A MENTALLY-ill woman has been found after allegedly being locked in a cage for 25 years in a remote village in the Philippines.
The emaciated woman was discovered by Jedah Curacha Naquines, who hiking through Cebu province on Tuesday.
At first, Jedah thought she was just trapped, but later realised that she suffers from a mental illness.
The caged woman, estimated to be 45-years-old, is called Manol by neighbours – although they do now know her real name.
Shockingly, locals told Jedah that they had kept the woman locked up for 25 years after her mother died and father left.
The practice is not uncommon in rural areas of the Philippines, according to separate reports from The Guardian and The World Health Organisation.
They said she had been living alone after her mother died and her step father moved to another country for work.
She was almost knocked over by a passing truck so concerned neighbours pooled their money together to build a small cage for her from cement with a metal gate.
Neighbours told Jedah they were afraid the woman would endanger herself after she was almost hit by a passing truck one day and decided to lock her up.
After hearing the story Jedah jogged to the neighbouring village and pleaded for help before posting on social media in a desperate bid save the woman from the cruel practice.
She said: “I wanted to know why she was put inside a cage like an animal.
“Even if she doesn’t seem to understand what is happening around her, she does not deserve that life.”
The cage is attached to the side of the house she used to live in with her parents, and neighbours take turns to bring her food.
Shocked to hear the story of the woman, Jedah said: “I hope someone helps her because her situation is very bad.
She does not deserve that life
“The local officials should do something. She needs medical attention.
”Seeing her like that was heartbreaking.”
Jedah is now coordinating with the government officials in the area to improve the condition of the woman and has asked her own friends to find help for Manol.
The WHO’s report says it was natural catastrophes like the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and the 2013 typhoon in the Philippines which “provided the catalyst for decentralizing mental health care to the community level, where it was most needed”.
They add that in the last 20 years the mental health care in these countries has seen “some of the biggest leaps forward” as a result of the natural emergenices.
However it appears in some remote areas, the practice is ongoing.
In 2014, one year after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, The Guardian published a short film exposing the practice.
One interviewee, a disability campaigner, said following the 2013 typhoon, the practice was “opened up,” describing how the mentally ill are left in the make-shift cages to “rot to death”.
The campaigner describes the story of Ben, a mentally ill man who was shackled for 16 years by his own family, he said.
He said Ben’s family “left him to die in the typhoon”.
Locals describe how a lack of funds prevented them from accessing costly psychiatric treatment – but it’s also down to stigma around mental health issues, says The Guardian.
But now various organisations, including the WHO are pushing for the government to channel funding into mental health up, with an improvement in recent years.
In 2019 the WHO published a report stating: “In many countries in the world, ignorance about mental health and mental illness remains widespread.
“The uptake of mental health care during conflict and other emergencies, in countries where such support has been limited, can lead to the identification of people who are tied up, locked in cages, hidden from society.”