazon Road, Brgy. Poblacion, Muntinlupa last month to find her daughter on Facebook.

They were able to find Mejica, who promised that she would fetch her mother in Muntinlupa after learning about her situation.

However, Mejica was not able to immediately fulfill her promise when her husband and daughter became ill, and in part due to lockdowns and quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and provinces because of the pandemic.

Mejica sought the help of Lingayen Mayor Leopoldo Bataoil, who previously served as chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and Pangasinan representative.

Bataoil contacted Southern Police District Director Brig. Gen. Jimili Macaraeg for help. Macaraeg called Muntinlupa Police chief, Col. Melecio Buslig, to find Estrada.

The Muntinlupa police went to Estrada’s address at Biazon Road but she was not there. On Sept. 17, a rescue operation conducted by members of the Muntinlupa police’s Intelligence Section, Community Affairs Section, and Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) found Estrada along Daang Hari in Cavite. Soledad said Estrada was weak and suffering from cataract.

Estrada spent the night under the care of the Muntinlupa WCPD and at 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 18, the Muntinlupa police accompanied her on her journey to Lingayen.

In the morning of Sept. 18, Nanay Dina arrived in Lingayen and was reunited with her daughter and grandchild. Tears flowed as they saw one another. Mejica could not believe that she would see her mother again.

Daughter Mejica Estrada (left) and Divina Estrada (in the car) reunited in Lingayen, Pangasinan (Lingayen Information Office)

However, the family will have to wait for the reunion as Estrada needs to undergo mandatory quarantine. Before Estrada was left at a quarantine facility, the Muntinlupa police gave her financial assistance which came from Buslig.

According to the Lingayen Information Office and the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (LDRRMO), Estrada will be temporarily staying at the Municipal Isolation Facility to check her health and test her for COVID-19 before she can finally be with her family.

Bataoil thanked the SPD, Macaraeg and Muntinlupa police for helping Estrada.

Divina Estrada (left) receives financial assistance from the Muntinlupa police that was given by Col. Melecio Buslig (Lingayen Information Office)

Lingayen Mayor Leopoldo Bataoil (right) with Estrada’s daughter and grandchild, and police officers (Lingayen Information Office)