PREDA NEWSLETTER March 1998
March 2, 1998 ·
There is a lot of catching up to do regarding reporting the many events and activities in the past two months at the PREDA Children’s Home. I can’t tell you everything or this will go on for pages and the mailing costs have double this week due to the monetary crisis.
Global March Against Child Labor
Ours is an action-packed life. Last January 17 was the International launching of the Children’s Global March against Child Labor. It was held in Manila and about forty children, former child workers, and campaigners from across Asia, came to Manila to join hands with as many as fifteen-thousand Filipino children and organizers in a great kick-off rally in blazing sunshine and with a great hullabaloo ! All the PREDA children piled into buses at 3:30 AM for the 3-hour drive to Manila so as to be there for the start at 7 a.m. at the big park in Quezon City.
The children marched waving big banners, streamers, placards chanting and singing their hearts out asking for a better life for themselves and the millions of children who toil for for pitiful wages in horrifying conditions. “School, not work”, one placard reads, “Educate us children, employ our parents”, reads another, “Stop Child Labor” and more. In the Philippines alone, an estimated 1.5 million children are enslaved in intolerable forms of child labor in factories, construction sites, on fishing boats, on the streets and in the fields and in prostitution. The rally was widely reported in the international media.
Delegates to Olongapo
The following week, Global March delegates of about 40 children from all over the world came to PREDA for a day’s visit and to get to know the children here. There was dancing and a puppet show on children’s rights presented by the PREDA Children. Marlyn, a former child sex worker gave a moving life testimony of the years of abuse she suffered until rescue brought her to PREDA and the successful conclusion of the prosecution of her abusers in Germany and Holland in December, 1996. They were jailed after PREDA brought charges against them in their own countries.
New York Times Writes
Marlyn has fully recovered from the abuse which started when she was raped by her step father when she was eleven. Her life as a prostitute began when she’s 13. Marlyn is tops her class in high school and hopes to go on to college and become a social worker. She talks openly about her life and says that unless the world knows what is being done to children by abusive and selfish adults for their own pleasure, nothing will change. She told her story to the New York Times recently which appeared also in the International Herald Tribune.
PREDA Student On Global March
Mickey Misa, a 16 year-old, teenager, abandoned by his American father, grew up as a working child working on fishing boats. He is now being helped by the PREDA Out-reach Human Development Program and going to school. He was selected to join the Global March international delegates on their visits to various countries. He went to Thailand and Malaysia and marched in the streets. In Malaysia, the police prevented the march in one place but another demonstration was successful. There is a lot of child labor in Malaysia and the government does not want it known that the rich live luxurious lives off the labor of children.
Japanese Convicted to 42 Years
On January 22, there was another important event. The end of a long trial of a Japanese child sex abuser Hisaoyoshi Maruyama, 42 years old and that figure too was his sentence, a maximum of forty-two years meted out by the judge for his abuse of 6 children in 1991. He was able to pay bribes and escape the Philippines. He abused two small boys back in Japan and was released after a month. Japan has few child protection laws. I have been going there for several years on public education campaigns and Robert Garcia, our information officer was there in November giving talks to the University students in several cities. Things are changing and the conviction of Maruyama, widely reported in Japan might help change attitudes. The victims were brought together by PREDA in a Manila restaurant for a victory dinner for the children and to thank Attorney Ochave and Earl Wilkinson for their support in getting the conviction.
There have been many visitors and guests from all over the Philippines and many countries. Several Columban Fathers were here to express their support for the work of PREDA in combating the sexual Exploitation of children. The Missionary society has made this one of it’s highest priorities in recent years. Misyon, the Philippine Columban mission magazine ran a story on the PREDA campaign against child prostitution, originally published in the Tablet.
More Child Victims Get Help at Children’s Home
During January and February, there were several new children aged six and seven years old accepted into PREDA having been raped by teenagers. The circumstances of the abuse is shocking .The abusers are 12 and 14 year old boys who have been influenced by the growing commercial sex industry in society. Christian values are under serious threat.
Six Year Old Raped
In one case, six year old Gloria, was raped ten times by a 14 year old. Then twice by a ten year old after the boys have watched a pornography video kept by the American father of the child. The child first told her teachers after the housekeeper, who’s son abused her did nothing but cover it up. The father 52 , (not her biological father) also failed to get help when he heard from the teachers as he is courting the 16-year old daughter of the housekeeper and allegedly sexually abusing her. PREDA social workers, with government workers and the police, took the child into care and she is now recovering.
The housekeeper, and the American, can be charged with prostituting a minor, the 16 year old. The abuse began when she was 14. They may be also charged with neglect, inducing minors to commit sexual acts and neglect of children. Immediately before any charges were filed against them, they filed formal complaints against me and the state prosecutor for slander !!! They’re claiming that taking the statement of the 14 year old abuser was slanderous. The minor admitted everything. All statements were correctly taped and recorded as evidence. The 14 year old boy will be confined in a rehabilitation center by the judge. He will not go to jail.
In another case the two sisters, six and eight years old were similarly raped by a 14 year old. They have been deeply upset and traumatized but are recovering well at PREDA’s Home for Children. They have come from south of Manila and were referred to PREDA by the Child Trauma unit of the Philippine General Hospital, where a highly professional child protection and examination unit has been set up and funded by various international child care agencies.
Campaign Against the Return of the U.S. Forces
We have been busy too with our campaign against the return of the U.S. military forces to the Philippines for military exercises and recreation. The Philippine Foreign Minister and the U.S. Ambassador signed an agreement to allow them back and grant immunity from prosecution for any crimes they may commit while here. This can only encourage them to abuse women and children not being accountable. It is an agreement that takes away from Filipino equal protection under the law. Likewise it is a diminution of Philippine sovereignty. The agreement has to be ratified by the Philippine Senate when it reconvenes after the election this may. Then, there will be a nationwide campaign against it’s ratification. A ten-year campaign in Olongapo led by PREDA together with a coalition of cause-orientated groups ended U.S. bases here by persuading the senate to reject a new treaty with the U.S. Military in 1992.
Updates on Court Cases
There are several cases that are still on-going in the courts against foreigners filed by PREDA. One case is that of Slade, a British National in Angeles City accused for molesting small boys. He was called the ‘pork pie Paedophile’ because he lured the children to his pork pies which he sold to restaurants. Hearings are still on-going. Testimonies of the child victims were already given and scheduled next are the policemen who arrested him.
Regarding the case of convicted paedophile Victor Fitzgerald, the Judge dismissed Provisionally the latest case filed against him by PREDA. The child complainant has been missing since November 1st of last year after a home visit. The mother is in cahoots with Fitzgerald. He will be transferred to the national prison. When the child is found the case can be reopened.
If you know people using computers that has access to the internet, tell them about PREDA website, (www.subicnet.com/preda) they can get lots of information and pictures there.
Every Best Wish,
Fr. Shay Cullen and the PREDA Children and Staff