SPO2 Edgardo “Joy” Figuracion, a policeman-nurse attached to the PNP medical unit, related his remarkable story to the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Leadership Journey community during the Journey program held last June 9, 2012 at the SPC Vigil House, Taytay, Rizal.
In the late hours of May 20, 2006, a neighboring farmer stormed into the Zamboanga home of 35-year-old Arlyn Paragoso. The farmer, Teotimo Gulahib, massacred Pagaroso and her 4-year-old son, Lenmar. In the course of the crime scene investigation, the police found a month-old baby girl, bleeding with one hand nearly severed.
The infant was immediately brought to the Zamboanga Provincial Hospital. At the hospital, the father, a tricycle driver, told the social worker that he had no means of caring for the injured child.
Figuracion, then a PO3 policeman-nurse assigned to the Provincial Office Health Service, saw the infant in the hospital as he was making the rounds with the PNP medical unit. Together with several members of the police force, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and hospital representatives, Figuracion sought out a foster family for the child. However, their efforts proved unsuccessful, as no one dared to take in an injured child.
“May isang mag-asawa na lumapit,” said Figuracion, “pero nung makita nila ang kanyang kamay, ayaw na nila. Hindi raw siya makakapaglaba.”
After weeks of searching, Figuracion jokingly stated that he himself will adopt the child if no one else wanted to. This prompted the search team to encourage Figuracion to realize his remark.
“Nung sinabi ko sa asawa ko na plano kong mag-adopt, tinanong niya ako kung paano namin siya papalakihin,” recalled Figuracion. “At that time, may anak na kami. At hindi naman malaki ang sweldo ng pulis.”
Figuracion was finally able to talk his wife into going with him to the hospital to see the infant. “Pagkatapos kong dalhin ang asawa ko sa ospital para makita ang bata, nakumbinsi ko rin siya na i-adopt ang bata,” recalled Figuracion. The couple named the child Ezzeah.
The first few months after adopting the child proved difficult for Figuracion and his family. He was forced to work several part-time jobs to earn enough money for diapers and milk. “Nagbenta ako ng prutas na namumunga sa likod ng bahay,” said Figuracion. “Tapos madaling araw, ibebenta ko sa palengke para makabili ng mga kailangan ni Ezzeah.”
Figuracion actively sought financial assistance to mend Ezzeah’s hand. “Naawa ako sa bata,” relayed Figuracion, “gusto kong gumaling yung kamay niya para hindi siya mahirapan in the future.”
Fortunately, Figuracion was able to get in touch with various individuals who aided in sending both father and daughter to Manila to receive the necessary treatment for Ezzeah’s hand.
When asked by a Journey participant if he, at times, regretted the adoption, Figuracion simply responded, “Binigay si Ezzeah sa amin. Siya ang aming angel.”
The Journey community was left in awe of Figuracion’s story. He continues to serve as an inspiration for all to lead a life of faith, and most importantly, of love.
Ed Figuracion and his daughter, Ezzeah, were able to fly to Manila from Pagadian for the 6th batch of the NCA Leadership Journey program with the generous support of Cebu Air, Inc. (Cebu Pacific).