On February 15th, 2017, as she drove her three children home from school, Mia Manuelita “Atty. Mia” C. Mascariñas-Green, an environmental, women’s and children’s rights lawyer, was brutally and mercilessly gunned down by several assailants in her hometown in Bohol Province, Philippines.
Mia was a lifelong advocate who believed that everyone, young or old, rich or poor, had rights and that ultimately the legal system would work for all. And she lived by her belief, making sure that everyone who walked into her office was given the time and support they needed. She very passionately pursued the interests of her clients, even in the face of great risk. She staunchly confronted at least four attempts to stop her through disbarment, all of which failed. She received death threats and shrugged them off as part of a lawyer’s job. She would re-evaluate the situation if needed, but, fearless in her convictions, she never backed down from any situation, dutifully doing her work, faithfully following the creed of her profession, and staying true to her promise to be fair while also making a difference in people’s lives.
But above all, Mia was a devoted, caring mother who always put her children first. The children were the center of her life. She ensured that every activity, whether waking up, drinking milk, going to sleep and especially bathing was a fun event for her 10-year-old daughter, Zoe Grace, and 23-month-old twins Eli James and Zia Grace. Having experienced losing her own mother when she was 6 years old, she felt she needed to spend as much time with her children as she could. And she was a great mother to the end. In her final conscious moments, she thought only of her children: Instead of facing her assailants or attempting to defend herself, her final act was to turn her head to look at her three children and ensure that they were not hurt.
Mia's most important priority and fervent wish were to ensure that her children have access to a good education. As a summa cum laude and class salutatorian at Divine Word College, Mia believed that a good education is the best platform for a successful life. Two months before her death, Mia expressed to her husband her wish that, in the event of either of them passing prematurely, the surviving spouse should make sure that the children are provided with full schooling through their tertiary education (university/college).
For safety reasons the family are now relocating to the UK. With the loss of half of the family’s income, Mia’s husband Stuart can no longer guarantee that he will be able to fulfill Mia’s wish to educate their children all the way through university. In view of this, Stuart and his colleagues from the environmental development field have set up an educational trust fund for Zoe Grace, Zia Grace and Eli James. Mia's husband, Stuart, has pledged to contribute at least 30% of his salary to the fund every year, and a group of his friends and colleagues have pledged to help him raise the additional funds required to ensure that the children are educated through university.
Mia left us a precious legacy: standing up for the rights of the poor and communities, and a belief that the beautiful province of Bohol is truly a place where each person’s rights are respected and where people should be able to live in harmony with the culture, beauty and natural resources that Bohol provides. We hope that this legacy will forever inspire the community of people who fondly call and remember her as “Atty. Mia,” the very fair lady who was available any time of day or night to help out with any situation. We are confident that her legacy will live on through her children, Zoe, Eli and Zia, who will be raised to remember their mother as a very strong, principled and fair leader, and a great role model.
In honor of Mia, her devotion to the rights of all people, and her legacy, we invite you to contribute any amount to the trust fund to help ensure that her dream for her children becomes a reality. Your donation will go directly to the trust fund in the United Kingdom.