By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: A grieving mother has been refused the right to bury her baby back in the Philippines due to an absconding case against her in Kuwait. Melba, a 45-year-old Filipina, gave birth to a baby girl on Oct 25, 2020 at Sabah Maternity Hospital. Sadly, the baby died 22 days later due to birth complications. Melba and her husband Toti would like to bury the child in their home country, but due to the absconding case, the hospital is refusing to release the infant’s remains.

Melba’s troubles started in 2018 when she partnered with another Filipina to open a restaurant in Farwaniya. Melba had been running restaurants in Kuwait for several years and had good experience in the industry. But a dispute arose between her and her partner, who is married to a Kuwaiti. As a result, her partner filed an absconding case against Melba in early 2020.

From then on, Melba’s life has only gotten more difficult. Unable to resolve the legal matter or renew her residency, Melba became an illegal resident. Already pregnant, she had no choice but to go to the hospital when she went into labor. “This part of my life is very painful and I could not imagine why I was tested with this type of trial in my life. I am crying every day; the sponsor wants me out of Kuwait for a fault that can be fixed by dialogue. I am in pain because of the sudden loss of my baby,” said Melba, who is ready to leave Kuwait but not without her infant’s remains and her residency issue fixed.

Her husband, who is a legal resident of Kuwait, has tried to help resolve the situation. Even the Philippines Embassy tried to resolve the matter, but only the sponsor can cancel an absconding case. “The problem is I cannot take the body of my daughter. I feel very frustrated. I keep praying that I overcome this painful chapter of my life and for a change of heart by my business partner and sponsor,” she said.